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Infant Immortality

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Skinner: Stop, or you'll kill us both!

Bart: Kids don't die!

It seems to be the cardinal rule in shows that thrive on violence: you are not allowed to kill babies or young children. Or dogs, unless it is a heart-breaking moment that symbolizes the end of innocence.

No matter how bad the Big Bad is, he will always stop short of killing a baby. Even natural disasters will avoid killing infants and dogs. Something about a baby makes you stop, think twice, and show a last flicker of compassion.

Those who don't have that last drop of humanity in them will generally be stopped some other way.

Outside of Crime and Punishment Series (where all the death occurs off-screen) and shows where the cynicism is meant to be a selling point, this trope is almost always in place for babies. Dogs are less lucky: a villain can kill a dog only if it's meant to prove that he's a really horrible person. Doesn't matter if he's gunned down twenty people in cold blood, only a Complete Monster would kill your dog (but dogs seem to do better against natural disasters, since those can't actually be evil).

Of course, this only protects against killing babies in person; destroying a city in a fiery conflagration and killing the no doubt tens or hundreds of thousands of babies therein is A-OK. Alternate trope name: A Million Is a Statistic.

Whether or not this extends to pregnant women is a toss-up; fetuses have more relative protection than dogs, but less than already-born infants. Except in series where Status Quo Is God, because then the Convenient Miscarriage will rear its ugly head. On the other hand, the death of a pregnant woman or one trying to get pregnant is often seen as infinitely worse than the death of a woman with no intention of reproducing. Also, watch the pro-life/anti-abortion Moral Guardians.

The upper age limit for Infant Immortality varies. Only infants are truly immune from death, but small children enjoy substantially more protection than teenagers or adults. However, when teenagers are included below the upper age limit, it is frequently a case of Only Fatal to Adults, and is frequently an After the End setting.

The trope extends to just about anyone conventionally considered inherently "innocent," and can therefore sometimes reach out to cover the mentally handicapped. Note that, if the baby undergoes a Plot-Relevant Age-Up, they're not protected by this trope anymore - even if it's done in a way which leaves them still "really" an infant.

In animation, can lead to the Badly-Battered Babysitter plot. In video games, Hide Your Children. In fantasy, it frequently results in Nice Job Breaking It, Herod.

Note that this does not apply in the aptly-named Dead Baby Comedy. Inverted grotesquely by Undead Child and, in a more literal way, by Would Hurt a Child. Also, seems not to apply to the Enfant Terrible, who dies horribly in all manner of works.

Cats are fairly indestructible too. Compare Only Fatal to Adults, when something by definition does not hurt children, in-universe.

Examples of Infant Immortality include:


Anime and Manga Edit

  • The Death Note from, well, Death Note has as one of its lesser-known rules that it cannot kill anyone less than 780 days old, or about two years and change. Two other rules exempt people over 124 years of age, and people destined to die within 12 minutes.
    • Also, the Death Note cannot be directly handed to a human under 6 years of age.
  • Babies don't show up in Dragon Ball and its sequels all that often, but the Cell saga featured Bulma and Vegeta's infant son, Trunks, alongside his Future Badass self that came back to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. The one time baby Trunks is in mortal danger, Future Trunks jumps in to save him and his mom. On the other hand, Dende, who is roughly the Namek equivalent of a five-year-old at the time, is brutally murdered because Frieza doesn't want him using his Healing Hands to help the heroes--and this is after Frieza jumped the Moral Event Horizon by murdering Dende's entire village, including his brother. Later on, seven-year-old Goten and eight-year-old Trunks are killed when Majin Buu blows up the Earth and three-year-old Marron is turned into chocolate and eaten along with her parents and the other side characters. (Of course, this is the poster series for Death Is Cheap...)
    • There is a filler scene in the original Dragon Ball where Snow, the girl from Jingle Village, grabs a rifle from a fallen King Castle soldier and takes aim at Piccolo Daimao as his back is turned, but gives up. Piccolo then turns right around and fires eye-lasers in her direction. When the smoke clears, we're relieved to see that he wasn't aiming for Snow at all, but another soldier directly behind her. This scene sort of doubles as an example of Men Are the Expendable Gender.
      • Why? I could see if she was a grown woman, but the person killed in place of her was not just an adult, but a soldier, too. It's not like a bunch of boys from her village were being killed, too.
  • The Mazinger trilogy (Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, UFO Robo Grendizer) both plays straight and averts the trope. Some children manage keep alive despite being Too Dumb to Live, but the series did not shy either from showing dead children. In particular, two instances in the UFO Robo Grendizer Go Nagai manga were sheer horror.
  • Daimos: Daimos averts the trope as soon as the SECOND episode. A kid spends a short while egging Kazuya and Erika on to kiss. Later, when the enemy attacks, an explosion destroys the greenhouse had gone into. Kazuya and Erika bolt to the place and find him lying between the rubble. The kid opens his eyes and asks Kazuya if he "got lucky" before dying as Kazuya is holding him in arms.
  • Zambot 3: This series is notorious -among other reasons- because it brutally averted the trope. Anyone Can Die. It does not matter if you are a kid; it does not matter if you are a kid and a secondary character; it does not matter if you are a kid and a MAIN character. Given this is a show produced by Yoshiyuki Tomino (as well known as Kill'Em All), it should not be shocking.
  • Gunsmith Cats 1-ups Mad Max in one particularly memorable chase scene. A girl runs out into the middle of the road, Bean Bandit (who has a soft-spot for kids) and Rally Vincent (hotshot bounty hunter pursuing him) avoid hitting the girl by running their cars into each other and driving simultaneously on two wheels, forming a triangle over her.
  • We know from when it's first found that the abandoned baby in Tokyo Godfathers will survive anything.
    • Heck, it's implied in the movie that the baby is getting protected by God Himself, with a nice analogy to the infant Jesus. This is probably most apparent during the climax, when the baby and Hanna fall off of a building and are saved by a huge gust of wind.
  • One would think that this would be horribly averted in Code Geass, but it's actually played straight for the most part if the viewer has a sharp eye. Even through throngs of crying babies that are the children of the Elevens/Japanese, all of them seem to live. In the R1 episode "Bloodstained Euphie", Euphemia guns down a large throng of Japanese. Among the survivors are some elderly folks and thank goodness, a baby.
  • In One Piece, a young boy finds out that the King of Alabasta attacking Nanohana is actually an impostor, and then gets caught by Mr. 1 and Miss Doublefinger. While in most cases, it would seal his fate, they injure him and leave him for dead, enabling him to expose the truth after Crocodile's defeat.
    • Averted with Sabo's death. The fact that we never saw his body led some to believe that he was still alive, but Word of God confirms that he's dead.
    • Brutally averted in the case that was orchestrated by the World Government where they ordered that every infant including ones not yet born that could be related to Roger to be killed on sight - including the mother and anyone related to her.
  • Averted to some degree in Karakuri Circus. Children (particularly Masaru) are shown to be terribly injured on occasion...and then the French village gets attacked by the evil circus.
  • Brutally averted in Reiko the Zombie Shop by child murdering psychopath Saki Yurikawa. Introduced in the first volume, Saki's a teenage serial killer who has murdered over twenty little girls. She initially takes an interest in them being her "little sister", and when they refuse she snaps and utterly butchers them. Even after her death and zombification by titular heroine Reiko children still die in this series.
  • Subverted in Yu Yu Hakusho. Hiei, minutes after birth was thrown off a floating island, into a demon infested forest. Luckily, he survived. And what's worse, it was all because he was a male.
  • Mao-chan in Chibi Devi
  • The backstory arc in When They Cry has a reporter with a pregnant wife, who he left behind to cover Himezawa. He's told that by doing so, he'll come to regret it. His wife dies while he's away. In the Time Skip, we learn that they saved the baby.

Comic Books Edit

  • Ancient comics book example: In Marvel Comics #8 (from 1940), Namor, in an all-out attack on the city of New York, detonates a bomb in the Hudson Tunnel, flooding it and killing everyone inside, kills a random pilot by ripping the propeller off his plane, breaks a lot of animals out of the zoo, including many poisonous reptiles, and then saves a baby from a stampeding elephant before flying off to destroy the George Washington Bridge.
  • Used in Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways, when the evil mad scientist who has no problem secretly experimenting on prisoners and aliens takes a moment to order his Brainwashed and Crazy slave to open a locked door and rescue a baby for the mother.
  • Double Subverted in Neil Gaiman's run on The Eternals. Zuras kills Sprite for erasing all the Eternals' memories & almost destroying the world as part of his quest to Become a Real Boy. Though it worked & he is physically an eleven-year-old human child, when Sprite weakly tries to wheedle out of his execution by bringing this up, Zuras dryly reminds him that that still doesn't change the fact that he's a million years old & hasn't been a child for a very long time.
  • Seemingly averted in Punisher MAX. Amoral, tough-as-hell thug Barracuda is holding a gun to the head of Frank's infant daughter. But Frank calls his bluff: not even Barracuda would shoot a baby, right? Oops, HE JUST DID. So much for Barracuda's last shred of human decency....or so we're meant to think. In the next issue it turns out that what he shot was just a doll, and the real baby is safe after all. Still, Frank didn't know that, and he was not well-pleased.
  • In the Marvel Universe Crisis Crossover World War Hulk, it is revealed that the Hulk is in fact an idiot savant, capable of calculating his rampages so that he does the maximum amount of damage but never leaves any casualties.
    • A long-term story in his regular series had him hunted by government forces (even more then before) because he was seen on film squashing a kid. The veracity of the film is in doubt.
    • The whole Hulk never killed anyone is a retcon. Dai Thomas, a character from Captain Britain, hates superheroes because his wife was killed by debris caused by a fight between Thor and Hulk.
  • Kevin Smith's run on Daredevil was advertised with the image of DD carrying a baby as he engaged in his usual rooftop-jumping. The baby, whom he believed was either the second coming of Christ or the Anti Christ, did come along on some patrols for a while, and the adventure ended with him unharmed.
    • An issue of The Batman Adventures (the comic based on the animated continuity) featured an almost identical cover, Batman rooftop-jumping with a baby in his arms. In a mild subversion of the trope, instead of the baby surviving Batman's patrol against all odds, Batman actually avoids a fight by threatening violence far in excess of his usual if the thugs he's captured make him do anything that might hurt the baby. They surrender, and one even tells him he's holding the baby's head wrong.
  • Power Girl's baby developed defensive powers in the womb.
  • While Rogue had a Touch of Death in X-Men "Messiah Complex", Mystique placed the baby's face on her adopted daughter as this was supposed to awaken her from her coma. Gambit notes that Rogue wouldn't have wanted the baby to die at her expense, but the baby survives anyway.
  • Played seriously in the 'Crossgen' comic book series 'Negation'. The baby in question is seen surviving a nuclear explosion among many, many other horrors tossed at it by the bad guys.
  • Nomad from Marvel Comics thought it was okay to bring a baby with him on his 'walking the earth' quest. He did have access to many reliable babysitters (think underground good-guy mafia) but he still got himself involved with many a super-fight. Nearly once an issue someone would be shocked he has a baby with him in a dust-up.
  • Tenebris and Korbo the Red Shadow from Les Legendaires mercyless killed a couple of brillant inventors who provived rebellion with weapons, but they couldn't resolve themselves to eliminate their baby, and ended up giving her to adoption. This actually is of some use to the plot, as the baby grows up and comes back for revenge.
    • Ironically, the trope is technically constantly averted, since the story takes place in a world where everyone has turned back to childhood, and yet the author has no problem killing some characters. Three actual kids are also shown dead in one book after their town was devastated by Darkhell's army.


Film Edit

  • 2012 - Nothing bad will happen to you, so long as you keep hold of one or more children, or the dog. The Russian trophy wife learned this lesson the hard way.
  • Armageddon: Many people die in the opening cataclysm. A small pug is spared.
  • Taken to semi-extremes in Blade Trinity. Dracula kidnaps an infant, and threatens to throw it off a skyscraper. He doesn't though, but instead tosses it in the air, letting it fly for roughly twenty feet, and then is caught hard by Blade. The infant survives all of this, of course.
  • In the 80's, uber low-budget yet oddly entertaining Mexican supernatural slasher titled Cementerio del Terror, various characters are introduced, and ultimately twelve of them are put in the path of the psychotic killer and his army of zombies. They are three male college students and their three girlfriends out partying, five children out on a dare (the oldest being of about 14 years old and the youngest about 8), and a Dr. Loomis-esque doctor in search of the sadistic killer. Now, take three guesses as to which five characters survive the killer's rampage.
  • Cube is an example of a mentally handicapped adult being the only survivor of the nastiness.
    • If one takes Cube 2's extended ending into account, it's very likely he too was murdered.
  • In the disaster movie Dante's Peak, the dog (an adorable Picardy Shepherd) disappears about halfway through the movie, while the family are escaping from the erupting volcano. At the end, it turns up alive and unharmed about of absolutely nowhere. Bear in mind this is the film that gave Grandma third-degree burns with sulphuric acid.
  • The movie version of Stephen King's Cujo ends, well, differently to the book.
  • Brutally averted in Final Destination when both an infant AND a mentally handicapped individual die in the plane crash/explosion, even when one of the characters declares that the plane can't possibly crash due to this trope.
    • The trope was supposed to be averted in Final Destination 2: Tim was originally going to be a little kid but the director wanted to keep the movie "fun" and thus bumped up his age to 15 so we wouldn't be subjected to seeing a little kid being splattered by a falling pane of glass.
      • Although another younger kid is decapitated by an exploding barbecue in the final scene.
    • Played straight in Final Destination 3 when a group of young boys try to bluff their way onto the roller coaster, but are kicked off by the carnival staff for not being tall enough to ride it. Thus, the boys avoid dying in the crash, without any need for psychic visions to warn them away.
  • The titular monster of the B-Movie The Giant Gila Monster gets a lot less scary when it completely fails to catch and eat a crippled nine-year old.
    • Which is a shame, as Giant Gila Monsters are so inherently terrifying.
  • Hard Boiled: An extreme case - A baby rescued by the hero not only avoids blowing up or getting shot at, he saves the hero's life by putting out his pants, which caught on fire.
    • Especially considering that adult innocents get shot and killed with disturbing regularity.
  • Hellboy II had Hellboy fighting a monster while jumping around on a building, all the while juggling a baby. Most people would set it down or hand it over to the numerous bystanders for safekeeping but thanks to this trope, heroes are free to engage in these theatrics without ever actually harming a child.
    • Done in the first Hellboy film as well, only this time with a box full of kittens. Baby+ Cat=Immortality
  • In Independence Day, both the child and the dog of the protagonist survive all of the events, including a ridiculous scene where the dog manages to leap out of the way of a nuclear blast wave just in the nick of time.
  • Also averted in M, the plot of which revolves around a child murderer. This was a departure for Fritz Lang's films in general, which would often put children into dangerous situations but always save them. Woman in the Moon includes a young stowaway on the moon rocket who doesn't get injured during liftoff in spite of his lack of restraints, and is narrowly missed during a gunfight. Metropolis features a horde of children trapped in a flooding underground city, all of whom are saved at the very last minute. (In the book, however, it's implied that at least a few of them drown.)
  • Mad Max: there is a high-speed car chase and a baby wanders onto the road. After playing the suspense for all it's worth, both cars miss the child by centimeters. Of course, later in the movie, a mother and her 3-5-year old are brutally run down off-screen.
  • Played with in Men in Black, in which James Edwards, in a live-fire exercise with other potential MIB trainees, shoots a cardboard cutout of a little girl instead of the scary aliens. In a subversion, he justifies this by claiming one alien was simply exercising on a streetlight, the other was sneezing, and the little girl was out late at night, eight years old, with a college-level textbook in her arms, so she was up to something bad.
  • Despite decorating his boiler room with dismembered dollies and crushed tricycles, infamous dream-haunting child murderer Freddy Kreuger was never shown on screen in the act of killing a child. Menacing them, yes, and their apparent ghosts do turn up in dream scenes, but actual murders were confined to teenagers and adults.
  • Almost averted in Orphan originally 11-year old Daniel Coleman was suppose to die after Esther suffocated him with a pillow however it was changed to allow him to survive. Though someone who wasn't paying much attention may believe that he did die.
  • In Predator II, the eponymous alien bounty hunter spares a pregnant cop, and later lowers his sights on a child with a plastic gun after realising the harmless nature of the kid's "weapon." This is justified by the creature's personality as an honour-bound warrior; there's no challenge or sport in killing unarmed children.
  • Averted in RoboCop 2, in which the child gangster Hob, for once a totally and deliberately unlikeable underage character, seems to be on his way to a redemption storyline (RoboCop cannot bring himself to shoot Hob, even as the kid fires on him with an SMG, because he resembles Alex Murphy's son)...until the titular RoboCop 2, a hulking war machine, guns the kid and all his goons down with a minigun.
  • Scarface: Tony Montana fails to kill one of his enemies after seeing his little kids in the back seat of his car. Tony "never fucked over anyone who didn't have it coming to him".
    • "I don't need this shit in my life!"
  • In the classic Shape of Things to Come, during the prelude to war, the young son of one of the main characters is shown marching and playing his toy drum. As the war breaks out, we see the same boy lying dead amid the rubble, still wearing the toy drum.
  • In Shoot Em Up, Paul Giamatti's Affably Evil villain Hertz has no qualms about killing babies if that's what he's been told to do, and seems to gleefully enjoy running over his target in his car. He's then Squicked out when he discovers that the "baby" he ran down was only a decoy. (The real baby, meanwhile, survives being in the thick of gun battles over and over without so much as a scratch.)
  • In the famous "Garbage Day" Rampage in Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, Ricky shoots a bunch of people, but spares a little girl with a speech impediment on a tricycle.
  • Snakes on a Plane: the baby is saved from the vicious snakes despite being a handy size and ending up on the opposite side of the plane from the last time we saw it. The person that saved the baby is shortly rewarded with death (and it was her last day on the job, too). It's then subverted with a man throwing an annoying dog at a snake to save himself; he's also promptly rewarded with death and as he was such an ass nobody cared.
  • In Speed, it looks like the bus is going to hit a baby carriage, and it does. It turns out the carriage is full of cans.
  • Star Trek: Generations -- Spot the cat survived the crash of the USS Enterprise (much to the distaste of the actor Brent Spiner, who played Data (the cat's owner) and who in real life hates cats).
  • This trope (especially as it applies to dogs) was identified by Roger Ebert in his review of (the 2005 Tom Cruise version of) The War of the Worlds.
  • Subverted and played straight in The Witches, the Grand Head Witch (as is the case with any witch) hates children and wishes to ride the world of them. While they seem to never kill children outright though, they still have no problem turning kids into food to be eaten, turning them into stone, turning them into animals that will be killed soon after, or trapping them in paintings. The book also implies that several transformed children (including two frogs and Bruce) would be killed shortly after in various ways and the Witches' main plan in the book and movie involves turning children into mice so that they will be killed by their parents and teachers. On the other hand, the main character survives and the movie has a scene in which the Grand Head Witch seems quite taken with an infant in a carriage - before pushing it down the hill. The hero saves it (justified in that it was mainly to serve as a distraction, rather than trying to kill it).
  • Kids in Marvel movies can count on Stan Lee to pull them out of harm's way. (Lee, in turn, can count on Matt Murdock.)
  • Totally averted (though not shown) by Fat Bastard in the 2nd Austin Powers movie to show just how bad he is:

  Well listen up, Sunny Jim - I ATE A BABY! Ohh, aye, baby - the other other white meat! Baby - it's what's for dinner!

