Treatment protocols for pediatric diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) vary considerably among centers in the USA and worldwide. The optimal protocol for intravenous (IV) fluid administration is an area of particular controversy, mainly in regard to possible associations between rates of IV fluid infusion and the development of cerebral edema (CE), the most common and the most feared complication of DKA in children. Theoretical concerns about associations between osmotic fluid shifts and CE have prompted recommendations for conservative fluid infusion during DKA. However, recent data suggest that cerebral hypoperfusion may play a role in cerebral injury associated with DKA. Currently, there are no existing data from prospective clinical trials to determine the optimal fluid treatment protocol for pediatric DKA. The Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network FLUID (FLuid therapies Under Investigation in DKA) study is the first prospective randomized trial to evaluate fluid regimens for pediatric DKA. This 13-center nationwide factorial design study will evaluate the effects of rehydration rate and fluid sodium content on neurological status during DKA treatment, the frequency of clinically overt CE and long-term neurocognitive outcomes following DKA.