The protection of children from injury ultimately depends on the actions of adults. We conducted a national telephone survey to assess parental attitudes and understanding of child safety. Parents worried more about kidnapping and drug abuse than about childhood injury. Although well informed about potential injuries to automobile occupants, parents knew little about dangers of pedestrian and bicycle injuries, burns, and drowning. Parents frequently mentioned "being careful" when describing precautions to reduce the risk of unintentional injury rather than mentioning proved safety measures. Parents of lower socioeconomic status demonstrated a more limited understanding of child safety. Physicians were cited as the parents' first choice for information on injury control and child safety. The parents' poor showing indicates (1) the importance of passive interventions and (2) the need for programs to increase parental knowledge of childhood injury and safety.