  • Averted in The Way Back. Out of a group of eight gulag escapees, only half of them survive, and the sole young girl isn't one of them. She doesn't just die, either; she dies horribly of heatstroke and dehydration in the desert.
  • Brianna in Mystery Team. She barely appears once the film grows darker and the conflict more dangerous, preventing her from being kidnapped by either Leroy or Roger. A more literal example with Eric, who has apparently been shot three times.
  • Lampshaded in the film of Inkheart. When they are captured, Mortimer tells his daughter, Meggie, to pretend she is in a book, since "children always survive in books." She then reminds him that the rule doesn't always apply, such as in "The Little Match Girl".
  • In Halloween 2, Michael Myers ignores an entire maternity ward filled with sleeping babies, instead choosing to kill the doctors, nurses, and security guards.
  • Brazilian horror icon Zé do Caixão aka Coffin Joe tends to be a vicious sadistic against adults, but won't tolerate any harm inflicted to children, whom he sees as the hopes for a better (or, in his case, I'd rather say superior) world.


Literature Edit

  • Elizabeth Vaughan tells of turning in a manuscript in which an infant died midway through. Her publisher sternly counseled her that "In romance, you can't kill a baby." She had to rework the entire plot to accommodate the infant's survival.
  • While the Pern colonists' first encounter with Thread gruesomely killed several adults and at least one young girl, Dragonsdawn does honor this trope with babies. Two infants were the only survivors of the colony's Tuareg nomad camp, having been sealed inside a Thread-proof metal cabinet by their doomed parents, and a house in which a woman is giving birth was instinctively protected by hundreds of the settlement's fire-lizards.
  • The very premise of Harry Potter, who is The Boy Who Lived because the evil overlord wanted to kill a baby but wasn't able to. Please note that "trying to kill a baby but not being able to" is probably the most pathetic thing a villain can do. It's hard to think of things that couldn't kill a baby, but apparently Voldy just had to get cute with the killing curse, instead of just going the much more reliable kick to the head.
    • In fairness to Voldemort, Harry is the only survivor in the spell's history and only because of a peculiar set of circumstances both times. Nobody, under the circumstances, could have expected failure - but the consequences for Voldemort the first time were such that he had no opportunity to rectify the situation.
    • Voldemort manages to kill two children (and their mom) while searching for a wand-maker in Deathly Hallows. Many teenagers die through the series, but only a few (Moaning Myrtle and Colin Creevey, plus Ariana Dumbledore in the backstory) were under 17, and thus minors.
  • Lampshaded up the wazoo by the Samurai Cat books, in which Shiro the homicidal kitten revels in his Baby+ Cat Immortality, gleefully rushing into meat-grinder battles in the smug confidence that the author wouldn't dare kill him. Eventually this trope was averted in Samurai Cat Goes To Hell, but only as a plot device to send his uncle to retrieve the bloodthirsty little creep.
  • Played straight in Breaking Dawn. While all of the Volturi converge to kill Bella and Edward's daughter Renesmee, they all instantly become captivated by her charm when they see her, quickly realize that they were wrong, and go home without a fight. Yes, that was the climax.
    • Did you actually read it? Even after it was proven that Renesmee wasn't a danger, the Volturi still tried to find an excuse to kill her and thus provoke the Cullens AND they still started a fight...well, attempted to, anyway.
    • Averted hard by the Volturi. Their only reason for killing a little kid was because they don't give second chances.
  • In Stephen King's The Stand, many of the main characters die, but Kojak the dog survives.
    • Averted in the case of one woman whose twin children were born dead. She went nuts and blamed the superflu, though other characters believed that it being a twin birth and her being a heavy smoker were the real causes.


Live Action TV Edit

  • Doubly subverted in Angel. Darla, his sire, wants to make sure that he is still soulless, so she leads him to a crib with a baby that she had kidnapped, and tells him to drink its blood (though not in so many words). Courtesy of Dramatic Irony, the audience knows Angel is ensouled. Angel then rescues the child.
  • In Being Human, this trope is played with when a young boy who Mitchell befriended is hit by a car and critically injured. It is left for the mother to decide if he dies...or takes another way out. They play it straight and have Mitchell turn the boy into a vampire.
    • The plot of Season 4 revolves around a prophecy in which George and Nina's baby must die to save humanity from global vampire rule.
  • Boy Meets World: the sight of an empty hospital bassinet fails to evoke our fears that premature Joshua did not survive, thanks to this trope and the fact that it's a friggin TGIF sitcom. Sure enough, when we pan over, the baby is in mom's arms.
  • ER tried to pull this too. When Abby and Luka's baby was born prematurely, a scene ended with the baby flatlining in surgery. The next scene indicated that several months had passed and featured staff members quietly discussing the couple's need for privacy. Cut to an empty crib. . .and pan to Abby holding her son. Another example, one of ER's most famous episodes, Love's Labor Lost comes very close to averting this when Dr. Green mishandles a routine birth, and up until the final moments of the episode, it seemed very likely that the baby would die, only for him to survive while his mother did not.
    • However, they heartbreakingly averted this trope when Dr. Carter's son was stillborn at seven months. The horrifying reality of this ruined his relationship with the mother.
  • Charmed: Piper's unborn baby is impossible to kill due to the magical lineage of the baby; any fireballs or missiles that flew in Piper's direction were nullified by a glowing barrier orb around pregnant Piper. It is even hinted that the unborn fetus is consciously providing the magical protection. This protection lasts long after his birth. Many episodes featured the villain trying to grab the kid and getting blasted across the room.
    • Although this takes a darker turn when they realize why the child would have gone evil in the future - trauma over someone capturing him and trying for weeks to figure out a way to kill him.
  • Doctor Who: in the episode "The Runaway Bride", most of the Racnoss's laser beams whip around quickly -- except for one heading towards a little girl, which moves sloooooowly enough for someone to grab her and run to safety.
    • Averted in "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood", when little Lucy Cartwright is killed and has her body taken over by a member of the family.
    • Dead straight in "The Curse of the Black Spot", in which a child is vaporized by the villain... and the Doctor suddenly knows all's not what it seems. With no in-story reason to think this at all, the Doctor soon decides that the alien may only be moving people, not killing them, and he is soon proven right.
  • In Harpers Island, it was very unnerving that they had Madison, who got people killed because of her withholding information, and her annoying Mom Shea live, while the father, Richard bought it. 99% of the show's fans wish that they both died.
  • In the Inspector Morse episode "Dead on Time", we are shown the death of a baby in flashback sequence. And through the series, several children are killed off at various times.
  • In Japanese Spider-Man, in which adult characters are rarely spared from tragic deaths for the hero to angst over, one can always be sure that cute kids whose lives are in danger will always be spared. Moreover, one episode featured a heroic dog who was shot and fell hundreds of feet off a dam. Cut to tearjerker scene of the dog lying in the river... his owner calls and the dog struggles to his feet and limps over... and five minutes later, the dog is completely well again.
    • Elsewhere in the Tokusatsu genre, the earlier Kamen Rider series, which had far less problem offing random civilians in good-sized numbers to show how bad the Monster of the Week and his plan are than more recent series, have so many instances of death - in so many scary-despite-Special-Effects-Failure forms - instantly taking adults but only hovering menacingly in the direction of children (who are snatched out of the way by Riders) it's hard to pick the best. However, one time in Kamen Rider Skyrider, a child infected by something that had disintegrated everyone else affected by it is not seen after the woman who'd been carrying her a second ago was kidnapped. By all rights that means she's dead, but we didn't see it.
  • It's been confirmed by Damon Lindelof that Vincent the dog will survive through the entirety of Lost.
    • Also, when young Ben is shot by Sayid, he survives...in a way that makes him "lose his innocence".
    • Also, it was kind of obvious that they were never going to kill Walt.
  • In the Animal Planet show Lost Tapes, anytime there's a child involved, they will be ensured to survive. Most egregious example is in the Thunderbird episode, where a boy with a broken leg is picked up by a massive raptor. The end narration says they found him the next morning with minor scrapes and bruises, meaning the giant bird of prey didn't so much as nibble the boy, and carried him in its talons with the utmost care.
  • In the series epilogue of Prison Break, Sara Trancredi is sent to prison and later physically assaulted by female correctional officers for her role in the Fox River break out. However, they gave her the courtesy of avoiding hitting anywhere that would cause harm to her unborn child.
  • Subverted in the 2009 version of The Prisoner. A character's toddler daughter rides her tricycle through a gate that has carelessly been left open, in the direction of a bottomless pit. She rides closer and closer to the chasm at full speed, until, at the last minute, she falls the fuck in, head-first, tricycle and all, on camera, never to be seen again.
  • On an episode of CSI: Miami the team has been searching for a kidnapped baby. When Horatio finds the guy he tries to escape by driving away with the baby in the car. After a car chase through an airport the bad guy's car flips repeatedly and both he and the baby survive without serious injury until Horatio shoots the guy.
    • On the original CSI, the roller coaster "Pharaoh's Fever" was considerate enough of this trope to wait to fail until after a Mom with her kids had disembarked and an all-adult group of riders had gotten on board.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. Naomi Wildman. Sort of. See, on the day of her birth she is killed...and survives a horrible menace. At the same time. Yes, it is confusing. As usual, in horrible deaths, Harry Kim is part and parcel of it.
    • Poor, dumb Harry.
    • To clarify, the ship is split into two identical Voyagers. The Harry and Naomi from one die, but the Harry and Naomi of the Voyager that eventually gets kaboom'd manage to survive and join the Voyager crew that lost theirs.
  • Averted hard in HBO's The Pacific, with the mother on Okinawa, an involuntary suicide bomber, who tries and fails to hand off her baby before she blows up.
    • However, Hoosier does save the dog in Part Two.
  • In The Wire Stray bullets kill a child midway through a gang war, and a preschooler is killed to send a message
  • The X-Files occasionally killed kids, including Scully's alien hybrid daughter, but no actual babies ever died.
    • They killed a toddler in "The Calusari." Perhaps the threshold is learning to walk?
    • They buried a baby alive in "Home", and the uncensored version has it screaming the whole time.
    • Played with strangely in "Invocation". It turns out the child was still dead...so it was his ghost?
    • Played straight with Baby William at pretty much every turn. Either Scully is attacked by a giant slug that threatens to abort him ("Roadrunners"), Scully has a placental abruption ("Empedocles"), somebody wants to make sure he isn't born ("Deadalive"), someone evil wants kidnap him at birth for evil purposes ("Essence/Existence"), a crazy cult actually does kidnap him ("Provenance/Providence"), or he's injected with an unknown substance to cure him of his alien-ness ("William"). And through all of this there's not even a scratch on him. He's one tough little guy.
  • Inverted in Babylon 5 - the youngest character to survive an episode is a teenager: Garibaldi's daughter.
  • The dog variation is lampshaded by Dr Johnny Fever in an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati in which he says "It's like in the movies, ya know? You can waste the entire Confederate army, nobody cares - hundreds of thousands of guys deader than doornails! But kill one collie, everybody collapses in grief!"
  • In an episode of Stargate SG-1, a young girl is the only survivor of a plague on her planet. It is later revealed that she was turned into a bomb in order to destroy the SGC. She doesn't actually blow up, though.
  • Aishiteru's plot starts with the death of a seven year old boy. To make things worse, the murderer is a ten year old.
  • Egregiously played in the National Geographic documentary Guns, Germs, and Steel where a Boer family was attacked by the Zulus and we see the husband, wife, and even the older son dead in the morning. However, the infant survived the attack and his cries can be heard.
  • In the premiere of the second season of The Walking Dead, a young girl disappears in zombie-infested woods. After the survivors spend half of the season looking for her and are beginning to lose hope, this trope is the only reason the audience still expects her to be found alive. Brutally subverted in a truly anguishing scene when they finally find her zombified corpse, and have to put her down. On camera.
  • While everyone else in the Mc Namara family in Nip Tuck goes through hell and a half, the family's young daughter Annie never seems to have anything bad directly happen to her, at least in the early seasons. In fact, she is completely absent from roughly two thirds of all episodes.


Newspaper Comics Edit

  • Max Allan Collins, the second Dick Tracy writer (a longtime fan, he inherited the job from Chester Gould) recounts that after reading the story where Gould allowed Junior's innocent little girlfriend Model to get shot and die, he realized Anyone Can Die in Tracy. So when Tracy's infant daughter is kidnapped not long after, and then abandoned in the woods, on the verge of dying of exposure, with wild animals closing in, the tension for the reader was much realer than it otherwise would have been. The baby does get rescued in time but only after a white-knuckle fake-out where it looks like wolves have gotten her!


