Midazolam is a water soluble benzodiazepine, with a short elimination half-life in adults and children. An IV bolus (0.2 mg.kg-1) immediately followed by continuous infusion of 0.06 mg.kg-1.h-1 was administered to 15 critically ill neonates at a gestational age of 32.8 weeks, who required sedation for mechanical ventilation. Heart rate and blood pressure were closely monitored. Hypotension occurred in 4 patients after the bolus dose or during the continuous infusion. Three of them had also been given fentanyl. Individual pharmacokinetic parameters were calculated: plasma clearance was 3.9 ml.min-1, elimination half-life was 12.0 h. Because of its short half-life compared to diazepam, midazolam may be used during the neonatal period to achieve rapid, brief sedation. However, it should be administered cautiously to neonates, particularly in premature infants, or if fentanyl is also given.