The operative management of stress ulcer in children is controversial. Between the years 1969 and 1981, ten children were operated on at the Babies Hospital for stress ulcer. Their illnesses included connective tissue disorders (3), sepsis (2), Reye's syndrome (1), hemolytic uremic syndrome (1), leukemia (1), closed head injury (1), and renal failure (1). In those with bleeding (8), aggressive conventional medical management was attempted prior to operation. Four children also received intravenous cimetidine. Four patients underwent embolization of a feeding artery and/or selective vasopressin infusion. In those patients who perforated (2), operation was performed after a brief period of resuscitation. Ten patients underwent 11 operations. In those who bled, multiple ulcerations were the most common finding. Operative procedures consisted of partial gastrectomy and vagotomy (4), partial gastrectomy alone (2), and vagotomy and pyloroplasty (2). One child who underwent vagotomy and pyloroplasty required partial gastrectomy for recurrent bleeding. Of the two children who perforated, one was managed by plication and the other by partial gastrectomy. There were two deaths (20%), both occurring in patients who had undergone gastrectomy. One survivor has mild dumping. This experience suggests that in children (1) stress ulcers are commonly multiple when associated with major medical illnesses; (2) partial gastrectomy with or without vagotomy affords maximum protection against recurrent bleeding; (3) lesser procedures are effective for solitary bleeding duodenal ulcers or perforation; and (4) selective arterial embolization or vasopressin infusion are unreliable methods for controlling bleeding.