Radio Edit


Video Games Edit

  • A blanket note for several of the examples below: While it's hard to confirm because the ESRB criteria for rating games isn't entirely transparent, a number of people have alleged that allowing the player to deliberately murder children in a game is a fast track to an Adults Only rating; this would be financial suicide for any title with a multi-million budget as all major consoles prohibit AO titles on their system and few retail stores (and no major ones) will carry them. (This may have carried less weight in the 90s, especially for PC games which got lax treatment to begin with.)
  • In the second Baldur's Gate game, the PC frees the inmates of an asylum for those driven mad by magical power to help take on Big Bad Jon Irenicus. One of these inmates is a young girl with the ability to shapeshift; she does not actually take part in the battle, in which all the other inmates die.
  • The first Castlevania (Nintendo 64) game has the hero fighting horrible menaces to save a human kid named Malus. Then he sends him off into the monster-filled worlds. The remake had a different hero give a different kid a plot coupon that would protect him from said monsters.
    • Subverted in Malus' case since he's freaking Dracula reborn. In the true ending you get to confront and kill him.
  • No children or infants appear in the Crusader series of games, because with the care most players usually take to avoid killing civilians there would be frozen, burning, or gooey babies everywhere. And you can't get baby out of carpet.
  • In Dragon Quest V, during the segment where your characters are children, they don't die when they hit 0 HP, but are just knocked out until the end of the battle. Actual -- if not-permanent -- death isn't an issue until your lead character is an adult.
    • Subverted with the PC's own children who CAN get killed in battle
  • Fable: The only children to appear are in a town which the player cannot enter without leaving his weapons at the gate.
    • You are never unarmed in Fable II, but no matter what you use, you can't kill the kids. Oddly subverted in the intro sequence, in which Lord Lucien shoots dead your sister Rose, who is barely older than you are, and then shoots you with enough force to send you through a window and down a fall you only survive because of your magical heritage.
  • Unlike its predecessors (see below) where killing a child would give you the very negative child killer rep, Fallout 3 makes children completely unkillable. They'll survive mini-nukes undamaged. This restricts an Evil player's options in Little Lamplight, a town populated entirely by kids. While children are invulnerable to harm, a "creative" player will discover that you can enslave some, sell drugs and guns to them, bully them, taunt one to run away from his neglectful mother and the evil solution to the "The Power of Atom" quest (detonating the atomic bomb) will kill the two children living in Megaton.
    • It's actually still played straight during "The Power of Atom." If you activate the bomb but do not detonate it, leave town, and come back before you finish the quest, you'll find that the two children in Megaton have mysteriously vanished.
    • In addition, the company that made the game explicitly prevents discussion of game mods that allow child killing on the official forums, and has had videos of child killing mods removed from youtube by claiming copyright infringement.
    • They've continued the policy in Skyrim, where again children are immune to damage.
  • This is applied strangely in F.E.A.R. Alma is already an Implacable Man, but the moment you have to actually face off against her, she goes from her Creepy Child Stringy Haired Ghost Girl form to a teenage one. This makes absolutely no sense plot-wise, and seems to be solely so you won't have to face down and eventually shoot a little girl -- even one that's already dead.
    • It does make sense in the way that Alma is actually grown-up, since she already gave birth to the player character. Thus, you see her "real form" instead of the mind-projection of a little girl.
      • Canonically, she was an adult when she died -- but, IIRC, only fifteen when she gave birth -- but she was unconscious nearly the entire time, and would have no frame of reference for herself looking like this. It doesn't make a lot of sense that she'd psychically project herself as what is, to her, virtually a complete stranger, rather than the image she probably has of herself.
    • There's also the small matter of Alma raping the main character at the end of the second game. Doing that while she still looks like a little girl would probably cause even worse publicity than being able to shoot her.
  • In Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobos Dungeon, the journey into people's memories starts by chasing a mysterious flying infant, worried that he'll be hurt. He somehow manages to escape the monsters unscathed, though Chocobo has a hard time finding his way through.
  • Grand Theft Auto: In a game where you can beat people to death, blow up cars, and just be an all around psychopath, there are no kids.
    • It also regularly Lampshades the absence of pets.
  • Gwen in Guild Wars Prophecies is invulnerable. When she appears again as an adult in Eye of the North, she isn't.
  • Averted HARD in Limbo, seeing as nearly every reaction to you screwing up a puzzle in that game causes your protagonist (a small boy) to meet a grisly and painful death.
  • The reason why there aren't no children in Half-Life 2 - so you can't kill them. The game designers turned it at their advantage though: the childless city was explained in-game by a "suppressing field" which prevents certain protein chains necessary for embryonic development from forming, according to Doctor Kleiner. There's great atmospheric moment at the start of the game, when you pass by a playground and, if you look at the deserted swing and the broken doll on the ground, you can hear a distant, fading kid's laughter.
    • Amusingly lampshaded once the suppression field goes down - Kleiner suggests via broadcast that "now would be an excellent time for procreation". This as the City 17 Citadel's reactor is going critical and most people are fleeing to refugee camps in the country. Riiight.
      • The rebel's comments are even funnier. "Wait. Doctor Kleiner is telling us to... get it on?" "Isn't he your dad?"
  • Depending on which games in The Legend of Zelda series and how good the player is, this can either be played straight or subverted with a child Link.
  • In The Sims 2, babies and toddlers cannot be killed in any way. If they are caught in a fire they will miraculously escape, and if their needs drop too low, an evil social worker will come in a van and steal them. Much the same is true for children, except they can actually burn to death, drown, or get crushed by a satellite. They just can't get electrocuted, scared to death, or starved to death, since those deaths result in their needs dropping.
  • This is in full swing in the Siren series... which actually works against the player, as they enforce it by having children panic and curl into a ball before they're actually even hit, yielding a game over. If you're playing one, you're currently playing a stage where not using stealth, rather than just being dangerous and wasteful, is completely impossible. If you have one with you, you have to take great care to protect it -- and a stray hit during combat that connects with them causes them to panic as well.
    • Both an example and exception in Siren: Blood Curse. On escort missions, you can hurt and even kill the person you have to protect. Except 10-year-old Bella. Your weapon has no effect on her. Likewise, enemies can hurt and kill escorts... but when Bella "dies" it's by covering her head and cowering in fear. And when you play as Bella, instead of taking damage from enemy attacks and eventually dying, you cower in fear and scream "NO!" if an enemy gets too close to you, causing you to lose. Technically a way of avoiding showing Bella's obvious death. Yet, the game also creates an exception later when Bella is shown later on having turned into a shibito, the zombie-like creatures in the village. The condition for becoming a shibito is to die, so obviously something happened to Bella. An earlier cutscene shows a large log rolling towards her and a quick cut to black, indicating that's what might have killed her.
  • Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog cannot die if you play as both Sonic and Tails in Sonic 2 and 3.
  • World of Warcraft follows this to a T. You can slaughter whole towns, but not the children in them. Apparently it's better to let the children get along without their parents that you slaughtered than to also kill them. Then again, given respawn, that's not an issue...so it begs the question of why one can't kill a level 5 child since they'd just come back anyway.
    • The reason is, Blizzard doesn't want either side to seem Always Chaotic Evil to the other, and child murder is a good way of crossing the Moral Event Horizon. This is also lampshaded with an in-game holiday dedicated to helping the orphans in every city.
    • Averted somewhat lore-wise, given the presence of NPCs such as Pamela Redpath.
      • Even then if an undead child has to be depicted, they have to be depicted as that of a ghost. So yeah, no zombie kids for Children's Week.
  • It's only to be expected that Zoo Tycoon would honor this trope, being a family game. It's worth mentioning because of how blatantly the Infant Immortality rule is applied: if predators escape or a guest ends up in their enclosures, they'll leap on and attack adult guests, while completely ignoring children. Hence, a runaway lion or tyrannosaur will charge right past a dozen kids to pounce on a grown-up.
  • Subverted several times in the Zombie game They Hunger, sadly. In the hospital, a baby is heard crying, until it abruptly stops. The player cannot get to the nursery immediately, and when he does... There is a ribb left in the bed for newborn. And later in the mountains, the player has to kill resurrected tiny, tiny skeletons that have the hunger...
  • In the first episode of The Walking Dead, Duck survives whether you try to save him or not.
  • The Sonic Blast Man arcade game (as well as the SNES version) featured a stage where the player must punch out a truck that is about to cross path with a runaway carriage with a baby boy inside it. If the player fails the stage, it will show that the carriage managed to get safely out of the truck's way, only for Sonic Blast Man to get run over in its place.
  • It's a good thing this trope is in effect in Shining the Holy Ark. When you're exploring a Haunted House you come across a child called Justin who is searching for his father. It should be noted that you've had to fight tooth and nail to get to the point where Justin is. Justin later turns up in the sequel Shining Force III as one of the main protagonists.
    • It is partly subverted with discussions of one of the Big Bads bathing in children's blood in order to retain her beautiful image. Although we never see it happen.


Web Comics Edit

  • In Eight Bit Theater, Black Mage has orphaned a little boy multiple times, although this has been subverted (sort of) when he spared the boy a couple times out of a sick perverse joy in seeing the mental scars he causes pile up.
    • Comes back to bite him when it turns out that the kid grows up to become a powerful sage, travels back in time to the start of the universe to make it in his image and prevent Black Mage from scarring him, waits for billions of years because of his future mistake of accidentally sending someone to the start of the universe before himself, and grows up to be Sarda, who finds endless and creative ways of torturing Black Mage.
  • Lampshaded in this strip from Acid Reflux.
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, a baby is launched in the air by automated zombie quarantine wall. The good doctor, naturally, catches him, much to his own surprise.
  • Mentioned in Gold Coin Comics, when Lance survived a childhood fire where everyone else appears to have died.
  • Rob and Elliot: Rob attempts to take this to it's logical extreme by making a bulletproof vest out of live babies.


Web Original Edit


Western Animation Edit

 Granny: "They hate babies! Quick, nobody dress like a baby!"

  • Any cartoon with a Badly-Battered Babysitter.
  • Played for laughs in The Triplets of Belleville. During the car chase one of the Mafia's cars narrowly avoids hitting a screaming woman with a baby carriage by steering to the side and crashing. A second car does, however, impact with the baby carriage - and crumples like an accordion, while the baby carriage and its laughing occupant remains completely unscathed.
  • Since Tommy and friends on Rugrats can safely pass through areas such as garages, attics, restaurants, post offices, miniature golf courses, bowling alleys, shopping malls, museums, fairs, Las Vegas, or the forest on their own, they don't really need the "supervision" that they get.

Real Life Edit

  • A notable example of real-life infant immortality was just recently in the news. A baby stroller got nicked by a train. The stroller was pushed at least 20 feet away. The mother and others went running up to the baby expecting the worst only to see the baby only slightly injured.
    • It happened twice on the same train line in Melbourne Australia within a year.
  • Also in Canada, a couple of months ago, an elderly woman was driving recklessly and almost killed a mother with a child in a stroller, kid was pushed away just in the right moment.
  • When Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 crashed in 2010, out of the 104 people on board the only survivor was a 9-year-old Dutch boy. A newsperson pointed out that in most plane crashes with survivors, the survivor's been a young child. Mainly because the luggage might be flying around, decapitating people, and the kids are too small to be decapitated by the flying luggage.
  • There was one news story a couple years back in India, also involving a train, but in a different way. A heavily pregnant woman went to the bathroom on the train was moving (it's not stated how fast). She somehow ended up pushing so hard, she gave birth right into the toilet. This was one of those trains that empties right onto the tracks. the mother passed out from the pain. When her brother-in-law finally checked up on her two hours later, she was found unconscious and bloody in the bathroom. They stopped the train and finally recovered the infant who had been dumped and left behind on the tracks for over two hours. The baby wasn't healthy, but with hospital care she survived. Read about it here.
  • For literal Infant Immortality, see Brooke Greenberg.
  • Countries with capital punishment generally won't execute a pregnant woman so as to not make the innocent baby pay for her crime. In the 17th to 19th century in England, male jailers in women's prisons had a nice secondary income providing the pregnancies.
    • Seemingly nearly every female receiving a death sentence in this period would 'plead her belly'- i.e., claim to be pregnant, just in case. Even if it was unlikely, it would delay the case for a few weeks until she got her period.


Exceptions: Edit

Anime Edit

  • Battle Angel Alita: In addition to the Crapsack World of The Scrapyard where villains have no qualms about killing children, there's also the infant-meat-fancying Venusians and the "Methuzalized" space colonists who regard "the next generation as a threat, not a promise" and regularly send death squads after children. There's also the Child Soldiers of Jeru/Ketheres, who Alita and her new friends from Mars try to save a day too late, and the orphans on the Space Karate guy's planet.
  • Kentaro Miura shows repeatedly in the Berserk manga that children do not get special immunity from the horrors of the story's universe.
    • The dead body of a little boy can be seen among the victims of the bandit leader from the first major story arc.
    • Later in the second arc Guts is given a ride by a kind priest and a young girl who he takes care of. The three are attacked by demonically possessed skeletons and the young girl Collette is brutally killed. She then returns possessed and kills the priest before going after Guts along with the rest of the undead. Guts then has to kill her again, along with the rest of the skeletons.
    • After becoming separated from the rest of the Hawks during an earlier battle, Casca reveals to Guts that long before he joined them a young boy who acted as a page to the mercenary band was killed in battle. She says it is the first time that she truly saw Griffith be disturbed and depressed by something and later is shown to have deeply affected Griffith mentally.
    • During the Band of the Hawks arc, Guts carries out an assassination order by Griffith on the King's brother and then is forced to kill the brother's young son because the boy saw too much, an act that shakes him up terribly -- not the very least because the boy reminded Guts of...well, himself when he was the kid's age.
      • Judeau later points out that the son was being groomed to marry the Princess who Griffith also wished to marry (as it was the most direct path to become king). By having the boy killed, Griffith has a much easier shot at marrying the Princess and as such gaining his dream, so it is likely he planned for the boy to be there and Guts having to kill him. This turns out to be one of the factors which eventually led to Guts leaving the Hawks.
    • After rescuing Griffith after a year of torture the Band of the Hawk gets aid from a young family which includes several children who long supported the group. Shortly afterward, the Black Dog Knights, a group of soldiers composed of the worst rapists, murderers and criminals that Midland has to offer appear, having been sent by the King to kill Griffith. The group, led by Wyald, a truly nasty piece of work of an Apostle, question the mother before she and her family including the young children are raped and killed. And if that wasn't bad enough, they then proceed to dismember their bodies (yes, including the kids) and carry them naked on poles into battle with the Hawks, who are all disgusted at the sight.
    • That said, Rickert, the youngest of the Band of the Hawk, is the only other survivor of the Eclipse besides Guts and Casca, and that was only because he was separated from the main body of the Hawks before Griffith's Behelit activated, otherwise he would have been branded and eaten along with the rest. He did almost die when the below-mentioned Rosine and the Count from the third manga story massacred the men with him, but he was rescued by the Skull Knight.
    • The Misty Valley arc main villain Rosine started out as a cute, smart tomboy with a horrible home life who loved a certain fairy tale. She later sacrifices her parents to the Godhand and becomes a elf/fairy creature similar to that found in her favorite fairy tale and begins to attack the nearby village killing people and animals and kidnapping children to turn into twisted little elf/fairy creatures that play kickball with eyeballs, play war to the death, and rape each other for fun (remember they are still technically children and are acting in a twisted way like the kids they are.) By the time Guts reaches her, she is pretty much insane, and has to be killed in order to prevent her from hurting any more people (and given that Guts is still in hardcore post-Eclipse vengeance mode at this point, all he really cares about is killing another Apostle). During the arc you see that she Used to Be a Sweet Kid who only wanted to have some happiness that she never got at home turning into a case of Alas, Poor Villain especially considering that once she dies, she, like anyone who makes a sacrifice to the Godhand and becomes a demon, is sent straight to hell.
    • Also, those eyeball kick balling, to-the-death war playing elf/fairy creatures that Rosine made from kidnapped children? When they are killed they turn back into kids, leading to Guts being seen as a child killer.
      • Guts himself did also indulge in a bit of child-mass-slaughter. Sure, they were forcibly polymorphed by Rosine and reverted to human form upon death, but he KNEW that, and he was still grinning maniacally while he crushed them.
      • And also, there's Rosine's Morality Pet Jill, a somewhat younger girl that calls her "older sister Rosine" ("Rosine-neechan" in the original Japanese). She survives the arc, though not before being in lethal danger at least twice.
    • In the Millennium Falcon arc, women and children in a village are constantly kidnapped by trolls. The woman are raped till they become pregnant with more trolls, but the rotting bodies of children skewered on poles are seen in the den.
      • As the trolls are being subdued by Guts, those captured escape with the rest of his party and many children are seen with them, acting as a slight subversion.
    • And collectively, the most disturbing case in the series so far is what happened to Guts and Casca's own child. When Guts returned to the Hawks and before the crew set out to rescue Griffith, he and Casca had an emotional reunion that ended up with them making love, with said union resulting in Guts impregnating Casca. Though pregnancy was unknown to them at the time, it's assumed that the baby was developing normally in the womb... until the Eclipse happened. When it goes down, everything goes down, with Griffith, now the demon lord Femto, raping the pregnant Casca in front of Guts, tainting her womb with his demonic seed and thus poisoning her unborn child. After the Eclipse, the now traumatized and insane Casca undergoes a miscarriage from the event, resulting in a misshapen fetus being born that has been corrupted by evil. Guts, seeing the child as nothing more than a byproduct of an event he failed to prevent, tries to kill it immediately, but because of Casca's intervention, the child disappears at daybreak.
  • In Bleach, there's this whole deal with a little boy having his soul separated from his body and placed in a parakeet's body by a Hollow...
    • We see ghosts of children several times, their deaths are not shown on screen though.
  • Blue Gender. Things don't go well for poor Yung, and during the massacre of Yung's group by the Blue, we see one of the Big Creepy-Crawlies slash at a mother holding an infant (Mom dies; kid goes flying). Needless to say, if the blow didn't kill the baby, hitting the ground will.
  • In Code Geass, (albeit, off-screen) as Britannian soldiers are gunning down Japanese, the viewer hears a crying infant, followed shortly by a hail of gunfire.
    • Also, there's several instances in the general massacres scenes where you can see smaller bodies, clearly of children and teenagers, albeit undetailed and from a distance.
    • Don't forget the raid on the Order of Geass.
  • The Earl of Millennium doesn't care how old you are; as long as you lost someone close to you, he will be there to turn you into an Akuma.
  • Detective Conan occasionally touches on the deaths of children, though always in the backstory providing a motive for the current killer. The closest it has come to killing a child on-screen was the start of the sixth Non-Serial Movie Phantom of Baker Street, which starts with a ten-year old Child Prodigy jumping of a skyscraper.
  • Horrendously averted in Devilman: Two of the worst deaths are destined for Sachiko, Akira's little neighbor, and Miki's younger brother. In fact, in regards to Devilman and Devilman Lady, Go Nagai has absolutely NO compunction about killing children and babies in the most horrific way possible and showing it very clearly, preferably in front of their parents.
    • The Grendizer manga (also a Go Nagai production) has a villain who averts this twice- in a flashback he kidnaps all the kids from planet Fleed and says he'll give them back in exchange for the planet's weapons. When they give up the weapons, he gives back the kids- by dropping them from 30,000 feet in the air. And in the present, he steals Great Mazinger and ties up a bunch of kids as well as people Duke cares about all over the robot so Grendizer can't fight back.
    • There's also an episode of Mazinger Z where Shirou's crush, Lorelei, was a Robot Girl with the body of a 10-year-old cutie... and in control of a huge mecha beast. Of course, she doesn't make it. In another, Sayaka's cousin Yuri (who is actually crippled) is kidnapped and placed inside a capsule in a mecha beast's head; she's luckier than the others, though, and survives.
    • Also averted in Violence Jack. The first arc alone is filled with graphic deaths of young kids.
  • Lucy from Elfen Lied has no problem killing children in the most horrible ways, including the male protagonist's little sister Kanae. Also young Diclonius children get killed off regularly, often in gruesome experiments (leading to a notably heartbreaking scene in the anime).
  • Averted in Ergo Proxy, when viewers are treated to a baby carriage falling down a flight of stairs in slow motion during the mall chase early on in the series. Later, the carriage is shown lying on its side in a puddle of (presumably the baby's) blood.
    • That particular one is a shout-out to Eisenstein's Bronenosets Potemkin Odessa stairs scene. However, that is certainly not the only baby to die in Ergo Proxy. (Not a spoiler. Really.)
  • Averted in Eureka Seven, where, on one occasion, a little boy's death at the hands of the Scab Corals received an ironically graphic Gory Discretion Shot.
    • Then there the shot of a mother actually smothering her crying infant just before some Corals find them and kill them both. Once again that was a Gory Discretion Shot. Not to mention the scene when Dominic tries to go looking for a replacement for Anemone.
  • In Fist of the North Star, several children die in the manga, but are spared in the TV series (notably Bat's younger brother Taki and the kid who ate poisoned bread in Shu's hideout). Strangely, the TV series "made up" for it by having several adult characters who survived the manga die instead (like both Harn Brothers instead of just Haz). In the first Raoh Den movie, the child-poisoning scene is restored.
    • In contrast to the TV series, the original 1986 movie shows a group of nomads being massacred by camouflaged thugs while wandering the desert. The casualties include a young mother and her infant child.
  • Definitely averted in Fullmetal Alchemist, to horrifying effect. There's the Nina Tucker incident in which her crazed father merged her with the family dog, Envy started the Ishvallan War by transforming himself into a soldier and shooting a child, Envy and Father have been shown to be literally Powered by a Forsaken Child, the Doll Soldiers can be interpreted as children's souls put in freakish bodies...
    • Yet for some reason Pride, a hundreds-of-years-old monster wearing the skin of a child, is the only surviving homunculus at the end of the series.
    • In a strange ironic Hilarious in Hindsight way the same character, Selim, died at the end of the 2003 anime version. Also, though a bit older than usual, Edward dies in the 2003 anime (twice) only to be brought back (well..not the "Real world" Edward though).
  • Averting this is pretty much Genocyber's claim to fame, to the point that the most brutal and obvious example has ended up on at least one shock site.
  • Horribly averted in Grave of the Fireflies. They warned you.
  • In the Hellsing manga, one of the first images readers are shown during Millennium's invasion of London is a limp, bloody and unmistakably dead infant in the jaws of a Vampire-Nazi.
  • In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Rika dies multiple times, in horrific ways. Tsundere Satoko also dies a few times, as well.
    • Then again, no one is safe in Hinamizawa. Not the cute little 9 year olds, not the teenagers, not the annoying school kids, not the doctors, not even the random villagers.
    • The general rule for both When They Cry series (Higurashi and Umineko) is that everyone in the series is fair game, and no it isn't just quick kills...
      • Played with in the first Episode(arc) of Umineko where the "children" (just one of them is really a kid) survived until the end... But didn't survive the epilogue, anyway.
  • In Inuyasha, Suikotsu's evil side emerges for the first time when a soldier kills an injured little girl he was trying to save. Worse, the soldier gloats about that since, in his view, he spared the little girl from more pain. When the soldier tries to kill HIM, a panicked Suikotsu kills the other first with the same scalpel he was using to operate on his unfortunate little patient.
    • Rin's first appearance has her being brutally and graphically slaughtered by Kouga's wolves. Thankfully, she gets better.
      • Oh, and much later on? She gets dragged into Hell. Again, she gets better.
    • Kohaku. Not only was he brainwashed into killing his dad and fellow Demon Slayers as well as injuring his older sister, but then he takes a fatal attack for her and dies. Then he's revived. But is Brainwashed and Crazy. And it takes him a LOT to get better.
  • Averted in the seventeenth volume of The Kindaichi Case Files, "The Undying Butterflies" in which a twelve-year-old girl is the first victim of the story's murders.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, Shiro and his team are completely sickened when they see Zeon soldiers gun down a mother and her child for leaving their house at night.
    • Zeta Gundam specifically showed an infant body in the gassed colony 30 Bunch, and a mother and infant child are briefly shown dying when the Titans use the Colony Laser to destroy several colonies as a "demonstration".
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED doesn't shy itself from averting the trope either both with the girl that gave the origami flower to Kira being killed in the explosion that Yzak caused when he shot the refugee shuttle in which she was. There's also the shot of a dead mother and her child in the ruins of Junius 7, which either shocked or caused a complete breakdown to the characters who entered the room where these bodies were.
  • This idea is totally destroyed in Neon Genesis Evangelion. By the end of the series EVERYONE is dead (sorta). some 14 year olds have suffered multiple, rather hideous deaths (impaled, eaten alive, impaled some more, then killed).
  • Averted offscreen in Noir, in the Intoccabile episodes, when a Mafia traitor gets questioned by the titular Intoccabile, with his wife and child in the next room to ensure his cooperation... and both get shot due to his hesitation. Also, Mirielle's older brother died when he was a young child in the assassination that killed her parents.
  • Horrifically averted in Now and Then Here and There. The fact that the plot revolves around Child Soldiers in a Crapsack World should give you an indication of what happens.
  • VERY brutally shown in the Space Runaway Ideon movie, when pretty much even the kids perish. Special mention goes to the scene when a little girl is beheaded by a gunshot onscreen. Poor, poor Ashura.
  • In Venus Versus Virus in one arc one of a set of twins gets turned into a Virus. She asks Lucia to kill her so she doesn't harm her brother.
  • In a One Piece flashback, a ship carrying a Celestial Dragon fires on Sabo's boat, killing him. The body was never found, but Word of God confirmed the poor kid's death.
  • In Mai-Otome, Mimi, a young girl who is part of the refugees of Windbloom, dies from her wounds after being attacked by a desert monster.
  • Muhyo and Roji's ghosts are often children, who die of causes such as falling onto a subway train tracks, fires, car accident, or even suicide, or parents who lost their children. The moment of their deaths is often shown in flashbacks.
  • So many times in Barefoot Gen.
  • In Mirai Nikki, Anyone Can Die, even children. The 4 year old Reisuke is killed by Yuno, and later on Yukki's 14 year old friends are all gunned down as well.
    • Although a lot of their ages are ambiguous, and many are too old to count, The 8th's orphanage is slaughtered.
  • The Tsukihime manga featured a chapter when one of the antagonists invades a hotel, using his powers to kill anybody. He passes by a pair of children and it looks like he'll let them live...till his monsters chomp on them too.
  • Hunter X Hunter: This is how the Chimera arc starts, with a pair of sibling coming across the queen who eats both of them.
  • Averted in one of the '"Street Fighter anime movies, where Ryu's kid brother dies.
  • Averted seven ways to Sunday in Franken Fran, where kids die in nasty ways : a little girl gets her head bitten off, a boy from the same chapter is mutated into a monster by a virus and killed by the remaining survivors, another girl from a later chapter is stabbed in the head... Some chapters play it straight, though.
  • Averted harshly in episode 77 of Sonic X. Poor Cosmo
  • Amanuma from Yu Yu Hakusho thought his ability just made games realistic, but Sensui didn't tell him everything that happened in the game would actually happen. He died when Kurama defeated him, since that is what happens to the boss in the game they were playing.

