Many animal experiments have shown that anesthetics can have a neurotoxic effect on immature brains because they induce apoptosis and influence neurogenesis and synaptogenesis. In animal experiments this has substantial implications for the neurocognitive functions of animals in later life. Whether these results of animal experiments can be transferred to humans is currently the subject of intensive research. In several retrospective studies no clear association between anesthesia in premature babies, newborns or infants and the occurrence of learning disorders or behavioral problems could be found. The prospective studies GAS and PANDA are designed to obtain a deeper insight and if possible to clarify this problem. Because of the high relevance of this topic and in order to achieve more clarity for this problem when dealing with parents, the scientific working group for neuroanesthesia and pediatric anesthesia of the German Society for Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine (DGAI) has formulated a position document on the basis of currently available data.