Antioxidant status was investigated in children with acute bacterial meningitis and encephalitis to investigate the possible role of free radicals in children with meningitis and encephalitis. Our study included 16 children with acute bacterial meningitis, 13 with encephalitis, and 17 control subjects. Serum ceruloplasmin, uric acid, albumin, bilirubin superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) levels were studied in all subjects within 6 h of admission. There was a statistically significant difference between the groups for all parameters except for serum uric acid. All antioxidant activities except for albumin level were increased in the study groups. Albumin level was higher in the control group than those of meningitis and encephalitis groups. When the values of meningitis and encephalitis were compared, there was a statistically significant difference between the groups for serum SOD, GPx, ceruloplasmin, and albumin. In conclusion, our study showed that serum SOD, GPx, catalase, and ceruloplasmin were higher in children with acute bacterial meningitis and serum SOD, GPx, catalase, ceruloplasmin, and total bilirubin levels were increased in children with encephalitis. These findings suggest that antioxidant status was almost similar in both acute bacterial meningitis and encephalitis conditions in childhood.