Ballads Edit

 She?s tyed it in her apron

And she?s thrown it in the sea;

Says, Sink ye, swim ye, bonny wee babe!

You?l neer get mair o me.

  • In Tom Lehrer's "Irish Ballad", the heroine kills her entire family, including cutting her baby brother in half and serving him to guests for dinner because she was bored.
  • The title character of the Child Ballad "Long Lankin" (#93) kills a lord's infant son (really very messily) either because the lord didn't pay him for building his castle, or just because he is a serial killer.
  • In the horribly anti-Semitic Child Ballad "Little Sir Hugh" (#55) the protagonist is killed by a "Jew's daughter" and thrown into a well -- this was a fairly recurrent medieval legend (it also appears in The Canterbury Tales).
  • The Child Ballad "Captain Carr" (#178) features the titular captain burning down his enemy's house, killing his wife and children (after a lengthy siege, because the wife is a Badass).
  • Erlkönig is about a farmer riding furiously through the night to get his sick son home. The feverish young boy becomes increasingly distraught, claiming that the Elf King is trying to take him. Whether the Elf King is really there and trying to kidnap the boy or if it's just a fever hallucination is left ambiguous, but by the time the father reaches their home the boy has died.


Comic Books Edit

  • The death of Arthur Jr., Aquaman's infant son during The Seventies, who was killed in issue 60 after he was suffocated by Aquaman's nemesis, Black Manta. Notable in that the death occurred at a time when the Comics Code of Authority's censorship standards were still rather strict.
  • In one issue of The Authority, the villains blow up an entire maternity ward full of babies, failing to get a specific baby that they were too lazy to check was there.
  • In the current Booster Gold series, the bad guys will deal with their foes by smothering them in the cradle. This actually befalls Rex Hunter, and requires Rip Hunter to completely conceal his origin, and Booster Gold to keep and even reinforce his reputation as Fun Personified, because they know they do not have Infant Immortality.
  • In Marvel Comics Captain Mar-Vell series, Genis time-travels to the future and meets his own evil, power-mad son, Ely. To defeat him, Genis time-travels again and murders his son in the cradle.
    • 'Cause raising him not to be evil and power-mad would be too much work?
  • Quite horrifically avoided in the series Crawlspace: XXXombies, when the zombie outbreak hits a maternity ward.
  • The Planetary issue introducing the Big Bads has them disposing of the local-reality analogues of Green Lantern, Superman, and Wonder Woman before they assume their Super Hero identities. Naturally, the Superman analogue is a baby at the time, and is killed entirely offhandedly.
    • And let's NOT go into how Drummer was rescued... Worst. Rescue. Ever. Indeed.
  • In the "One Man's War" one-shot of Preacher (Comic Book), a young girl gets half of her head blown off in the crossfire between special forces operatives and terrorists.
  • Road to Perdition has Connor Looney, the primary villain, killing both Michael O'Sullivan's wife and his younger son. Connor thought that the boy in question was actually the older son, Michael, who had witnessed him and his father gunning down a rival, and did not believe Michael's assurance that his son was a man of honor.
  • In Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge, Libra attempts to coerce the Rogues into joining the Secret Society by holding the Weather Wizard's baby son hostage. The psychotic speedster Inertia, who had been released on Libra's own orders, decides to derail the plan and casually blows the baby up. Shortly thereafter, the Rogues kill him.
  • Ultimate X-Men had a Sentinel incinerating a young mutant mother and her infant.
  • In The Walking Dead's Wham Issue, Rick's baby is among the many casualties. Aside from that, several of the zombies in the background are children.
  • In Watchmen, the Comedian, in a flashback scene, blows away a Vietnamese woman pregnant with his own child.
    • Also, there's Rorschach investigating the case of Blaire, a very young girl who has been abducted... He finds her too late; she has already been murdered and her remains fed to the killer's dogs.
  • Another aversion from Marvel Comics: One of the things that made Magneto from X-Men turn into a psycho would-be world conqueror was the death by fire of his daughter Anya, who was somewhere between the ages of 2 and 5. A group of humans were attempting to beat Magneto, possibly to death, for having extorted his full pay out of a cheating boss with powers he had just manifested that day, while at the same time his daughter was screaming out the window of the second story of an inn on fire. Having just learned he had powers, he couldn't control them well enough to free himself of his attackers and save his daughter until she had burned to death, at which point he went temporarily insane and killed everyone except his wife (everyone on the street, at least, and some sources indicate possibly everyone in the city). This led his wife to run from him in terror. It is possible that the fire at the inn was arson, given the remarkable coincidence of the inn burning down at the same time as the gang attacking him.
  • In Fray, Urkonn the demon Watcher kills a young girl Fray regards as her little sister, to spur her into attacking the vampires.
  • Runaways: Gert dies, becoming one of the first teen superheroes to do so.
  • Sandman has a sequence with Death doing her rounds. One of the people she collects is a young baby, a victim of cot death when its mother leaves the room to warm a bottle for it.
  • This trope is usually averted in Teen Titans, not with the members themselves but by their children. And this usually only happens to the five founding members. Donna Troy's son and stepdaughter were both killed in a car crash, along with their father. Wally West's twin children were aborted in the womb by the second Zoom, although this was undone some issues later and the two are currently alive. Baby Wildebeest also applies, as while he could shift from child to full grown monster, he was still technically a child when Superboy-Prime blew a hole through his torso. Tempest's wife and infant son were both missing since Infinite Crisis, and it was only recently stated the two had been dead since. Finally, Roy Harper's daughter Lian, the very first Titan child, was crushed to death in Cry for Justice during the destruction of Star City.
  • In The Walking Dead Lori and her newborn daughter Judith are shot in the back with a shotgun.
  • Punisher villain General Zakharov. It's revealed in a flashback that in order to draw an enemy force out of hiding, Zakharov THREW A BABY OFF A CLIFF.

Film Edit

  • Averted hard in The Hunger Games - both the film and novels. The entire premise hinges on twelve to eighteen year old kids brutally killing one another.
  • 28 Days Later has children among the many discarded bodies around the manor house- presumably Infected- and we see quite clearly a dead infant in the arms of its mother with a pacifier in its mouth, part of a multi-generational dead family. There's also an attack by a preteen boy Infected.
    • Of course, the sequel plays this completely straight, as this trope is the only reason that makes any sense to explain why the two child stars (actually explicitly stated to be the only children in Britain) are the only ones to survive the entire movie.
      • You forgot the child in the very beginning of the movie. He escaped his Infected parents, but it's pretty much implied he's dead as the Infected burst into the farm and killed everyone but Don and Alice.
  • Alien vs. Predator: Requiem really goes against the trope. A father and his son have gone into the woods, where facehuggers give them both a Face Full of Alien Wingwong. Later, the predalien finds its way into a maternity ward, where it impregnates a pregnant mother and several babies with soon-to-be chestbursters. The resulting bodies are partially seen later on in the movie.
  • The 2011 adaptation of The Whisperer In Darkness brutally averts this trope with Hannah, the little girl whose father shoots himself (in front of her, no less). Wilmarth really, really tries to save her (since she even reminded him of his own dead daughter), but after she bravely throws a gas cylinder from a plane into a Mi-Go's face (?), another one simply picks her out of the cockpit and drops her to her death. This marks the point where Wilmarth decides to kill himself by crashing the plane into the Mi-Go portal... What? It's Lovecraft. You weren't expecting a happy ending.
  • The original John Carpenter directed Assault on Precinct 13 was considered quite violent for its time (1976), mainly because of the scene that triggers the plot. A young girl walks up to an ice cream truck just as a gang leader kills the driver for not paying protection money. In any other movie, she would have gotten away and become the MacGuffin of the story. Instead, the gang leader shoots her through the heart right on camera. Her father witnesses the act, kills the gang leader, and he becomes the MacGuffin.
    • It is also worthy of note that the ice cream truck scene plays out like a very black comedy.
  • In the original Dawn of the Dead, two zombie children attack one of the police officers as the party tries to refuel their helicopter. Both are shot at point-blank range.
  • In the 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead 2004, a zombie baby is born. Anna has to put it down. In the Edited for Syndication version, there's a lingering shot of the baby's unnatural eyes looking innocently up at Anna before Anna does what must be done to zombies.
    • In the beginning of the film, it is a very young child that attacks the main character and her husband in their bedroom. Even Romero averted this trope in the 1969 Night of the Living Dead, where the young Cooper girl is in the basement, ill. She eventually turns into a zombie and kills her own mother using a spade, which is shown by silhouette.
  • The adorable almost-five Jess is killed off in a car crash just a few minutes into The Descent, traumatizing her mother for the rest of the film.
  • Averted brutally in Die Hard 2, where the main villain actually crashes an airplane full of people by giving wrong landing instructions. Before the plane crashes, we see a little girl playing with a little doll, and after it crashes, we see McClane (the hero) walking through the wrecked airplane and soon finding the half-burnt doll. It is later stated nobody in that plane made it out of there alive, adding insult to the injury.
  • Averted horribly in Dinocroc when the monster eats the protagonist's 12-year-old brother, leaving nothing behind but his head.
  • In Dogville, everyone dies. Seriously. Grace's gangsters lay waste to the town, opening fire on a number of children and firing into a baby basket. However, Grace stops them from killing the Dogville dog, because a dumb animal hasn't the capacity for evil that the townspeople showed. Besides, he was only mean to her because she took his food.
    • " Wait, one of children, the oldest, his name's Jason. Kill him first. Tell his mother if she can hold back her tears you won't kill any more." Damn.
    • Which was revenge for the mother having destroyed all Grace's possessions and told her if she could hold back her tears she wouldn't smash any more.... which either makes it less or much more horrifying.
      • The dolls Vera destroyed symbolized Grace's contributions to the village (literally: She spent all the money she earned from the townsfolk on them), and, thus, her acceptance among the townspeople. I'm just saying...
  • One part in Bram Stokers Dracula has Dracula give his brides an infant and they carry it off, presumably to feed on it.
  • Averted yet again in Feast. A bio for each character is shown on the screen, including life expectancy (most of which are wrong). Cody's bio says he's got a long, happy life ahead of him. He doesn't.
    • Broken rather spectacularly twice in Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds. In the opening scene of the film Biker Queen, one of the protagonists of the film, kills a dog with a shotgun, and the camera lingers on the dog's mostly blown apart corpse. Later in the film, another character, Greg Swank, heroically attempts to save an infant from imminent doom. Regretfully, he is unable to save the baby, and, in fact, throws the infant into the air as a distraction, at which point the infant strikes the asphalt and is summarily devoured by monsters.
  • Drag Me to Hell averted this trope in three minutes with the kid who was...well, you can probably guess.
  • From Final Destination:

 [Alex sees a crying baby upon boarding the plane]

George: That's a good sign. Younger, the better. It'd be a fucked up God to take down this plane.

[they see a mental patient in the front row]

George: A 'really' fucked up God.

