Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is undefined in neonates, despite the long-standing existing formal recognition of ARDS syndrome in later life. We describe the Neonatal ARDS Project: an international, collaborative, multicentre, and multidisciplinary project which aimed to produce an ARDS consensus definition for neonates that is applicable from the perinatal period. The definition was created through discussions between five expert members of the European Society for Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care; four experts of the European Society for Paediatric Research; two independent experts from the USA and two from Australia. This Position Paper provides the first consensus definition for neonatal ARDS (called the Montreux definition). We also provide expert consensus that mechanisms causing ARDS in adults and older children-namely complex surfactant dysfunction, lung tissue inflammation, loss of lung volume, increased shunt, and diffuse alveolar damage-are also present in several critical neonatal respiratory disorders.