Therapies developed for adult patients with heart failure have been shown to be ineffective in pediatric clinical trials, leading to the recognition that new pediatric-specific therapies for heart failure must be developed. Administration of the recombinant growth factor neuregulin-1 (rNRG1) stimulates regeneration of heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) in adult mice. Because proliferation-competent cardiomyocytes are more abundant in growing mammals, we hypothesized that administration of rNRG1 during the neonatal period might be more effective than in adulthood. If so, neonatal rNRG1 delivery could be a new therapeutic strategy for treating heart failure in pediatric patients. To evaluate the effectiveness of rNRG1 administration in cardiac regeneration, newborn mice were subjected to cryoinjury, which induced myocardial dysfunction and scar formation and decreased cardiomyocyte cell cycle activity. Early administration of rNRG1 to mice from birth to 34 days of age improved myocardial function and reduced the prevalence of transmural scars. In contrast, administration of rNRG1 from 4 to 34 days of age only transiently improved myocardial function. The mechanisms of early administration involved cardiomyocyte protection (38%) and proliferation (62%). We also assessed the ability of rNRG1 to stimulate cardiomyocyte proliferation in intact cultured myocardium from pediatric patients. rNRG1 induced cardiomyocyte proliferation in myocardium from infants with heart disease who were less than 6 months of age. Our results identify an effective time period within which to execute rNRG1 clinical trials in pediatric patients for the stimulation of cardiomyocyte regeneration.