  • The B-horror movie Flesh Eating Mothers averts this. The titular mothers are turned into cannibals, and one mother eats a character's baby brother.
  • For a Few Dollars More: Indio invades an enemy's house, and asks his companions to kill the guy's wife and baby outside (off-screen, of course). He shoots the guy later.
  • The beginning of Freddy vs. Jason has Freddy (himself a former child rapist and killer, whose victims now consist primarily of teens) murdering a little girl offscreen. What is presumably her spirit shows up later in the Dream World, missing eyes. In Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, Freddy also wiped out every single non-adult in Springwood.
  • The 1954 film Gojira features a scene which shows a mother comforting her two children during Godzilla's rampage in Tokyo. It's heavily implied that they were killed by the titular monster.
    • Likewise, the extremely unnerving scene where two soldiers use a Geiger counter on the body of a little girl...and it goes berserk.
  • Sergio Leone obviously liked averting this trope. At the beginning of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Lee Van Cleef's character shoots a man he was paid to kill, then shoots his young son, who was rushing down the stairs with a rifle to investigate. True to this trope, however, the younger son does survive.
    • He only killed the elder son because the kid would have shot him. Angel Eyes may be a bastard, but he doesn't kill just for fun.
    • Henry Fonda's character Frank from Once Upon a Time in the West establishes himself as a Complete Monster by murdering Jill's entire family in his introduction scene, including a little boy.
      • Not only that, but he saves the little boy for last (though it might be just because the kid happened to be inside at the time, and only came out after the others were killed). Also while the others were sniped from a distance, Frank goes right up to the boy, and smiles as he pulls out his gun.
  • Averted hardcore in Halloween III, where the aim of the Big Bad is killing America's children with Halloween masks.
  • The Happening plays this straight and subverts it rather horribly. The little girl (around 10 or so) with the protagonists (and the protagonists themselves, so Plot Armor might be more appropriate) lives through the entire film. The two slightly older kids they pick up halfway through the film, get themselves killed when they harass some people who have barricaded themselves inside their home. They get a rather brutal treatment, too. The first kid takes a buckshot blast point blank in the chest, and you get to see it come out his back. The second thankfully gets a Gory Discretion Shot when he gets the same treatment to the head, but we're treated to the wound afterward.
  • The Host
  • The entire plot to In Bruges is driven by the fact that Colin Farrell's character accidentally shot a five-year old.
  • The shark in Jaws averts this twice in a single scene. The first victim is a dog, which disappears after chasing a thrown stick into the ocean. Mere moments later, a young boy on a raft is gruesomely devoured on-screen.
  • Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: A bunch of abandoned children in a desert outpost. What could possibly happen? Swallowed up by sand, for one.
  • In Mimic, the two kids are horribly slaughtered.
  • In Omen III: The Final Conflict new ambassador Damien Thorn orders all newborns in the area killed in the hopes that the newly born Christ will be among those murdered; we're shown baby after baby being killed, with one actually being hit by a car after its carriage is knocked into traffic.
  • Can anyone say Pan's Labyrinth? Not only does the heroine get shot at the end, the Pale Man's lair is decorated with paintings of him killing and eating babies.
    • It does partially play the trope straight, with Ofelia's little brother surviving.
  • Pay It Forward: Everything's more fine and dandy with the world thanks to young Trevor, the main character, until he dies in a car crash.
  • In Planet Terror a mother hands her son a gun, instructing him to use it in case his father shows up. Being the curious little bugger that he is, the kid blasts his own face off in five seconds flat.
  • In Uwe Boll's film adaptation of Postal, there is a particular shootout scene where the camera focuses on only the ridiculous number of children being shot. Later the replacement TV reporter, whilst gloating over her predecessor's death, is standing in essentially a massive pile of dead, at least a good 30 of them were under 15.
    • Plus one scene involving a baby stroller hit by a vehicle, sending the kid flying.
    • The "cat silencer" game mechanic from Postal 2 is also copied by putting a gun up a cat's butt to use it as a pistol silencer. Though for some odd reason, the cat walks away unharmed after several shots.
  • In one of the most disturbing scenes ever, in Rambo 4 there's a sequence where Government soldiers attack a rebel village, and kill EVERYONE. Young kids are bayoneted, infants are beaten with blunt objects, and a baby is taken from its mother and thrown into a fire, and the remains are gunned down with heavy machine gun rounds. Which makes it all the better when Rambo manages to get a hold of the ones responsible.
  • Resident Evil Apocalypse. The characters enter an elementary school. One doesn't survive when -child- zombies pounce her.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's Sabotage features a scene where a young boy is given a package to deliver, which is really a bomb. He dwadles en route, and it goes off, killing him and several other people on a bus. Hitchcock later said he regretted doing the scene this way, although it might have still been an example of this trope.
  • Schindler's List the girl in the pink coat. Though justified because of the subject matter.
    • There is also a scene where a truckload of children are taken away from their parents; it's implied that they are killed.
    • Doesn't change how powerful off an effect it is, for both the character and the audience.
  • The Sixth Sense: Among the dead people seen is a preteen girl poisoned to death by her mother.
  • In Sleepy Hollow, Lady Van Tassel has the Headless Horseman massacre the Killian family, including the young son because she overheard the young wife speaking of a certain "inheritance." Of course, before the boy's time comes, he gets to see the severed head of his mother stare at him. Tim Burton has gone on record to state he disagrees with the trope.
  • In the exploitation film SS Hell Camp, Nazi soldiers have no problem snatching babies out of their mothers' arms and tossing them in the air for target practice.
  • Edgy variant: In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Anakin aka soon-to-be Darth Vader steps into a room full of kindergarten-aged Jedi with his lightsaber. After the cutscene, there are no more Jedi. You do the math. The movie manages to Never Say "Die" around the issue to soften the potential impact, with such Unusual Euphemisms as "Younglings," (although the novel adaptation explains this is a catch-all term for young members of any species, so it incorporates children, pups, kittens, etc; also, the word is used in the same context in Episode II). The word kill certainly comes up anyway.
    • I'll never look at a sunflower the same way.
    • And the population of Alderaan in Ep IV probably weren't all grown up.
    • Though the only two babies seen on-screen in the entire trilogy are also the only two characters shown in Episode 3 who survive to the end of Episode 6 (not counting Chewbacca).
  • The scene in Titanic immediately after the sinking of the titular ship shows, among the frozen bodies floating in the ocean, a dead woman still cradling her frozen infant.
    • A Night to Remember had a moment towards the end where a little boy is seen looking for his mother. An elderly waiter tries to comfort him, but it is only a few minutes later that the ship finally sinks into the ocean, and its implied that both either drown or freeze to death.
      • There was also a later scene where two of the Irish steerage passengers show up at an overturned longboat with a child. One of the officers looks under the child's hood, realizes its dead and sets it adrift.
  • Low-grade monster movies, such as the remake of The Blob, tend to avert this trope with glee, killing young children to show how Badass their monsters are. Lampshaded in Feast, where a timid boy is introduced with the captioned advantage "Fits into small spaces", a common rationale for this trope in film ... but the "small space" he fits into turns out to be a monster's gullet.
  • Logically averted in The Element of Crime, since the movie is about a child killer, yet we still manage to get unexpected infant deaths.
  • Trainspotting has a drawn out, closeup shot of baby Dawn lying dead in her crib, having been neglected by her junkie mother and starving to death.
  • Subverted in Serenity: the Operative is not above to killing children, as he flat out informs Mal. As proof of this, when the characters arrive at Haven, Kaylee (the crew's most soft-hearted member) comes across a dead little boy about 10 years old (one whom she was briefly seen interacting with affectionately, earlier in the film). Note that the Operative is aware that this is his Moral Event Horizon, but argues these deeds as being Necessary Evil.
  • Averted to Tear Jerker extent in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. The first scene features a large group of accused pirates/accomplices being hanged--including a ten-year old boy, who has to stand on a barrel in order to be at noose height (which means a short drop, causing at least a few seconds of agony, at worst a lot more). If you didn't think Beckett had hit Moral Event Horizon before...
  • In Enemy at the Gates, Sacha, the Russian tween who's been reporting German positions to Soviet snipers during the siege of Stalingrad, is hanged by Major Koenig to bring rival sniper Zaitsev out of hiding.
  • In The Professional, her little brother's murder (onscreen, but not clearly shown) is the reason Mathilda hires Lèon to kill the men responsible.
  • In Warlock, the titular villain strikes up a conversation with a young boy when he learns his family aren't church-goers. In the next scene, the heroes come across two constables and a grieving mother, staring at the boy's off-screen body and assuming coyotes must have skinned him.

 REDFERNE: There's only one reason he'd need the fat of an unbaptized male child.

KASSANDRA: Why?

REDFERNE: Flying potion.

  • Funny Games averts this trope hard. The family dog is the first to go, and next to die is the son. Both die in pretty brutal ways too.
  • The turning point in King Vidor's silent classic The Crowd comes when the protagonist's little daughter is run over and killed by a truck.
  • Averted in Alligator when on a dare, a kid jumps off the diving board of his backyard swimming pool at night while the alligator is momentarily staying in it. He realizes at the last moment what is happening and tries to step back, but his friends push him in anyway because they didn't see it and think he chickened out.
  • In For Colored Girls, Crystal's two young children are killed by their father because his PTSD-fueled delusions have led him to believe that the children aren't his and that this was the reason why Crystal refuses to marry him. he drops them from the sixth-floor of their apartment building
  • In Alien S, Newt's brother is said to have died before the Colonial Marines reach the planet. In Alien 3, not only does Newt die in the very beginning, we get to see the autopsy.
  • Viciously averted in Uwe Boll's Darfur No one is safe from the Janjaweed, children get killed just as often as adults, and at one point a baby is impaled on a wooden spike, and it's shown in full detail What makes this even more heartbreaking is that it's Truth in Television.
  • In Downfall Frau Goebbels personally poisons her six children to "save" them from a world without Naziism. Also a real life example.
    • The (admittedly somewhat older) Hitler Youth carrying the battle on the streets don't fare too well either, though it's implied that one (who left his post) survived.
  • In some versions of Superman II, there is the infamous "He was just a boy!" "He will never be a man." scene.
  • The otherwise forgettable Beware! Children at Play ends with a five-minute sequence of an angry mob murdering the feral children.
  • Heroic Trio
  • Creation, causes Heroic BSOD for Charles Darwin.
  • Averted with a vengeance in the Anvilicious 1970s western Soldier Blue. The finale features several young Native American children (along with everyone else in the village) brutally murdered by crazed U.S. Calvary soldiers. Children are graphically shot, stabbed and trampled by horses all while the soldiers cheer on their own actions.
  • Averted horrifically (though off-camera) in Session 9.
  • Piranha 3D ends with a mutated piranha that can crawl on land decapitating a young boy taking photographs of it. Director John Gulager says he received multiple petitions to not include this scene in the film.


Literature Edit

  • In Raymond E. Feist's Serpentwar series, a squad of reformed criminals located a creche containing the eggs of a race of evil humanoid snakemen, and destroyed every last one, dooming the race to extinction. Justified by the fact that all snakemen are inherently evil from the moment they hatched, demonstrated when one hatched while the squad was busy.
    • Also during the Serpentwar, a magic-wielding protagonist on a scouting mission, discovers a village attacked by deserters from the Big Bad's army, including a hut containing only small, charred corpses. In a Crowning Moment Of Badass, she took down several trained soldiers, WITHOUT using magic.
  • Nor, would it appear, is there in Literature. Young Tad Trenton dies in Stephen King's novel Cujo... but survives in the Film, of course. King also kills off toddler Gage Creed in Pet Sematary (this death, crucial to plot, also happens in the movie version).
    • All of the above is topped by his novel IT, where there is a monster that specifically targets children.
    • In Under the Dome, supporting characters are killed off left and right; adults, children, dogs equally.
    • Also, there's the little girl in The Langoliers.
      • It's safe to say that Stephen King casually crushes this trope under his boot he starts writing.
  • Guy Gavriel Kay's The Lions of Al-Rassan has a particularly nasty example during an unsanctioned Jaddite raid near the beginning of the book.
  • And in another Older Than Feudalism entry, The Bible features, among other acts of evil, the killings of firstborn children ordered by Pharaoh and King Herod in order to try to prevent both Moses and Jesus from growing up to cause trouble, and God himself killing all of the Egyptians' firstborn children, and the firstborn calves as well.
    • When the words Molech/Baal-Hammon, Astarte/Astarthe/Astaroth/Ashtoreth, the Valley of Ben-Hinnom/Gehenna, the Ammonites/Amorites, the Canaanites, etc. are mentioned, these are specifically referencing the sacrifices of children, born and unborn, to the gods of some of the cultures of the time. Sometimes the Jewish people (such as Kings Solomon, Achaz, and Manasses) messed up and took on this practice as well, despite God calling such a practice an abomination, and demanding the death of those who did such things. Those people ended up in a lot of trouble. It's the whole reason that Gehenna came to be the Jewish word for Tartarus/Hell (which is different from Sheol/Hades/Purgatory).
    • In 2 Maccabees, when the Jewish people rebelled against the corrupt high priest Jason, who had been appointed by King Antiochus IV, and ran him out of town, the king left Egypt for Jerusalem. Once in Jerusalem, he massacred many, young and old, women and children, virgins and infants. In 1 and 2 Maccabees (2 Maccabees is not a "sequel', it's another viewpoint of what happened in the the first book), King Antiochus IV then decreed that everyone take up the customs of everyone else, except the Jewish customs. He outlawed all Jewish customs, including circumcision. The children who were circumcized were killed, as were their mothers and whoever performed the circumcision.
  • As has been mentioned, literature is much less uncomfortable about killing children. Sometimes, but not always, this carries over to adaptions. Take for example the animated movie version of Roald Dahl's The BFG, wherein we see into a boys dream and are allowed to at least on some level "bond" with this kid only for him to be very heavily implied to have been eaten. Oh, and when Sophie and The BFG discuss the other Giants' plans to eat some school children it is acknowledged to have happened.
    • Dahl seemed to be fairly fond of averting this trope. He did it a lot in The Witches too, having the main character's grandmother regale him with stories of kids who turned to stone, were transmogrified into slugs and killed by their parents, trapped in pictures, etc.
  • In the Anne Rice series, it's generally frowned upon to turn a human into a vampire who hasn't lived to adulthood, but Lestat, that Loveable Rogue, turns Claudia who was, maybe, seven at the time. This results in an eventual Break the Cutie, turning her into a bitter creature who has a mature woman's mind but is trapped in a child's body.
  • Lord of the Flies. The children kill each other.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire, notable in that baby-killing isn't seen as exceptionally dramatic or vile, because the world is already saturated with evil. Though it is cited as one of the more notorious of Gregor Clegane's many, many, many horrible acts.
    • There's also the Unsullied, who have to kill babies as part of their training.
  • The title character in the novel version of Dracula had no compunction feeding a baby to his three vampire wives. Then the baby's mother to a pack of wolves. And one of his victims, Lucy Westenra, gains a reputation for preying on children.
  • In Nancy A. Collins' Sunglasses After Dark series, Sonja comes across an ogre who is in the process of lowering a baby into his maw. He would've been successful in eating the baby if she'd been two minutes slower.

  Sonja: Uh-uh. No veal for you.

