OBJECTIVES: To examine the characteristics of parents responding to a petition calling for greater efforts to ensure the safety of children as pedestrians and to contrast factors predictive of advocacy with risk factors for child pedestrian injury. SETTING: The Auckland region of New Zealand. METHODS: Parents participating in the Auckland Child Pedestrian Injury Study, a community based case-control study, were invited to support a series of recommendations based on the study results, by signing and returning a petition that was to be delivered to the New Zealand Minister for Transport. Characteristics of petitioners were determined by linking their petition responses to the study questionnaires using an unique identifier. The characteristics of petitioners and nonpetitioners were summarised using odds ratios. RESULTS: 31% of parents signed and returned the petition; 19% were parents of cases and 36% were parents of controls. The sociodemographic groups whose children were at the lowest risk of pedestrian injury were the most likely to return the petition. Children in the most disadvantaged socioeconomic group and children of Pacific Island parents were at greatest risk of injury but the parents of these children were the least likely to respond to the petition. CONCLUSIONS: The frequency with which parents advocate for child safety varies inversely with the need for it. Models of health promotion based on community ownership and empowerment alone are unlikely to address the steep socioeconomic gradients in childhood injury mortality.