The purpose of this study was to explore parents' and nurses' experiences of parental participation in child care in hospitals in Iran. Using thematic analysis, the data were collected through interviewing 14 parents and 11 nurses from two pediatric hospitals. The results showed that four major themes emerged, including the necessity of a parent's presence, the unplanned and informal delegation of care to the parents (which itself had five subthemes: the parents as nurses, the delegation of care without sufficient and planned parental training, informal parent-to-parent support, the continuum of parents' willingness to participate, and the neglect of parents' needs), the inconsistency of care, and the parents as informal evaluators of care. Based on the study's findings, effective communication by nurses with parents is required. Nurses need to make an ongoing assessment of parents' wishes for involvement and negotiate care accordingly, with enough support and supervision to warrant quality of care.