  • Averted in the Left Behind Kids' Series, of all things. Of the original four kids, ranging from ages 18 to 12, the youngest is the first to go. Rather violently.
  • In Samantha Stone and the Mermaid's Quest, a large group of girls, aged 8 to 12, are all kidnapped in an attempt to find the heroine, 10-year-old Samantha Stone. When each one is shown to the main villain, one by one, he orders their execution when he discovers the girl is not Samantha. Which actually gets carried out in one case. Yup, a children's book where a child is executed.
  • In the Russian book Secret of a Black Stone by Kir Bulychev, child protagonist Alice investigates kidnapping of 84 children. Turns out they were kidnapped to be used as child soldiers. While no children are shown dying and Alice, being drafted as a child soldier as well, is rescued seconds before the planned execution, the number count in the end clearly shows that some of the kidnapped children died. Also Alice befriends a child kidnapped from another planet, and he tells that out of 30+ children kidnapped with him, only 8 or so are alive now.
  • In Coraline the heroine discovers ghosts of children previously taken by Other Mother. And the only thing she can do is liberate their spirits so they rest in peace...
  • American Gods: Hinzelmann.
  • In the Guardian of Swords series by Nick Perumov, Dark Magical Girl Sylvia, being in a city overrun with monsters, hears a plea for help, coming from a 6-year old girl. She rushes in, but cannot save the girl anymore. This sets Sylvia in a deep rage. Cue one big Crowning Moment of Awesome where Sylvia invites all monsters in a city to feast on her, and when they really come proceeds to hack them all in pieces with her sword. She single-handedly defeats a monster army capable of overrunning dozens of local wizards.
  • Though Jason never kills any kids in the movies, he does it quite a bit in the Friday the 13th books. Jason kicks and stomps a baby and two toddlers to death in Friday the 13th: Jason's Curse. Friday the 13th: The Carnival has kids being mangled and fried when the carnival rides go haywire and fires break out. Friday the 13th: Hate-Kill-Repeat had Jason attacking a family of campers, killing them all, including the little boy and baby girl. A zombie baby shows up in Friday the 13th: The Jason Strain. Finally, Friday the 13th: Carnival of Maniacs, after Jason's rampage in the titular carnival, a dead father is found holding his son's body in his arms.
  • In Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece The Road, the two main characters come upon a campfire abandoned by cannibals. A baby has been left roasting on a spit.
    • The man had seen a pregnant woman and a few other men passing by a few days before, too.
  • In Erich Maria Remarque's novel A Time to Live and a Time to Die (set during World War II) the protagonist is on the streets of a German city during an air raid, and sees a five-year-old girl with an infant. Then a bomb hits the place; when the explosion is over, the girl is dead, and the baby has disappeared.
  • Anyone Can Die in Warrior Cats, so this trope is completely averted. Throughout the course of the series, we have seen kits carried off by hawks, starved to death, and fallen into crevasses. And that's just onscreen! Offscreen we have kits and apprentices mauled by dogs, frozen to death in winter, killed by diseases, hit by cars, and at one point the Big Bad brutally murders an apprentice from another Clan whom the protagonist had saved earlier, just to spite him.
  • Brutally averted in Hannibal Rising, where the plot revolves around Hannibal seeking revenge on the Nazis who killed and ate his sister.
  • Averted in The Silmarillion: Dior's young sons are abandoned in a forest and it's strongly implied that they die there.
  • The ogre-like titular monster from Clive Barker's Rawhead Rex devours a young boy alive, as well as dismembering and eating a little girl's riding pony. Much of the story is told from Rex's point of view, so although no infants are killed, the creature reminisces at length about eating them.
  • In American Psycho, serial killer Patrick Bateman stabs a little boy to death in a zoo, just to see if he'd enjoy it. He doesn't (not because of guilt).
  • Subverted and averted to hell and back in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton.
    • It starts strong in the second novel The Laughing Corpse where part of the plot deals with a flesh eating zombie that consumed an entire family, but having failed to find the body of one of the children ,an infant, it is assumed he is still alive. The assumption proves to be false in a very gruesome way..
    • In the fifth novel Bloody Bones the criminal investigations concern gruesomely murdered teenagers, as well as a teenager turned vampire that burns to death at the end and her brother whom the main characters fail to rescue and have to watch die.
    • The ninth novel Obsidian Butterfly takes the cake it has whole families, including children of all ages, gruesomely murdered, having their skins completely removed and reanimated as zombies, a pair of children, a 6 year old girl and 10 year old boy, kidnapped, tortured and raped by the bad guys, and the Crowning Moment of Gruesome -- one of the previously mentioned skinless zombies getting loose in the maternity ward and eating several (like 20) newborns before the main character puts him or her down..
    • The twelfth novel Incubus Dreams gives the readers several back stories, including a high school couple raped and murdered in such a gruesome way that the parents still haven't found closure after 3 years, and one of the lovers of the main character that witnessed at ten the death of his prepubescent brother at the hands of their father.
  • Shakespeare's Macbeth: Macduff's wife and children are murdered -- including a son, who is murdered on-stage.
  • Redwall has gone into this territory several times, all of them being killed by vermin. There are at least four instances: 1) In The Long Patrol, where one of the characters is shown a vermin blade that's been notched for every kill. The shallower notches are for creatures who couldn't fight back, such as women and children. 2) Taggerung, where a vermin character causes a landslide that kills a family of dormice so that he could get their food. 3) Doomwyte, though this one was done by a snake, the infant in question was a tree rat, and it was a Karmic Death. After the tree rat ran away from a fight it ran into a snake and got eaten. 4) The Sable Quean, where a young otter is stabbed in the neck with a poisoned knife and dies shortly afterwards.
  • His Dark Materials brutally averts this trope despite the broad writing style. The first book involves a full segment in the perspective of a child character, who is introduced and given a name and backstory exactly for the audience to be shocked when he suffers a Fate Worse Than Death, which leads to actual death soon enough. The end of the book proper features the death of the protagonist's best friend (a boy about 10-12) as being plot relevant. No other deaths are featured later, but the Magisterium are nonetheless unhesitant in sending an assassin to kill children later on.
  • Being only lightly fictionalized, averted in the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Although the death of Laura's baby brother occurs off-screen and is never mentioned, we do see the death by SIDS of her first son. And her subsequent depression was so crippling that she failed to react in time to an over-burning pot and their house burned down. Wasn't the Old West romantic?
  • In Gone with the Wind, not only does Scarlett miscarry, her daughter Bonnie is killed in a riding accident. These two incidents put the nail in the coffin of Scarlett and Rhett's marriage.
  • In The Mortal Instruments books, all the teenage protagonists survive the final battle.... but the cute, manga-reading little brother who wasn't allowed to fight is brutally murdered.
  • In The Inverted World, during an attack on the City, the creche where the children are raised gets set on fire. Many children die, including the protagonist's infant son.
  • Averted in one of the Discworld novels. Granny Weatherwax is acting as a midwife in a...difficult birth, and realizes she can only save either the baby or the mother. She chooses to save the mother, because she is otherwise able-bodied, and doing otherwise would leave the husband to take care of the child alone. Another character tells Granny she should have let the husband make the choice, and she asks in return what the man has ever done to her that she should hurt him so.
  • In the Warcraft novel, Arthas, Jaina Proudmoore, the tile characters on-again, off-again Love Interest, suggests that undead Plauge might not effect kids the same as adults. It was then defied by Arthas, who made it clear that he was going to kill every last person in Stratholme - adults and children alike. Luckily, we never see THAT ugly tidbit in the games.
  • In Eon, the infant future emperor is publicly executed by sword to ensure all other lines of power are wiped out.
  • Can YOU Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? averts the trope hard - an entire elementary school's worth of children can die, and you run into many child zombies.
  • Percy Jackson and The Olympians averts this trope by having Bianca di Angelo die at the age of twelve. The rest of the deaths were teenagers and adults, not counting the off screen deaths.
  • In Anne's House of Dreams, Anne's firstborn child dies the day it's born.


Live Action TV Edit

  • Often averted on daytime soaps.
    • All My Children killed off infant Leora (heart defect) in 2003 and Donna's baby (fire) in the early 80's, as well as Gloria's premature infant Anna Claire (one of the saddest daytime scenes EVER), and most notably, Brooke's 6-year daughter Laura was killed by a drunk driver.
    • One of General Hospital's most famous storylines involved BJ Jones being killed in a car accident and her heart being given to her dying cousin Maxie.
    • Several soaps (As the World Turns, One Life to Live, The Bold And The Beautiful) have featured characters being within weeks of delivery a healthy baby, only for tragedy to strike -- car accident, premature labor -- resulting in the baby's stillbirth.
    • Even more disturbing is that the likelihood of this often seems to be inversely proportional to the mother's or couple's feelings about the pregnancy -- if she's happy about it and looking forward to motherhood, odds are, the child is doomed. If she's miserable and/or the child was conceived under dicey circumstances, such as an affair, the kid will make it.
  • The first death in The Day After is that of a young girl in a red dress who is afraid to take shelter in the basement of a Kansas City office building. She's reassured by a guard, but shortly after the first bomb drops on the outskirts of the city she's trampled by a panicked crowd. Seconds later, dozens of children are vaporized when bombs fall on Kansas City and Whiteman AFB, including Airman McCoy's infant child and an entire class of preteens.
  • House averts this by having a newborn baby die in the episode "Maternity."
    • 'Forever' has mentally unstable Patient murder her child on-screen.
    • Medical dramas in general tend to avert this trope, and to milk it for all the heart-rending tears it's worth when they do.
  • Heroes: Averted with the onscreen death of future-Sylar's child, Noah - though this may be a case of All the Myriad Ways.
    • He also seemed to have very little blood on him. For a show not shy about its gore, you'd think having a grown man and some furniture tossed onto him would result in a little more than just Blood From the Mouth.
      • He may very well have been knocked out cold, and Sylar didn't know it. Of course, if the furniture didn't kill him, the nuclear explosion did.
      • With all that weight on him, the kid most likely suffocated while unconscious.
  • Trip and T'Pol's daughter, cloned from their tissue, does not survive in Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • A baby was killed by a disguised Cylon in the pilot for the new Battlestar Galactica; this is one the few -- perhaps the only -- infant murders ever shown on TV. It happened again in the second season opener, where Commander Adama (leader of the humans) drowns a baby in Baltar's dream sequence on Kobol. The baby-killing on this show is starting to worry this editor.
    • Though that scene in the pilot was quite ambiguous, with specific directions to the actress playing the Cylon to make it so. Was it just a murder, was it a mercy killing so the baby wouldn't have to go through the nuclear holocaust that would be released in a few hours, or was it an accident with the Cylon not realizing how fragile a human baby would be?
    • The death of Cami, the girl from botanical cruiser in the Miniseries is a clear aversion. And we basically see it onscreen!
    • And there are, of course, the offscreen deaths of 99% of all children in the Colonies. That's billions.
    • In The Plan, Cavil coldbloodedly stabs a small child who repeatedly tried to sneak in to his chapel and befriend him. What makes it so chilling is that the kid has been seeking refuge there for the length of the movie. In the end, Cavil seems to give in, sharing his food and learning that they both have the same first name. The whole scene is leading up to a Pet the Dog moment until he kills him and casually dumps his body to the side.
  • Little House On the Prairie, in an effort to be true to the infant mortality rates of the harsh frontier, is another show that did not adhere to this trope. Babies died on several occasions on this show.
    • Wilder's first son Charles Jr. dies of leukemia before he even turns a year old.
    • When the school for the blind Mary and her husband run is on fire they two are able to get all the students out only to realize their baby and another woman are trapped inside. They are then forced to watch helplessly as the woman and baby appear at a high window unable to escape and plead for help until they are both overtaken by the flames. (All of this happens onscreen and is quite unsettling)
    • Laura and Almanzo's unnamed son dies during the night after becoming ill a few days before. (It is now believed that he was conceived to soon after Laura recovered for diphtheria later causing his illness and death.)
  • In an episode of CSI, one of the victims is a baby. This then proceeds to move Grissom so much that he gets quite angry at Greg Sanders for working on a gang-related case which happened earlier in the week.
  • Played to the hilt in CSI: Miami, when the sole survivors of a murdered family are the murderer playing his wife's postpartum stress as the cause, and a toddler who wandered away from the crime scene in a blood stained shirt.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, vampires never hesitated to kill or turn children and babies, though naturally this never occurred on-screen. Darla discovers the effect of Angel's soul when he refuses to drink from a baby. Spike, after becoming unable to hurt humans but before becoming ensouled, tells Dawn a story of slaughtering a family, leading up to his discovering the baby in the coal bin, but he quickly revises this story when Buffy arrives, to her evident skepticism.
    • And in the episode "Band Candy," the Mayor orders his minions to steal babies as a tribute (Read: Lunch) to one of the demons he owes a debt to. Guess who the Big Bad of the season turned out to be?
    • In "Triangle", Olaf the troll requests babies to eat. Nobody actually grants this request though, nor does he ever get any babies to eat.
    • In an early season 3 episode of Angel, one type of demon is said to prefer babies.
    • In the season 8 (comic) Faith discovers that a mother was turned with all of her children - and Faith has to stake those children, as well! (though we only see "paff" and not the moment of impalement.
    • We do see Buffy's cousin Celia being killed by Der Kindestod in detail in "Killed By Death" in a flashback.
    • Also, Wes once dreamed about baby Connor being fatally bitten by Angel.
    • In "The I in Team", Adam skewers and dissects a small boy. We only hear about it on the news, however.
    • The flashback of Holtz who finds that Angel (going by Angelus at the time) killed his wife and turned his daughter. Holtz grimly forces her out into the sunlight where she burns to death. The scene of the mother being killed also cuts away after the sound of a baby crying is heard and Darla is seen looking hungrily at the cradle.
    • In "Lie to Me" it looks like Drusilla is about to chow down on a young boy, but Angel shows up in time to rescue him.
  • Doctor Who: The episode School Reunion opens with a child being eaten.
    • In "The Stolen Earth" we see a family of three, with a child about ten years old, retreat back to their house after being ordered out by the Daleks. And then the Daleks blow up the whole house.
    • In "Survival, the Doctor pursues the predatory Cheetah People to Earth. The first person he meets is a little girl in tears because someone has killed her cat.
  • The villain in the Torchwood episode "Sleeper" had no problem killing babies. Two infants in prams were strongly hinted to have died in unfortunate manners, though they stop short of showing it.
    • Children of Earth. Three children get killed, and many more are placed in great danger. Several suffer a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures: A child Slitheen shows up in two human disguises. So two human boys were killed and skinned.
    • The Day of the Clown, which states that all the kidnapped children that weren't taken recently by Odd Bob "fade[d] away".
  • An episode of the original Dragnet regarded two parents who were so high on drugs that they forgot they put their baby in the bathtub. Whoops.
  • This was is what sent Hawkeye over the edge in the MASH Grand Finale, the fact that a mother had to smother her child because he told her that she had to keep it quiet. We only see the head fall back but it's obvious the baby is dead. Hawkeye had been so traumatized by the incident that at first he steadfastly remembered the infant being a chicken, until Sydney Freedman was able to draw the truth out of him as the big heartbreaking reveal.
  • Claire and Russell's baby died on Promised Land, which was unusual because it was a "family" show, with the characters actually looking forward to the birth.
  • In Frank Herbert's Dune miniseries, Paul Maud'dib's baby son is killed in a Sardaukar raid. The scene shows a soldier advancing towards the baby with a knife, then jumps to another scene with a yelp from the baby in the background.
  • Very averted: Nearly the entire arc of the fourth season of The Shield surrounds the Strike Team trying to help Shane after a vicious gangster executes a young girl and frames him for it.
  • In Deadwood, Stubs and "The Nigga general" lose control of a wild horse they were trying to castrate. It runs through the camp and caves in the chest of the sheriff's nephew, who he was raising as his son with his sister-in-law who was living as his wife.
  • Farscape episode "Different Destinations" ends with the mass murder of an entire nunnery, including the eight-year-old novices.
    • And in "Prayer," a Scarran officer aboard a research vessel disposed of a test subject's unborn child by using his heat-projection to fry it alive inside the womb. And the holographic display also shows the fetus writhing and shrivelling in the heat.
    • However as the mother was a mole hopefully they faked it to scare aeryn. Hopefully. She got what's coming either way.
  • Charmed: Unlike Piper's unborn son (see above), Phoebe's actually-not-her-child has no such luck: he is burned alive when the Charmed Ones reflect his power back at the Seer, in whose womb he is currently residing. Apparently this Trope doesn't apply if you're the Spawn of Satan.
  • Played straight in one episode of Legend of the Seeker, and conspicuously averted in another. In the first case, a male Confessor is born, who by Confessor law has to be put to death, but Richard stops them in the end. In the second case, the episode opens with kids playing hide and seek, with one finding a mysterious object, and the scene cuts away when it opens. A little later, the heroes show up in the village, and find everyone dead, including the kids.
  • In I, Claudius, during the purge in Tiberius's reign, both Sejanus' son and daughter were killed, both under age. The boy was given his 'manly gown' and the girl was raped before being killed as killing a virgin would bring bad luck to the city.
    • Furthmore, Gemellus, aged perhaps twelve or thirteen, is murdered and decapitated offscreen, his head brought to Caligula as evidence and Caligula's infant daughter Drusilla is murdered in her cradle along with her mother. There are still more child deaths in the book. All in all, thoroughly averted.
  • Babylon 5's Believers ( An alien boy is killed by his parents at the end because they believe a surgical operation has caused his soul to leave his body.) and Confessions and Lamentations ( 99% of an alien race dies of a plague, including a prominently featured girl).
  • At least two children are killed during the series run of The Wire.
  • Like the the novels it was based on, the world of A Game of Thrones is very dark and gritty, and Anyone Can Die. To drive this home, a child of perhaps 7 or 8 years is shown impaled on a tree, along with the dismembered remains of her family group, within the first two minutes of the pilot. She is unlikely to be the first child to be dead (or die) onscreen.
  • The third series opener of Merlin revealed that Uther used to drown the children of magic users in case they inherited their parents' abilities. Though the drowning itself is entirely offscreen, their ghosts appear en masse.
  • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy has a solid aversion. The Magna Defender's revenge obsession is due to the (witnessed onscreen) death of his son. However, his son was a Magna Defender in training (despite being ten-ish, if we go by the size and the voice) who was never seen demorphed, making this less daring than some examples. Still, he doesn't ultimately survive, time isn't rewritten, he doesn't Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, or anything like that, and he's small and has the voice of a kid.
  • In the Law and Order franchise, there are the occasional episodes where juvenile deaths are investigated.


Music Edit

  • The infamous Another Brick in the Wall segment of The Wall.
  • The Decemberists song "The Rake's Song", where the entire point of the song is a rake who never wanted children, murders his kids after his fourth child was stillborn and the mother died in childbirth.
  • Ogden Edsl's Dead Puppies, which, as any Dr. Demento fan can tell, aren't much fun...


Tabletop Games Edit

  • Warhammer 40000, the corpses of children under the age of four (and above ten months) are sometimes used to make Cherubs, which are basically biomechanical robots. They are used as incense bearers in temples, mobile data storage and fashion statements. Add the fact that they sometimes go 'feral'...
  • In the Ravenloft Gazetteers from Arthaus, the narrator S adopts an orphaned infant, only to offer it to the banshee Tristessa in exchange for free passage through her domain, Keening. The insane banshee is obsessed with her long-dead infant son, and attempts to "care for" babies in the deluded belief they're hers; as Tristessa can't feed them or keep them warm enough, they inevitably perish from neglect.
    • Also, the Vistani avert this trope whenever one of their sons is born with the Sight, lest he grow up to become the dreaded Dukkar.


