Background: Laryngospasm is a well-known problem typically occurring immediately following tracheal extubation. Propofol is known to inhibit airway reflexes. In this study, we sought to assess whether the empiric use of a subhypnotic dose of propofol prior to emergence will decrease the occurrence of laryngospasm following extubation in children. Methods: After approval from the Institutional Ethics Committee and informed parental consent, we enrolled 120 children ASA physical status I and II, aged 3-14 years who were scheduled to undergo elective tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy under standard general anesthesia. Before extubation, the patients were randomized and received in a blinded fashion either propofol 0.5 mg.kg-1 or saline (control) intravenously. Tracheal extubation was performed 60 s after administration of study drug, when the child was breathing regularly and reacting to the tracheal tube. Results: Laryngospasm was seen in 20% (n = 12) of the 60 children in the control group and in only 6.6% (n = 4) of 60 children in the propofol group (P < 0.05). Conclusions: During emergence from inhalational anesthesia, propofol in a subhypnotic dose (0.5 mg.kg-1) decreases the likelihood of laryngospasm upon tracheal extubation in children undergoing tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy.