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. © The Author 2010.