A subunit vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) consisting of purified fusion glycoprotein (designated PFP-1) was tested in children 24 to 48 months old. Two doses of 20 micrograms (n = 13) and 50 micrograms (n = 10) were compared with a saline (n = 24) placebo control group. Local and systemic reactions, reported within 96 hours postvaccination, were mild, transient, and did not differ significantly from the control cohort. Long term follow-up through at least one, and in some cases two, RSV seasons showed no serious RSV illness in vaccinees at any time. There was, therefore, no evidence of disease enhancement postvaccination. In the 20-micrograms cohort, 92% responded to vaccination by a 4-fold increase in enzyme-linked immunosorbent titer to the F glycoprotein and 42% had a 4-fold or greater rise in neutralizing titer to the A2 virus. In the 50-micrograms cohort 100% responded by enzyme-linked immunosorbent to the F glycoprotein and 70% responded by A2-neutralizing titers. The neutralizing titers in the vaccinated cohorts were similar to those seen previously in adults. These data show the ability of the subunit vaccine to boost existing immunity and to prime for a response to natural virus exposure in children who were seronegative at the time of vaccination.