Despite the recent improvements in perinatal medical care leading to an increase in survival rates, adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes occur more frequently in preterm and/or high-risk infants. Medical risk factors for neurodevelopmental delays like male gender or intrauterine growth restriction and family sociocultural characteristics have been identified. Significant data have provided evidence of the detrimental impact of overhelming environmental sensory inputs, such as pain and stress, on the developing human brain and strategies aimed at preventing this impact. These strategies, such as free parental access or sleep protection, could be considered ‘principles of care’. Implementation of these principles do not require additional research due to the body of evidence. We review the scientific evidence for these principles here.