Direct laryngoscopy (DL) is the most commonly used technique for tracheal intubation, but there is ongoing interest in new devices that have high success rates and are easily learned. The pediatric Airtraq (AT) is a recently developed intubation device that allows visualization of the glottis and intubation of the trachea without alignment of the oral, pharyngeal and tracheal axes. We studied the efficacy of the AT compared to the DL for laryngoscopy of young children with normal airway anatomy. In this prospective study, 49 children (5 yr and younger) scheduled for elective surgery under general anesthesia were randomized into two groups: intubation using direct laryngoscopy (DL group) and laryngoscopy using the Airtraq (AT group). Time to best view, time to intubate, first attempt success rate (FASR), and percentage of glottic opening seen (percentage of glottis opening score) were recorded. Data are presented as median and interquartile range. Time to best view was five (4, 7) sec in DL and five (4, 7.5) sec in AT. Time to intubate was 18 (14.7, 21) sec in DL and 22.5 (19.5, 25.5) sec in AT (P = 0.002). FASR was 100% in the DL and 83% in the AT. The percentage of glottis opening score was 80% (range 60–100%) in the DL and 100% (range 100–100%) in the AT (P < 0.001). In young children with normal airway anatomy, the AT provides a better view of the glottis than the standard laryngoscope, but it takes longer to intubate the trachea and the FASR is lower.