The true meaning of safety is too often missing from the discussion of medical intervention. This discussion is frequently tangled up in regulatory processes, and is often defined from the perspective of the economic interests of hospital chains, insurance firms and pharmaceutical companies rather than being primarily concerned with the health of patients and victims. The proper definition of safety involves a clear vision of the larger goal of regulatory work, which is securing positive health outcomes for children and families. This vision of safety requires a commitment to a total health perspective, including chronic as well as infectious disease, developmental disability as well as episodic illness, and quality of life as well as the absence of disease. It embraces a philosophy that sets a goal of zero vaccine and other medical adverse events, where these events are treated respectfully, indeed, as a resource for prevention of future adverse reactions. Achieving this goal requires a strong and global commitment to safety science, especially the study of health outcomes in vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.