OBJECTIVES: Parental influences are among the strongest behavioral correlates to unintentional injury outcome in early childhood, but are less well understood as children develop. We implemented a prospective research design to study how parenting style, parent-child relationships, and parental mental health influence injury during middle childhood. We also considered the roles of parent and child gender. METHODS: Parental influences were assessed from a sample of 584 first graders, plus their mothers and fathers. Injuries requiring medical treatment were assessed regularly over the subsequent 5 years. Logistic regression models examined how maternal and paternal parenting factors predicted injury among all children, just boys, and just girls. RESULTS: Fathers who reported more positive relationships with their children had children protected from injury. This was particularly true of father-son relationships. No maternal traits predicted injury. CONCLUSIONS: A positive father-child, and especially a positive father-son relationship, may protect children from injury during middle childhood.