Video Games Edit

  • In Fallout and Fallout 2 it is possible for the player to kill very young children, though doing so earns you the "Childkiller" title and greatly decreases your reputation. Of course, the European release of the game was Bowdlerised specifically to prevent this (to the extent that certain quests cannot be completed, and the player can have their items stolen without realizing it). This is commented on in Fallout 2.
    • The first two Fallouts avert this trope with such fierce glee that probably some of the most vivid and horrifying descriptions of critical hit damage in the games come from shooting a child in the eye, or blowing off a leg, or firing a minigun at a groin, and so on.
    • For reference one player semi-famously played through the entire game in a completely non-violent manner as even the final boss fight can be resolved with words. He did, however, kill every single child in the game.
    • Fallout's spiritual predecessor, Wasteland, has Camp Highpool, a town populated entirely by kids where this trope is in full aversion.
  • Horribly, horribly averted in Dwarf Fortress - children can die in any number of ways, and military mothers will carry their infants into combat, where they are very likely to get impaled and upset said parent. On the other hand, if you can offset the mood loss, children make excellent body armor.
    • Moreover, sometimes the mother uses the child as a blunt weapon
  • Shadow Hearts: Covenant subverts this totally, albeit with a young girl, not a true baby. Early in the game, a young girl is taken hostage by one of the villains apparent. In keeping with the trope, she apparently escapes in the scuffle... but shortly thereafter, we find out she was killed off-screen when she appears as Yuri's Spirit Advisor.
  • Averted in the Star Wars: The Phantom Menace game. You can kill children who conveniently run in front of you, even after already killing a few of them.
  • In Dead Rising, the hero offers to help a hysterical mother find her missing baby only to be told that she saw it eaten by zombies. She is so distraught that she refuses to save herself and must be carried to safety.
    • Actually, I'm pretty sure she was willing to be saved...she did have an ankle injury, though. Making it a difficult run if you swing through with Jeff, Natalie, Bill, Aaron, and Burt, and then have to go pick up Sophie.
  • Tales of the Abyss subverts this during the destruction of Akzeriuth. After the city's complete decimation, the first thing of the aftermath that the heroes see is a small child crying out in pain and screaming to his parents, dying as he sinks into the hot mud of the Qliphoth. Kinda chilling and really hits home at how horrible the devastation is.
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn has a scene where Begnion soldiers shoot a bunch of arrows into a crowd of Daein civilians. Everyone stops when an arrow hits a small boy. Cue female using Healing Hands on the boy, both exit stage right. What really makes the scene guilty of this trope is Jarod's arrival moments later. After finding out his men failed to apprehend Micaiah, he promptly kills three (adult) civilians.
    • Averted later when Fiona and her troops attempt to rescue several civilians, two of whom are children. If the knight carrying the child dies, the kid will be exposed to enemy units who are almost guaranteed to make a beeline for it.
  • Averted in Max Payne, in which Max's newborn daughter is murdered at the start of the game, though the body is mostly concealed in the PC version, and completely concealed in the Play Station 2 port. Still, there's no mistaking the rag-covered lump in the bloody cradle for anything else.
  • Avoided numerous times in Alter Ego. At several points during childhood and even infancy, it's possible to inadvertently kill yourself or severely injure yourself by food poisoning, a falling iron, or numerous other means.
    • At one point, a bad choice can result in your character (while a child) being kidnapped, molested, and murdered by a pedophile.
  • In Clive Barker's Jericho, some of the enemies that the Jericho squad have to face are simply known as the Children: hideously mutilated, demonic child spectres, who are the souls of a child army that was massacred during the time of the Crusades.
  • Subtly averted in Final Fantasy II. In the beginning of the game, in the various towns you can travel to, here are many child NPCs you can talk to! After the Imperial Dreadnaught goes on its first run...there are significantly fewer child sprites left, and some shell-shocked adults NPCs grieving their sons and daughters. And then the Cyclone starts its world tour...
  • In Final Fantasy VI, Kefka wipes out the kingdom of Doma via poison. One of the main character's family is in Doma, and as he rushes in to warn about the poison, he discovers his wife dead, and as he opens the door, the corpse of his son falls out of the bed. And that was the moment where Kefka lost his charm.
  • In Final Fantasy X, there is a cutscene in Kilika where children are playing with a blitzball near a mother with her baby. Then Sin comes and attacks the villiage. The last thing that you see is the blitzball in the wreckage. Later, when Yuna does the Sending, you can see a very small casket among the dozens in the water, and you see the mother breaking down back on shore.
  • Deus Ex has a number of (male only) kids around, all of whom are viable targets. One of them is, in fact, a Jerkass most players relish killing. The sequel, Invisible War, is no different: you can go on a rampage in a girls' elementary school.
  • American Mcgees Grimm has children die all over the place, which is played for Dead Baby Comedy.
  • Advance Wars: Days of Ruin features a virus (Endoflorus Terriblis) which kills only children though it mutates into killing anyone later. To drive the point home, photos are shown of a child with flowers sprouting out of his body.

 Lin: He had roots and leaves growing under his skin... In his ears... In his eyes... Little roots creeping behind the eyes... ...What if you could hear them...?

Dr. Morris: Lin, please! Stop talking about it! Curiously, the virus seems to only infect young people. You're in the right age range, Will, which means you're at risk. If you meet anyone suffering from this, you must stay away! Is that clear?

Lin: Starvation, raiders, and flowers that kill you. Gotta love this place.

  • In Drakengard, Leonard is forced to kill child soldiers employed by the Empire.
    • Pretty much the entirety of Drakengard goes against this trope. The Verses full of child conscript enemies are only one example.
  • In Mega Man Zero 3, Zero finally kills Crier and Prier, the Mother Elf's two children. While they were trying to stop the hero from stopping Dr. Weil, they are really bad at discerning good guy from bad guy.
  • In Ultima VII: The Black Gate you can find a small bundled-up baby held captive by harpies outside the first town. As the baby is considered an object, it's impossible to harm, and you don't have to feed it or change diapers, can keep it in the bottom of your pack or drop it wherever you stash your spare loot, and it doesn't make a sound. Your party member Iolo will helpfully mention that his mother is lady Tory and you should bring him to her, but doesn't mention WHERE she lives - you have to actually get a transport to get there, it's out of the way of the plot and you'll probably stumble across her by mistake. In other words, you'll be hanging onto that baby for a long time.
    • When you find the mother she is extremely relieved, but rather than actually taking her child herself she asks you to put the kid in his crib, in the next room. She doesn't get any further dialogue on the topic, and the game actually doesn't have a function for putting the kid IN the crib (a mod corrects this), although you can balance the tyke on the edge with no problem. Or you can put the kid on the bed, never go back, and just pretend that the mother eventually stopped walking around whining about her lost kid and dealt with it.
    • In Serpent Isle, you're attacked by a woman who carries a DEAD child. If you click on it, the avatar or a companion will lament the tragedy. (Curiously, the dead baby is just as effective as a live one at soiling diapers, which are super-effective fear inducers, so you can get some use out of it if you don't mind being a psycho.)
      • A possible implication is that the woman was actually pregnant, and the child you find is a fetus.
    • In all Ultimas after the first three games, you can initiate combat with and kill the children you meet. In Ultima 8, there's no Karma Meter, so there's not even any consequences for killing them.
    • In Ultima 9, the aversion and the karma penalty are lampshaded and delivered as a Player Punch, twice. One is a hostile spellcaster and the other is doomed whether you show the mercy to kill her or not.
  • The beginning of Zone of the Enders has several of the kids Leo knows tied to a light pole. As BAHRAM begins their invasion of the Jupiter space station, one of the station's mechs is hit and topples right on the kids. They even have a close up of a pool of blood seeping out from under the wreckage.
  • At one point in Army of Two: The 40th Day, Salem and Rios encounter a little boy and have to escort him to safety. During a firefight, the boy sees a sniper rifle and asks if he should try to get it or stay in hiding. If you let him go for the gun, he will die.
  • Harshly averted in Dantes Inferno. The player is presented with already dead unbaptized babies that can be absolved, punished, or simply slaughtered.
  • Completely averted within the first minutes of Police Quest: Open Season. In the exposition crime scene at the start of the game, open the dumpster at the back to find the corpse of an 8-year-old riddled with bullets.
  • In the beginning of Assassin's Creed II, as part of a Player Punch, Ezio's thirteen-year-old brother is killed alongside his father and teenaged brother.
    • Namely by being hung. In front of the player; even swaying slightly in the breeze
  • Obscure arcade Super Smash Bros inspiration The Outfoxies averts this with creepy siblings Danny and Demi, playable characters who die just as violently as the rest of the cast. Some argue this is part of the reason the game wasn't found in more locales.
  • The trailer for Dead Island shows us a little girl getting bitten by a zombie, dying, and then turning into a zombie herself before biting her dad, who throws her out a window to kill her again.
  • Very very VERY averted in the Flash game: Gretel and Hansel, most of the achievements are based on finding all the different ways to die in the game. And they are heartrendingly painfull to watch.
  • Jagged Alliance 2 allows you to kill children just like anyone else. It comes with a massive penalty to Loyalty, pretty much like killing any other innocent civilian (or being wrongly blamed for killing one, which also can happen). The worst of course is when children run between you and your enemies during a firefight - they're veritable bullet magnets.
  • In intro for Mass Effect 3 during the Reaper invasion of Earth, Shepard sees a child in a vent and tries to get the child to come with them. The child refuses and disappears. Eventually the child is seen getting on board an evacuation vessel. Said vessel is blown to smithereens by a Reaper.
  • The plot of Silent Hill Homecoming involves the founders of Shepard's Glen sacrificing one of their own offspring (though age range isn't specified), and the one child your character sees several times throughout the game itself turns out to have been Dead All Along.
    • Silent Hill: Downpour makes it its mission to inform you that horrible, horrible things both can and will happen to children, and how devastating it is for those left behind. In fact, with one possible exeption, every kid either shown or referred to in-game ends up dead before the end, with the molestation and murder of protagonist Murphy Pendleton's son Charlie and the actions this lead him to commit serving as the games central theme.
  • Although you can't kill any children in-game, the story for Diablo states that the titular Big Bad possessed a young prince's body. When Diablo is finally defeated in the end of the first game, his body turns back into that of the dead prince.
  • In God of War, a major plot point consists of Kratos' guilt at having murdered his wife and young daughter in a blind frenzy.
  • Averted in Story Mode of Mortal Kombat 9. A flashback reveals that Scorpion's wife and infant son were killed by Sub-Zero (AKA Quan Chi disguised as Sub-Zero)
  • Averted in Nazi Zombies mode of Call of Duty. Richtofen Kills Samantha by locking her and her father in a room with a hellhound.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3: Davis Family Vacation, Day 3. A young American girl on vacation in London with her family ends up being killed by a truck bomb explosion. Which may have been a small bit of mercy, as this meant she did not suffer the effects of the nerve toxin released by the bomb that ended up killing many others.
  • Early in Call of Cthulhu Dark Corners of the Earth, the player accidentally releases a monster that kills Tom Waits' daughter. It looks at first like the death will only be off-screen and you'll never get to see the body beyond the screaming and tearing sounds, but then you wake up and hear her father crying as you go downstairs....
  • Averted HARD in Clock Tower, where the first game features the 14-15 year old Jennifer and her friends of the same age locked in Barrows Mansion. Depending on how you play the game, all four of them can all die. But no matter what, at least one (be it a friend or Jennifer, the player character) has to die.
  • Averted in Liberal Crime Squad, where the Conservatives will happily force children to work and execute them for any crimes - and the player has the option to free said children to participate in armed terrorism. It is possible to build an entire army out of liberated child workers. The only thing children are exempt from is sex - children under a certain age can't prostitute or seduce NPCs.
  • Surprisingly averted in Sonic Adventure. Tikal, who is 14, is trapped in the Master Emerald and dies from unknown causes.


Webcomics Edit

  • Completely averted in Weapon Brown with Cal V1-n, who has absolutely no qualms about killing children right in front of their parents. His casual apathy for infants can be witnessed here.
  • In Off White, this is averted when Gebo returns home to find that his entire pack has been shot by humans, and even the puppies are dead.
  • Also completely averted in Ansem Retort, where an orphanage was burned in the very first comic and Axel and Zexion's 'Spock diet' consists of force feeding blended babies to Sora.
  • Salt The Holly: Cade has a flashback to when an assassin squad massacred his family. Not even a baby girl is spared.

Western Animation Edit

  • In the South Park Episode "Canada On Strike", all of the Internet Memes die except for the Laughing Baby, who wouldn't be able to collect any money, anyway, so the Infant Immortality in South Park applies to ages seven and below.
    • Well, better make it four and below. It's just that whole "Stanley's Cup" thing...
      • How can you have South Park on this page without mentioning Kenny?
  • Averted in Happy Tree Friends with the characters Pop and Cub. Their gimmick is mainly that Pop is not an entirely competent parent and his negligence constantly costs the life of Cub, and sometimes of himself, in very gruesome ways as is the norm for Happy Tree Friends episodes. Examples include when he tries to wash him in the sink and accidentally scalds his lower half, then slices him up below the waist in the garbage disposal and when he is cutting the hedge and accidentally slices the top part of his head off.
  • And let's not forget The Prince of Egypt here. Of course, because of its particular source material, the child-killing would have been practically impossible to avoid, but still, they do quite a good and discreet job of showing it.
  • Also in Tarzan an ape baby dies at the beginning, so it's a partial example.
  • One episode of Superjail centered largely over whether or not this would apply to a little girl that Jailbot accidentally brought with him during the opening. It's mostly an aversion: Multiple inmates kill each other after being turned temporarily into babies, and the girl herself dies, albeit in a much less gruesome fashion than anyone else (from a combination of a bunch of boxes falling on top of her and the cancer which she already had). Also worth noting is that when the Warden finds her, he's so disgusted by her cuteness that he actually tells Jailbot to throw her into the furnace, while most of the inmates were pretty nice to her.
  • In Farthing Wood Friends, after the rodents have babies, the little ones are killed and impaled by a bird of prey in the very next episode, thus simultaneously averting Infant Immortality and What Measure Is a Non-Cute?.
    • This has happened a few more times; one of Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit's offspring is shot by a hunter then fed to his dog, and Dreamer, one of Fox and Vixen's cubs, is killed by Scarface.
  • Family Guy takes Dead Baby Comedy literally:

 Brian: Stewie I killed one of my own kind! I mean how would you feel if you killed a baby!

Stewie: Well actually I've killed seven...

 Bart: Don't worry guys, something always comes along to save us.

(Milhouse falls backwards into a meat grinder)

Bart: Nevertheless, I remain confident that someone will come along and save the Simpson children.

  • In "Yesteryear," generally considered the best episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series, Spock tries to restore his personal timeline, but doesn't get it quite right, and his childhood pet I-Chaya dies heroically to save his young self from a wild animal.
  • In the American Dad episode "100 A.D." junior reporter Matty Moyer is among the characters killed in a bus crash.
  • In the season 4 finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Darth Maul slaughters an entire village, including children, to get the Jedi's attention. For once, Clone Wars plays it safe and keeps the slaughter largely offscreen.

Real Life Edit

  • Animals. In fact, the vast majority die in juvenile stage.
    • Special mentioning goes to reptiles that hunt on eggs and birds that destroy eggs to favour their own children.
  • Rather common for humans too, especially in developing countries.
    • Common enough to be the norm in developed countries before about 1900. To give an example, a typical 18th century English nobleman could be expected to father ten to fifteen legitimate children, but he'd be lucky to be survived by more than two of them. (High rates of death in childbirth even among the rich also meant that these children would likely be from two or three wives.)
  • Real Life has the annoying habit of letting anyone die even children
  • In a more brutal way, sometimes children are killed by other humans.
    • Most abducted children are found within a few hours, or not. The core of all Adult Fear.
    • Frau Goebbels personally poisoned her six children to "save" them from a world without Nazism. As noted in the film section.
    • In many conflicts, children have been used for all kinds of tasks. The most direct version would include Child Soldiers, although messengers and scouts are known as well. Goes without saying that War Is Hell.
    • Historically, many forms of child labor were not only abusively grueling, but downright dangerous. Children were preferred for mining or some kinds of factory work because they or their hands could fit into small spaces, often spaces that were surrounded with crumbling rockfaces or industrial machinery with No OSHA Compliance.
  • The Time of Troubles was one of the most traumatic times in Russian history. It started off with a famine that killed two million people and the death of the last tsar of the Rurik Dynasty, one of the worst leaders in Russia's history. Invasions, civil conflicts, large gangs of bandits roaming the countryside. Many people believed that Ivan the Terrible's son Dimitri was still alive somewhere and several impostors took advantage of this, seizing the throne with the support of foreign invaders. The end of the Time of Troubles came when Micheal Romanov took the throne, and he decided to be rid of the threat of any more "false Dimitris" or any of their ties. While his mother was strangled, Tsar Micheal had the son of the second false Dimitri hanged. He was three years old. War Is Hell, indeed, but politics can have their moments.

Partial Aversion Edit

Anime and Manga Edit

  • Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure both plays it straight and subverts it in the first part. On the straight-up scale, this is how Jonathan and, later, Lisa Lisa live to maturity. On the subversion scale, Dio is confronted with a mother that begs him to kill her and spare her baby. He takes her up on it. Unfortunately for the kid, the now-vampirized mother is both ravenous and lacking in maternal feelings... Thank the gods the scene cuts away at that point.
    • Later, an old woman with the power to control the dead and wounded uses corpses as weapons, needing to only wound someone once to win a fight. The corpse that deals a wound? It's a baby. Using its tongue. As a knife.


Board Games Edit

  • In Shadow Hunters, one of the characters is a young girl. If you're playing her, the only way to win is to survive until the end of the game (there are several ways of ending the game besides killing everyone).
    • In a reversal, the oldest looking character of the game, who is smiling and wearing a noose, wins if he dies first.


Comic Books Edit

  • In Batman: No Man's Land, The Joker seems perfectly okay with shooting a baby. Commissioner Gordon's wife Sarah begs him not to, and trades her own life for theirs.
    • This is notable in that this is the only time the Joker is ever sad after he kills someone.


