The objectives of this study were to characterize faeco-orally transmitted parasitic diseases and to identify the factors associated with these diseases, with emphasis on environmental factors, in children ranging from 1 up to 5 years old residing in substandard settlement areas. A population-based cross-sectional epidemiological design was used in a non-random selection of 29 out of the 78 substandard settlement areas in the municipality of Juiz de Fora, Brazil. A sample of 753 children were assessed from the target population consisting of all children of the appropriate age range residing in the selected areas. Data were collected by means of domiciliary interviews with their mothers or with the person responsible for them. The Hoffmann-Pons-Janer method was used in the parasitological examination of faeces. Binary logistic regression models were used to identify the factors associated with the diseases. A total of 319 sample children presented faeco-orally transmitted parasitic diseases. The factors associated with these parasitic diseases included the children's age, family income, number of dwellers in the domicile, consumption of water from shallow wells, consumption of water from natural sources, absence of covered domiciliary water reservoirs, and the presence of sewage flowing in the street.