BACKGROUND: Young children are at risk for injuries in the home. This study was to compare a safe house model to The Injury Prevention Program (TIPP) sheet for providing injury prevention information. METHODS: Parents of children who were younger than 6 years were randomized to injury prevention education using a safe home model or an age appropriate TIPP sheet. There was a pretest before the intervention. The recall of injury prevention information was assessed by a telephone posttest 4 weeks to 6 weeks after the intervention. To obtain a sample broadly representative of community demographics, we recruited families in the dermatology clinic of a teaching hospital. RESULTS: We collected complete information for 371 families of which 181 were in the safe home model group and 190 were in the TIPP group. There were no differences between groups in percent minority race, education, or insurance; the parents in the safe home group were slightly older (34.4 +/- 6.5 vs. 32.9 +/- 5.8). More than 80% in each group had education beyond high school. There was no difference between groups in pretest scores, 8.0 +/- 1.3 for the safe home model group and 8.1 +/- 1.1 for the TIPP group. There was no difference between groups in posttest scores, 9.0 +/- 0.8 for the safe home model group and 9.1 +/- 0.9 for the TIPP group. CONCLUSIONS: The safe home model and the TIPP sheets were both effective in improving safety knowledge. The use of a safe home model complements current strategies to improve injury prevention knowledge.