Film Edit

  • In The Incredibles, Elastigirl warns her children that bad guys will actually try to kill them (as opposed to what the kids might have seen on TV). Of course, the children are not actually killed, but they do come darn close a few times.
    • In fact, Syndrome's unwillingness to hold to this rule is the first thing that starts to shake Mirage's faith in him -- having him try to goad Mister Incredible into killing her immediately after doesn't exactly help matters.
  • Final Destination 2 has 15-year-old Tim killed off. In the original script he was 7 years old but this was changed because producers didn't feel the audience would get much fun out of a child getting offed. And notably from the fourth film one of the victims is a mother of two and her kids are seen escaping the accident at the start while she gets separated and killed off.
  • The Butterfly Effect is almost an exception: a baby and a dog both suffer gruesome deaths, but the movie's protagonist uses freshly-discovered revisit-the-past skills to go back in time and prevent either death from happening. In the Alternate Ending, however, the main character travels back in time to when he was a fetus in the womb and strangles himself with his own umbilical cord to prevent all the suffering he has unwittingly caused. Almost certainly the only pre-natal suicide scene ever.
  • In Wild at Heart we have Lula, who realizes she's pregnant halfway through the movie: she's a healthy mother of a young child in the ending.
  • In The Movie of V for Vendetta, we see a girl of about ten shot by a police officer, who is presumably killed by the people who see it. (She is seen at the end, yes, but so are all the others who died in the movie).
  • In Shoot'Em Up, Hertz (Paul Giamatti) and his Mooks are gunning for baby Oliver, but Smith (Clive Owen) foils him at every turn with gun(s) blazing, starting from Oliver's delivery, and Smith even fakes Hertz out with an animatronic baby that Hertz runs over in the street with his van.
    • We also find out that several other babies were not so lucky.
  • At the end of Pan's Labyrinth, 11-year-old protagonist Ofelia dies. Or does she?
    • Either way, that's after she refuses to let the faun stab her baby brother. So it could be argued that the movie does uphold the trope, with Ofelia being over the upper age limit.
  • A classic aversion took place in the Russian film Battleship Potemkin, in which a mother and her wounded child are charged over by governmental soldiers while other people are being gunned down all around them. This was a classic theme in quite a few Russian films with political influences during the 30's.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has no kids dying on screen, but it does depict a child being sentenced to death for theft (by the film's villain). Interestingly, the ending also contains an inversion, with a child (Toby) committing murder (of Todd).
  • Eraserhead's climax starts with Henry's baby being murdered by him.You'll wish it had stayed dead.
  • Played semi-straight in Tropic Thunder: despite the movie subverting the hell out of Children Are Innocent, by having the two children in the film being a 12-year-old ringleader of a massive drug ring and a toddler who stabs one of the main characters repeatedly on the neck, they managed to survive unscathed from being apparently crushed by a falling Jack Black and being tossed off a bridge respectively. However, the latter could count as a lampshade/parody seeing as when the toddler is shown to be OK, he crosses his arms and pouts.
  • The bomb that sets off federal investigations by Elliot Ness in The Untouchables goes off in the hands of a well-meaning little girl ("Mister, you forgot your bag!"). This trope is later honored with an actual infant, who emerges unscathed from a shootout at the train station, despite flying lead and a bumpy baby-carriage ride down the staircase.
  • The outset of The Hunchback of Notre Dame has the main villain almost tossing baby Quasimodo into a well. Doubly subverted when the Archdeacon shows up to just in the nick of time to stop him. Later he, villain that is, sets alight a house with a whole family inside.
  • Nine subverts this trope by having 9 come across the corpses of a mother and her baby but sort of plays it straight by having 3 and 4, the most childlike of the group, surviving.
  • In the fourth, fifth, and sixth Halloween films, Michael's main targets are two children: His six-year old niece, Jamie, and later (when the niece is about fifteen), her infant son. He manages to kill Jamie in the sixth film, by which time she is a teenager, but fails to kill her child.


Literature Edit

  • Harry Potter is the exception that proves the rule. Big Bad Voldemort tries to kill him when he's a baby, but fails (leaving the iconic lightning-shaped scar). In the end, the cause turns out to be The Power of Love by way of magical Applied Phlebotinum. Let's recap: The Big Bad can't even kill a baby.
  • In Ender's Game, Ender kills two other children with his bare hands. The adults don't tell him, trying to keep him marginally sane.
  • Several children die in Salem's Lot - and most of them end up as vampires.
  • One of the Dresden Files books opens with Harry and Michael fighting the ghost of a woman who accidentally killed her own child (they were hiding from her drunk and abusive husband and the little girl started crying, so she covered her mouth to keep her quiet and when she looked down...) and is now insane and gunning for a whole hospital nursery full of newborns. She comes very close to killing them all before being stopped.
  • In Morgan Howell's Queen Of The Orcs: King's Property novel, they rather brutally subvert this. After the main character, Dar, presides over the birth of her friend's child, and swears to the dying mother that she'll take care of the baby (typical fantasy novel thoroughfare), she allows the baby to be taken by her father, High Murdant Kol. He then casually tosses the baby in the river and walks away. This is never spoken of again. Similarly, Twea, the seven-year-old girl Dar more or less adopts, is murdered by soldiers near the end of the book.
  • In Juliet Marillier's Heir to Sevenwaters, the changeling Clodagh was caring for is murdered by Mac Dara in an effort to lure Cathal (Clodagh's love interest) into his hall. However, the good fairies help her repair the baby's body and bring him to life again.
  • As always with Robert Cormier and the tropes that have no place in a Crapsack World, this is often quietly averted, with the only subversion coming if you expected the book to run on the Theory of Narrative Causality and not on the rules of Cormier's bleak worldview. For instance, in After The First Death twenty kindergarteners are kidnapped by terrorists and used as hostages. One dies of an allergic reaction to the substance used to put them to sleep, one is killed for refusing to eat the candies that contain a second dose of the substance, and one is shot during their attempted liberation. The rest live, because there was no reason to Shoot the Shaggy Dog.
  • Max Brooks somewhat adhered to this trope in The Zombie Survival Guide, mostly by barely ever mentioning that children exist (e.g. he recommends hiding from the Zombie Apocalypse in schools, even though any school that's in session when news breaks of a zombie attack would be a madhouse of Papa Wolf & Mama Bear panic). He threw it out the window for World War Z, in which children starve, get eaten alive by zombies, or are mercy-killed by their own parents.
  • Averted in a rather Narmy way in Inheritance Cycle: in the very first book, Eragon and Brom enter a town that was slaughtered by the Big Bad's minions, leaving behind a pile of corpses... at the top of which is a baby impaled on a spike. A gruesome image normally, but the way it plays out in the books is very hard to take seriously, making it a failed attempt and a Moral Event Horizon.
  • In Metro 2033, every time Artyom travels with a child in the group, they die. First it's a man's retarded grandson, who is shot by fascists, then it's Oleg who jumps into some weird sentient murk beneath the Kremlin.


Live Action TV Edit

  • Bones has dealt with child victims, notably in The Boy in the Bush, The Mother and Child in the Bay, and The Girl with the Curl, along with numerous teen victims. However, in The Baby in the Bough, a baby in a car seat is blown free from a car crash and fired into a tree.
  • An episode of Power Rangers in Space, "Carlos on Call", reveals that a boy of about twelve died of an undefined circumstance (probably illness or injury). Not that incredible since the death occurred offscreen and we never meet the character but...it's Power Rangers for god's sake!
    • Not just that, but a character explicitly states that the boy "died a few months back". Not "passed away", and not (considering this is Power Rangers) "destroyed", or "lost," but "died". A very hard subversion of Never Say "Die" indeed.
    • Power Rangers Wild Force has an ancient sentient Megazord who has taken on the form of a child. He dies in this form.
  • Primeval played the trope straight throughout the first three seasons where if there was ever a child involved in an anomaly attack they would be rescued or helped out but it was brilliantly averted in the fourth episode of season 4 where an anomaly opened up in a school and a pack of prehistoric wild dogs ran loose. It resulted in a girl around 14 being eaten after she wandered out of detention and into the gym.


Mythology Edit

  • In Classical Mythology, the goddess Hera tries like hell to subvert this, attempts are made on almost all of Zeus' misbegotten get. Heracles and Dionysus of example just to name a few. Oddly enough she never seems to succeed.
    • The stories in which she succeeded may have simply not been interesting enough to be told as much as those that have reached us. Dead babies don't grow up to become heroes and/or gods.
      • Also, the heroes occasionally have their dad's help as well as have powers of their own.
  • It's not just Hera. A lot of Greek stories concern the attempt to kill a child before he can fulfill his destiny and kill someone else. It never works.
    • Not just Greeks, either, Jesus pulls this... although a lot of other babies die.


Video Games Edit

  • The Little Sisters of Bioshock have turned Infant Immortality into an actual superpower. Having their bodies infused with ADAM makes them basically indestructible to anything and everything in your arsenal... unless you "harvest" them, which removes the symbiont that stores their ADAM and kills them in the process.
    • The "desperate, grieving mother" splicer has a line which goes "Sh, oh no... Of course you're not dying my little one. You're just a baby... Babies don't die."
    • Rescued Little Sisters can also die after you save them if a stray turret rocket or fireball from a Splicer hits them, but this is unintentional.
  • While earlier Fallout games avert this trope (as discussed above) Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas feature unkillable children. Upon taking normally mortal damage, they'll fall unconscious for a while before getting back up (similar to what plot-critical NPCs do.) This can be a problem for sociopath characters in Little Lamplight as it's entirely populated by children and necessary to pass through since it forces you into a diplomatic solution.
  • The heroes of the second Onimusha game manage to save a baby that has been kidnapped by demons. The baby's crying, however, gives one of the secondary characters a flashback to how he was unable to save his own baby daughter from a fire.
  • In Clock Tower 3, one of the first scenes is a young girl, around ten or eleven, being viciously beaten to death with a sledge hammer.
  • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War has an empire that believes that children are only good as conscripts or to sacrifice to the Sealed Evil in a Can (makes you wonder what they would have done in a generation or two).
    • For the series in general, while you'll almost never see children among the enemy's ranks, enemy units hold no pretense when it comes to killing your army's Child Soldiers, and since they typically have low HP compared to adult units, they often have to be guarded by someone with more endurance.
  • In two of the four endings of Splatterhouse 3, Rick's son is killed.
  • Resident Evil 4 leaves hints of what happened to the children of the village. Early in the game a very small skeletal hand can be found on a bench near an impaled woman, and the ending credits shows children in the village, the last shot showing a child playing while a ganado sharpens a knife.
    • The booklet that came with the Biohazard 4 Incubate DVD confirms that the children were injected with the same parasites as the adults, but their small bodies were unable to contain them.
  • Averted in Psychonauts, though she's only a thought in a paranoid schizophrenic's mind:

 Rainbow Squirt:[pointing gun] Freeze! Don't come any closer! I'll never tell you the location of the Milkman! Never!

Raz: Okay, let's all just settle down and talk--

[She throws herself out the window.]

The Men in Black: Where is the Milkman? Who is the Milkman? What is the mission of the Milkman?

Rainbow Squirt: [dying] Come closer...and I'll tell you...

[Her cookie box explodes, blowing them all away.]

Raz: Glad I never bought any of those.

    • Also, averted more seriously, in one of Milla's memory vaults.
  • In Fable II, an early quest has you attempting to rescue a man's son from a gang of hobbes. You don't reach the child in time, and he has been turned into a hobbe, which you then kill. You never actually saw the child as a human, and he looks like an ordinary hobbe, so it's a lot less heartrending than if you had.
  • In the "They Hunger" mod for Half-Life, in the hospital, you hear a baby crying. When you get to the room, near a window and press the button to call for the nurse, you see the nurse open the window, and it's revealed she was zombified. When you take a look at the baby crib, you see a blanket and bloodstains.
  • In Resident Evil 2, it is possible to witness the death of Sherry Birkin, a twelve-year old, if the player allows her to take too much damage.
    • Which is rather hard to do, as the kid takes more damage than Ada Wong, superspy, can. Kid drinks her milk.
  • In Dead Space, babies have been transformed into hideous monstrosities that are still recognizable as babies. Protagonist Isaac can kill them by shooting them, or, if they latch on to his face, ripping them off, power-bombing them to the ground, and then punting them. There's an achievement for doing it enough times.
    • The sequel cranks the aversion up to eleven. Not only are there infected kids running amok, but there are also EXPLODING BABIES. One poor social worker tries to empathise with a cooing one. Guess how you first figure out the exploding part.. Messed up as he is, Issac has no explicit qualms about cutting off their limbs and stomping their torsos. On the plus side, they are easier to defeat.
    • Which leads to more than a few chuckles when you say to yourself, "Ready Issac? Kick the Baby!"
  • Doom 3 also had mutated babies with wings as monsters, appropriately called "cherubs".
  • Left 4 Dead does not have children as humans or zombies anywhere in the game, but it does say that many died during the crisis. Inside the church in the end of Chapter 3 on the Death Toll campaign there are written memorials to dead family, friends, and pets with their birthdays and days of death listed under them. A lot of the people listed as killed end up being less than 5-years-old.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion, as a testament to quite how evil the Night Mother is, she has in her tomb the only infant skeletons in the game.
  • In Siren (also known as Forbidden Siren), the characters of Miyako and Tomoko, both of whom are aged 14 (though the instruction manual of the US release states their ages as 17), meet their untimely ends: Miyako is sacrificed in a ritual (although her spirit lives on), and Tomoko transforms into one of the undead Shibito. It is also possible to see them both die if they sustain too much damage in-game. However, ten-year old Harumi of the same game is never even seen being attacked if she is discovered by a Shibito, so perhaps the game developers didn't want to go too far.
  • Metal Gear 2 Solid Snake for the MSX2 actually allows the player to shoot the small children wandering around Zanzibarland. Doing so will cause the player to be penalized with loss of health.
  • Averted in, of all things, Stuntman: Ignition. In the trailer for the film Aftershock -- one of the films you do stunts for -- the first scene features firemen trying to get a little girl's cat out of a tree... when an enormous wave of lava flows through and kills all of them. The little girl is conveniently off-camera when this happens, but...
    • Softened somewhat by the fact that it's entirely fictional, even within the context of the game it happens in.
  • Somewhat averted in Dragon Age: Origins. For the most part, this trope is played straight; children don't generally show up in any combat situations and you can't randomly slaughter most of the children you do see. But there are storyline-related exceptions where children DO die. In the Human Noble origin, the Player Character's endearingly cute nephew is killed alongside his mother by Arl Howe's men. In Redcliffe, any Player Character may opt to slay a demon-possessed child. And in Orzammar, a PC can convince a mother to abandon her casteless child in the Deep Roads to starve to death or worse.
  • Let's be fair, most games where you play as a kid avert this trope (to maintain challenge), though usually only for that playable character, and of course only when you mess up, rather than in the story.
  • In Dark Fall: Lost Souls, one of the haunted rooms at the hotel contains a cradle, from which the cries of an infant can be heard. Followed by the sound of a bomb exploding, which presumably killed the infant when the hotel got bombed in World War II.
  • Almost all the characters in Rule of Rose are children, but the game masterfully skirts around the issue by hinting, rather than showing the horrors which they endure. Not one dead child is actually shown, but it's made painfully clear that many end up dead in the course of the story.
  • Averted in some places in Golden Sun Dark Dawn, as a sign that the stakes have been raised and the Grave Eclipse is deathly serious.
    • If you go for the Crystallux summon in the Belinsk Opera House, a cute violinist girl tries to defend her friend the chandelier-dragon from a trio of Eclipse monsters, one of which casually crushes her. Matthew avenges her as the dragon bids her goodbye.
    • If you return to Harapa, one of the kids you demonstrated Psynergy to earlier in the game tells you that his friend got killed by the Eclipse monsters.
    • Oddly enough, played straight (maybe) if you return to Kaocho. Several of the rotting corpses you find there, when Spirit Sensed, mention that the kids were all evacuated to the palace, which is shut tight. How straight this plays it, considering that Kaocho Palace is not exactly a fortress and the king's a war-hungry narcissist, is up for debate.
  • There are no children at all in the Postal games, because even the game designers felt that putting children into a world where the player can kill everyone would be horribly wrong. However, dogs and cats are open targets starting in Postal 2 and Postal 3 promises even more. Cats may be used as pistol silencers of all things in Postal 2 by shoving a pistol up the cat's butt.
  • Consider the fate of Mobliz in Final Fantasy VI. Somehow not one of the town's adults survives the end of the world, yet every single one of the children does. The explanation given is that all the adults perished trying to save their children, but still...
  • Averted and played straight in Runescape. There are no attackable human, elf or troll children, but players can freely slaughter gnome children (another of the civilised races in game), calves and baby dragons.

Web Animation Edit

  • The "hero" of the Homestar Runner game "Peasant's Quest" throws a baby into a river, nearly trades it for pills and generally abuses it. The baby never dies, and a text part once it runs away permanently tells you it grows up reasonably well-adjusted, but he eventually "develops a severe mead problem and blames you for never being there."
    • You can also leave the baby in a well, but if you leave the area, the game will scold you for trying to ditch the baby, then kill you.


Webcomics Edit

  • Black Mage of Eight Bit Theater consistently fails to kill a single orphan boy, instead destroying everything else around him, dooming him to live in a hell far worse than death could ever be.
    • He also destroys a barge full of medicine and food for orphans.
      • And an orphanage.
  • Brutally lampshaded and subverted in Ebenezer Splooge's (NSFW, we warned you) Pronquest, where killing them is all you CAN do to kids, due to the adult nature of the strip.


Western Animation Edit

  • Danny Phantom generally plays this straight, with one exception in The Ultimate Enemy where Danny watches, among others, his two best friends and his sister die; and, he or rather human half gets killed by his ghost self, who then goes on a ten year rampage. Quite impressive as those are the only deaths explicitly seen on the entire show.
    • On the other hand, those deaths are all erased when he changes his decision, which would have caused that future.
    • Theoretically another aversion; the perfect clone in "Kindred Spirits". Since the series constantly plays out the idea that Danielle is treated as a living soul, then the perfect clone, which is the final step above her, counts. And he dies, on camera while reaching out for Vlad, his appointed father. It doubles as a Tear Jerker moment for Vlad.
  • Transformers Prime comes pretty damn close to averting this. When Megatron attacks Bumblebee he unknowingly hits Raf as well, who was inside Bumblebee's vehicle mode at the time. When Megatron learns that Raf is dying because of him, he practically gloats about it. Ratchet manages to save Raf at the last minute.
  • In The Batman, a time-controlling villain releases a poison that kills many Gothamites, including Robin. He's unconscious already, so you (and more importantly the censors) are spared the sight of him actually dropping dead, but it does pass over him as it spreads through town. No, it's not Jason Todd. When the villain's own (adult) son dies, he has a My God, What Have I Done? moment that lets him push past the limits of how far he can change time, rewinding all the way back to his Start of Darkness and never becoming a bad guy in the first place.
  • Near the end of the second My Little Pony episode the Big Bad attempts to kill a filly. Thankfully they save her just in time.
  • Played for Drama in this UNICEF Smurfs short. The only onscreen survivor is a crying baby.
  • Almost averted in the Tom and Jerry short Heavenly Puss, where Tom is in line at the pearly gates. One of the entrants in front of him is a bag full of recently drowned kittens. "Almost", in this case, because the episode turns out to be All Just a Dream.

Come on reaper, don't fear the baby...

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