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Some of the factors thought to be responsible for rectal prolapse in children are reviewed. In the United Kingdom management has in the past been conservative. It is suggested that children should be treated at an early stage by means of an injection of phenol in almond oil, in order to reduce the discomfort of recurrent manipulative reductions of the prolapse in the child and alleviate the anxiety of the parents. In 18 cases treated during the past 3 years a single injection performed under general anaesthesia, as a day case, was successful in preventing further prolapse of the rectum.