OBJECTIVE: To apply and validate an adapted version of an existing adult patient questionnaire in a study of parental satisfaction with paediatric care in a university hospital. DESIGN: A cross-sectional, anonymous questionnaire study. A total of 912 questionnaires were distributed to parents by hospital staff during a 2-week period. SETTING: A university children's hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. STUDY PARTICIPANTS: Six hundred and twenty-four parents whose children were receiving care at the hospital during a 2-week period in April of 1999. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The 63-item questionnaire uses eight main measurement indices and an overall quality rating to define parental satisfaction with paediatric care. Measures of the instrument's reliability and validity were established by comparison with results of a pilot study conducted 1 year earlier on the paediatric departments of two regional Swedish hospitals. All measures were compared to reliability and validity estimates in the original patient questionnaire. RESULTS: A total of 624 questionnaires were returned, a response rate of 68%. The instrument demonstrated good reliability and validity. Reliability estimates for all eight indices were greater than 0.70 and consistent over time. Inter-index correlations were generally lower than 0.60, indicating index independence. Of the nine parameters measured, parents were most satisfied with staff attitudes, care processes and medical treatment. Parents' ratings were lowest for accessibility and staff work environment. CONCLUSION: This study presents a valid and reliable questionnaire instrument for measuring parental views of paediatric hospital care. The instrument measures the quality of paediatric care from a broader perspective than previously existing parent questionnaires.