BACKGROUND: Young children are generally not able to consistently and reliably perform tests of airway function, and normative values are not available. Reliable and valid measures of parental reporting of asthma symptoms and functioning are needed to determine the efficacy of asthma interventions. OBJECTIVE: A pediatric asthma caregiver diary was developed and validated for use in interventional asthma studies. METHODS: A 3-week prospective study of 125 caregiver parents and their children, aged 2 to 5 years, with persistent asthma was conducted. At baseline, children were classified as either stable (no change to anti-inflammatory therapy) or unstable (anti-inflammatory therapy added or increased). RESULTS: A symptom scale and day without asthma symptoms (DWAS) were defined from pediatric asthma caregiver diary questions. The scale and DWAS statistically differentiated between the stable and unstable groups at week 1 and detected change between the 2 groups (P <.01). On average, caregivers reported low symptom scores. However, the frequency of DWAS was only 43% of days in the stable group and 22% in the unstable group. CONCLUSION: The pediatric asthma caregiver diary scale and DWAS have acceptable measurement characteristics for use in clinical trials of children with asthma symptoms. The DWAS indicates an opportunity for improvement in asthma control in this population.