Acute lung injury (ALI) and its more severe form, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), are life-threatening diseases that are associated with high mortality rates due to treatment limitations. Neutrophils play key roles in the pathogenesis of ALI/ARDS by promoting the inflammation and injury of the alveolar microenvironment. To date, in vivo functional approaches have been limited by the inaccessibility to the alveolar sacs, which are located at the anatomical terminal of the respiratory duct in mammals. We are the first to characterize the swim bladder of the zebrafish larva, which is similar to the mammalian lung, as a real-time in vivo model for examining pulmonary neutrophil infiltration during ALI. We observed that the delivery of exogenous materials, including lipopolysaccharide (LPS), Poly IC and silica nanoparticles, by microinjection triggered significant time- and dose-dependent neutrophil recruitment into the swim bladder. Neutrophils infiltrated the LPS-injected swim bladder through the blood capillaries around the pneumatic duct or a site near the pronephric duct. An increase in the post-LPS inflammatory cytokine mRNA levels coincided with the in vivo neutrophil aggregation in the swim bladder. Microscopic examinations of the LPS-injected swim bladders further revealed in situ injuries, including epithelial distortion, endoplasmic reticulum swelling and mitochondrial injuries. Inhibitor screening assays with this model showed a reduction in neutrophil migration into the LPS-injected swim bladder in response to Shp2 inhibition. Moreover, the pharmacological suppression and targeted disruption of Shp2 in myeloid cells alleviated pulmonary inflammation in the LPS-induced ALI mouse model. Additionally, we used this model to assess pneumonia-induced neutrophil recruitment by microinjecting bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from patients into swim bladders; this injection enhanced neutrophil aggregation relative to the control. In conclusion, our findings highlight the swim bladder as a promising and powerful model for mechanistic and drug screening studies of alveolar injuries.