Backgrounds: The purpose of fasting before surgery is to minimize the volume of gastric contents. A short fast after solid food increases gastric volume, but a small drink of clear fluid 2 to 3 hours preoperatively decreases gastric volume. This investigation examined the effects of a small drink of clear fruit juice 2 to 3 hours prior to anesthesia on gastric volume, gastric pH, thirst and hunger. METHODS: Two hundred eighty children whose ages were five to ten years, scheduled for elective surgery were randomly assigned to one of 7 groups. Group 1 continued to fast but in the other 6 groups the children drank 2 ml/kg, 3 ml/kg, or 4 ml/kg of clear fruit juice (orange or grape) 2 to 3 hours preoperatively. The degree of thirsty and hunger was checked. The volume of gastric contents was measured by syringe and the pH by pH meter. RESULTS: The children who drank fruit juice preoperatively had decreased gastric volume. The gastric pH was not significantly different with that of the control group. The degree of thirst and hunger was not significantly different with that of the control group. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that a small drink of fruit juice 2 to 3 hours preoperatively is more preferable than 8 hours fasting.