Air embolism is a potential hazard during craniotomy whenever intracranial venous pressure is subatmospheric. In order to better understand both the risk of air embolism and its treatment in neurosurgical patients, the authors have investigated the relationship of superior sagittal sinus pressure (SSP) to head position in 15 children and examined the effects of both jugular venous compression and positive end-expiratory airway pressure (PEEP) on SSP. Progressive head elevation significantly decreased mean SSP and, in five patients, SSP was less than 0 mm Hg at 90° torso elevation. A PEEP of 10 cm H2O was ineffective in significantly increasing SSP at any degree of head elevation, whereas bilateral internal jugular compression always caused a significant increase in SSP. The authors conclude that children are at risk for venous air embolism when undergoing suboccipital craniectomy in the sitting position because intracranial venous pressure is often subatmospheric when the head is elevated. Furthermore, maintaining PEEP does not appear to be a reliable treatment for increasing SSP, whereas bilateral internal jugular compression is effective.