BACKGROUND: Preterm birth and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) stay are early adverse experiences, which may affect health-related quality of life (HRQoL) even in the absence of prematurity-related morbidities. The aim of this multicenter longitudinal study was to examine the relation between quality levels of NICU Developmental Care (DC) and HRQoL at 60 mo in children who were born preterm. METHODS: HRQoL of 102 very preterm (VPT) children from 20 NICUs and 110 full-term controls was assessed using TNO-AZL Preschool Children's Quality of Life Questionnaire (TAPQOL). In VPT children, we compared HRQoL by splitting NICUs into units with high- and low-quality of DC according to the following two factors: (i) the infant centered care (ICC), and (ii) the infant pain management (IPM). RESULTS: Compared to VPT children from NICUs with high-quality of ICC, VPT children from NICUs with low-quality in ICC scored lower in HRQoL component which resulted from the aggregation of lively, positive emotionality, social and motor functioning. No differences were found between VPT children from high-quality ICC NICUs and full-term children and for the IPM index. CONCLUSION: Findings suggest that higher quality of DC in NICU related to ICC might mitigate long-term negative quality of life outcomes.