Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of educational counselling programmes aimed at increasing parents' practice of childhood safety in Monterrey, Mexico, and to provide information aimed at helping to improve the effectiveness of future efforts in this field. Methods: Three different counselling programmes were designed to meet the needs of the upper, middle and lower socioeconomic strata. Evaluation involved the use of baseline questionnaires on parents' existing safety-related practices for intervention and control groups and the administration of corresponding questionnaires after the programmes had been carried out. Findings: Data were obtained on 1124 children before counselling took place and on 625 after it had been given. Overall safety scores (% safe responses) increased from 54% and 65% for the lower and upper socioeconomic strata, respectively, before counselling to 62% and 73% after counselling (P <0.001 for all groups). Improvements occurred both for activities that required caution and for activities that required the use of safety-related devices (e.g. helmets, car seats). However, scores for the use of such devices remained suboptimal even after counselling and there were wide discrepancies between the socioeconomic strata. The post-counselling scores for the use of safety-related devices were 55%, 38% and 19% for the upper, middle and lower socioeconomic strata, respectively. Conclusions: Brief educational interventions targeting parents' practice of childhood safety improved safe behaviours. Increased attention should be given to specific safety-related devices and to the safety of pedestrians. Educational efforts should be combined with other strategies for injury prevention, such as the use of legislation and the improvement of environmental conditions.