Background. While perceptions of parents and staff about care of hospitalized children have been explored in developed countries, little research has examined these in developing countries. Assumptions about family-centred care are often based on Western values, with little evidence of how cultural constructs affect care delivery in developing nations. Aim. This paper reports a study to provide evidence from which culturally-appropriate hospital care for children can be delivered. Methods. Using a rigorously devised and trialed questionnaire, attitudes of staff and parents about the way children are cared for in children's hospitals in four countries were examined and subjected to a four way analysis: parents and staff within and between developed and developing countries. Results. There were no questions where all parents and staff in both developed and developing country groups were in complete agreement. However, there was some indication that, while culture plays a major role in paediatric care delivery, basic concepts of family-centred care are similar. Conclusions. The findings are limited by the sampling strategy. Nevertheless, while differences were found between parents' and staff's expectations of the delivery of care to children in hospitals, similarities existed and the influence of culture cannot be ignored. Education programmes for staff and parents should reflect these influences to ensure the optimum delivery of family-centred care, regardless of where the hospital is situated.