BACKGROUND AND OBSERVATIONS: The current denominator for dosing dialysis is the urea distribution volume (V). Normalizing Kt/V to body surface area (S) has been proposed, but the implications of doing this in children have not been examined. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS: Dialysis dose given to children and adolescents was calculated in terms of conventional V-based scaling and surface-area-normalized standard Kt/V (SAN-stdKt/V) calculated as stdKt/V x (Vant/S)/17.5, where Vant was an anthropometric estimate of V calculated using the Morgenstern equation. Formal 2-pool modeling was used to compute all dialysis adequacy outputs. RESULTS: In 34 children (11 girls, 23 boys) dialyzed 3 times a week, age range 1.4 to 18 years, the mean delivered equilibrated Kt/V (eKt/V) was 1.40, and the mean stdKt/V was 2.49, both of which tended to be higher in younger children. The ratio of Vant to S was 15.6 +/- 2.69 and was strongly associated with age between ages 2 and 16. SAN-stdKt/V averaged 2.21 and was strongly correlated with age between ages 2 and 16. If one considers a desired target for SAN-stdKt/V to be 2.45, all children less than 10 years of age were below target, despite having relatively high values of eKt/V and stdKt/V. CONCLUSIONS: If a surface-area-based denominator were to be adopted for dialysis dosing, most children under 10 years of age would receive markedly less dialysis than adolescent patients and would require 6- to 8-hour hemodialysis sessions or, for the youngest children, treatments given more frequently than 3 times/wk.