Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), defined as oxygen dependency for at least 28 days after birth, is a common adverse outcome of very premature birth. Affected children require frequent readmissions to hospital in the first 2 years, and although lung growth and remodelling results in progressive improvement in lung function, airflow abnormalities may remain. Indeed, the most severely affected experience troublesome respiratory symptoms as adolescents and young adults. As a consequence, many potential preventative strategies have been investigated, and some have resulted in a reduction in BPD but with a negative risk/benefit ratio, for example, postnatal corticosteroids. Others therapies, namely antenatal corticosteroids and postnatal surfactant, have resulted in significant benefits to infants, including reductions in respiratory distress syndrome, necrotising enterocolitis, intraventricular haemorrhage and neonatal death, but have not impacted favourably on the incidence of BPD, perhaps due to the increased survival of very immature infants. In one major trial, it has been shown that BPD can be reduced without adverse effects by caffeine administration. Avoidance of high oxygen concentrations at resuscitation is also a promising approach to reduce BPD.