During the 6-year period from 1984 to 1989, 196 bronchoscopies were performed on 132 neonates. The indications were grouped into four categories: (1) difficulties in artificial ventilation or failure to wean the baby from the ventilator (52); (2) other respiratory difficulties (52); (3) audible stridor (16); and (4) routine preoperative or postoperative examination of esophageal atresia patients (12). The most common finding was laryngomalacia or tracheomalacia (31). Other findings were: obstructing tracheal or bronchial granulation or stricture (23), obstructing mucous plug (22), grave tracheobronchitis (11), tracheoesophageal H-fistula (5), laryngeal perforation (3), congenital laryngeal stenosis (2), and complete laryngotracheoesophageal cleft (1). Four patients had miscellaneous pathology. The findings were normal in 30 patients. A therapeutic procedure was included in 99 of the 196 bronchoscopies. Seven serious complications occurred during the operative bronchoscopies, two of them requiring immediate pulmonary surgery. All complications were successfully managed. In contrast, no complications occurred in the 97 purely diagnostic bronchoscopies. In experienced hands, bronchoscopy of the newborn is a safe and useful examination. Complications occur when therapeutic procedures are included. Therefore, operative bronchoscopy should only be performed in conditions in which immediate thoracotomy and pulmonary surgery can be performed.