Lung ultrasound (LUS) is the latest amongst imaging techniques: it is a radiation-free, inexpensive, point-of-care tool that the clinician can use at the bedside. This review summarises the rapidly growing scientific evidence on LUS in neonatology, dividing it into descriptive and functional applications. We report the description of the main ultrasound features of neonatal respiratory disorders and functional applications of LUS aiming to help a clinical decision (such as surfactant administration, chest drainage etc). Amongst the functional applications, we propose SAFE (Sonographic Algorithm for liFe threatening Emergencies) as a standardised protocol for emergency functional LUS in critical neonates. SAFE has been funded by a specific grant issued by the European Society for Paediatric Research. Future potential development of LUS in neonatology might be linked to its quantitative evaluation: we also discuss available data and research directions using computer-aided diagnostic techniques. Finally, tools and opportunities to teach LUS and expand the research network are briefly presented.