© 2016 Elsevier LtdDifferences between neonatal, pediatric and adult airway anatomy, structure and function are important to understand. Size, surface area, proportion, resistance and compliance are all very different between age groups and infants are certainly not small adults. Knowledge of these airway differences is essential in rapid correction of an emergency situation. Unanticipated airway emergencies are the most serious of all and may be classified into profiles such as the unanticipated emergency in the non-intubated patient, the unanticipated emergency in the intubated patient, and patients with tracheostomy. A neonatal airway emergency can be effectively managed by a strategy for anticipation, identification, preparation, mobilization, and execution. Furthermore, neonatal airways may be classified by severity in being considered either difficult or critical. These neonatal specific clinical challenges have recently substantiated the need for a distinct neonatal airway algorithm. This strategy is strengthened by regular education of the team and frequent simulation of airway emergencies. Following a predetermined pathway for activating an airway emergency alert and having all necessary equipment readily available are essential components of a well-defined strategy. Finally, knowing the pediatric otolaryngologist's perspective of what defines these airway disorders and current management is key to working collaboratively.