Neonatal rhinitis as a distinct disease entity has not been well-studied. The recognition and treatment of this condition is important since neonates are obligate nasal breathers, and mismanagement of this entity can result in poor feeding or even death from respiratory distress. We undertook a retrospective analysis of 20 patients seen at the Children's Hospital of San Diego over the period 1990-1991. Eighteen patients developed neonatal rhinitis in the months of August to January and only two between February and July. Clinical presentation and an effective management algorithm are discussed. Early recognition on the basis of clinical features followed by a two-step therapeutic trial consisting of conservative therapy and corticosteroid drops are advocated. Based on the above findings we have defined neonatal rhinitis as mucoid rhinorrhea with nasal mucosal edema in the afebrile newborn that results in stertor, poor feeding and respiratory distress which responds promptly to decadron 0.1% drops within a week. We recommend reserving diagnostic procedures for complicated cases that do not respond to the proposed regimen.