In March 2019, SmartTots, a public-private partnership between the US Food and Drug Administration and the International Anesthesia Research Society, hosted a meeting attended by research experts, anaesthesia journal editors, and government agency representatives to discuss the continued need for rigorous preclinical research and the importance of establishing reporting standards for the field of anaesthetic perinatal neurotoxicity. This group affirmed the importance of preclinical research in the field, and welcomed novel and mechanistic approaches to answer some of the field’s largest questions. The attendees concluded that summarising the benefits and disadvantages of specific model systems, and providing guidance for reporting results, would be helpful for designing new experiments and interpreting results across laboratories. This expert opinion report is a summary of these discussions, and includes a focused review of current animal models and reporting standards for the field of perinatal anaesthetic neurotoxicity. This will serve as a practical guide and road map for novel and rigorous experimental work.