Objective: The objective of this study was to examine whether parental assessment of a child's usual behavioral reaction to common painful events predicts the child's ratings of needle pain intensity from routine venipuncture. Design: Children aged 3 to 12 years (n = 88) used the Faces Pain Scale to rate how much venipuncture hurt and also indicated whether the pain was more, less, or the same as expected. The child's parent (mother) used the same scale to predict how much the needle would hurt the child as well as to rate the child's pain as observed at the time of venipuncture. Parents also estimated their child's usual reaction to six common painful events. An independent observer used a behavioral checklist to rate the child's pain response at the time of venipuncture as well as to assign a global pain rating on the Faces Pain Scale. Outcome Measures: The Faces Pain Scale and a behavioral checklist (scoring facial, vocal, motor, and verbal reactions) were used in this study. Results and Conclusions: Those children who reported venipuncture as hurting more than expected also gave the highest mean needle pain ratings and tended to have their pain underpredicted by their parents before venipuncture. For these children, parental estimates of reactions to other painful events proved to be a useful predictor of self- reported needle pain. Parent and child ratings of pain agreed more closely for those parents who indicated having relied on what their child 'did' rather than 'said.' Additionally, and consistent with previous studies, independent observation of children's facial responses was the most useful indicator of needle pain severity. Preparation of children for venipuncture may be enhanced by asking a parent beforehand how the child usually responds to everyday pain. Specifically, reaction to other sharp time-limited pains (e.g., finger pinch, stepping on a prickle) may provide a useful guide to identifying which children will report experiencing greater pain than expected from venipuncture.