This prospective, nonrandomized study compared the effect of two peripheral catheter dressings (a combination transparent polyurethane film/soft cloth surgical tape dressing, and adhesive tape) on the incidence of complications in children and adolescents. A total of 407 catheter dressings were studied: 212 in the control group (adhesive tape) and 195 in the study group (transparent dressing). Catheter insertion site assessments at 24-hour intervals showed increased site visibility, better dressing adherence and less dressing reinforcement in the study group. There were few differences in the observed incidence of phlebitis or extravasation. The new combination dressing may be considered for use in children when prolonged catheterization is anticipated.