Hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) remains the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in neonates, with no available neuroprotective therapeutic agent. In the development of a therapeutic for HIE, we examined the neuroprotective efficacy of the poly-arginine peptide R18D (arginine 18 mer synthesised with D-arginine) in a perinatal model of hypoxia-ischaemia (HI; common carotid and external carotid occlusion + 8%O2/92%N2 for 2.5 hr) in the P7 Sprague-Dawley rat. R18D was administered intraperitoneally 30 min (doses 10, 30, 100, 300 and 1,000 nmol/kg), 60 min (doses 30 and 300 nmol/kg) or 120 min (doses 30 and 300 nmol/kg) after HI. Infarct volumes and behavioural outcomes were measured 48 hr after HI. When administered 30 min after HI, R18D at varying doses reduced infarct volume by 23.7% to 35.6% (p = 0.009 to < 0.0001) and resulted in improvements in the negative geotactic response and wire-hang times, at a dose of 30 nmol/kg. When administered 60 min after HI, R18D at the 30 nmol/kg dose reduced total infarct volume by 34.2% (p = 0.002), whilst the 300 nmol/kg dose improved wire-hang time. When administered 120 min after HI, R18D at the 30 and 300 nmol/kg doses had no significant impact on infarct volume, but the 300 nmol/kg dose improved the negative geotactic response. This study further confirms the neuroprotective properties of poly-arginine peptides, demonstrating that R18D can reduce infarct volume and improve behavioural outcomes after HI if administered up to 60 min after HI and improve behavioural outcomes up to 2 hr after HI.