Relatively little is known about the epidemiology and factors underlying susceptibility to childhood rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). To better characterize genetic susceptibility to childhood RMS, we evaluated the role of family history of cancer using data from the largest case–control study of RMS and the Utah Population Database (UPDB). RMS cases (n = 322) were obtained from the Children's Oncology Group (COG). Population-based controls (n = 322) were pair-matched to cases on race, sex, and age. Conditional logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between family history of cancer and childhood RMS. The results were validated using the UPDB, from which 130 RMS cases were identified and matched to controls (n = 1300) on sex and year of birth. The results were combined to generate summary odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Having a first-degree relative with a cancer history was more common in RMS cases than controls (ORs = 1.39, 95% CI: 0.97–1.98). Notably, this association was stronger among those with embryonal RMS (ORs = 2.44, 95% CI: 1.54–3.86). Moreover, having a first-degree relative who was younger at diagnosis of cancer (<30 years) was associated with a greater risk of RMS (ORs = 2.37, 95% CI: 1.34–4.18). In the largest analysis of its kind, we found that most children diagnosed with RMS did not have a family history of cancer. However, our results indicate an increased risk of RMS (particularly embryonal RMS) in children who have a first-degree relative with cancer, and among those whose relatives were diagnosed with cancer at <30 years of age.