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 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.
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.
It may not even be true to begin with. The character who claims it is Amadeus Cho, who has the explicitly delusional idea that the Hulk is completely innocent and harmless and wouldn't hurt a fly.
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.
Batman: Gotham Adventures #26 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 Légendaires 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.
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!
In 8-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.
The child supervillain August Prince from Worm has this explicitly as his superpower; his presence renders people incapable of deliberately attacking or harming him.
How many cat attacks has Fievel survived in the movies? He even climbs back up a cat's throat in the first movie and the sequel. His baby sister Yasha, when she does actually appear, is never put in any real danger.
On Histeria!!, Big Fat Baby survives a ton of abuse in The History of Poland sketch.
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.
Maggie Simpson has shown to survive and evade situations that any character of an older age within the series would otherwise not be as lucky in. An excellent instance is in episode "The Call of the Simpsons", though there are few other similar instances.
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.
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.
Or she could be examined by a team of up to twelve (!) midwives, to see whether she was actually pregnant. This, sadly for the child, was not always accurate.
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.
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 a 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 reinforce his reputation as Fun Personified, because they know they do not have Infant Immortality.
In Marvel ComicsCaptain 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.
And let's NOT go into how Drummer was rescued... Worst. Rescue. Ever. Indeed.
In the "One Man's War" one-shot of Preacher, 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.
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.
Runaways: Gert dies, becoming one of the first teen superheroes to do so.
The 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.
Infant's Spirit: That's it? That's all I get?
Death: I'm afraid so.
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 Justice League: Cry for Justice during the destruction of Star City.
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.
In another story arc mafia boss Nicky Cavella killed a rival boss' two young sons and fed them to him.
Les Légendaires plays with this trope interestingly: the story takes place in a world where, thanks to a curse, everyone is trapt into a children's body and unable to grow up beyond the age of twelve. And the serie is not afraid to kill off characters, so we do see children being killed everytime someone die onscreen, but they aren't necessarly technically children.
Amazons Attack opens with members of the tribe butchering a father vacationing in Washinton, D.C. with his son.... and then as the child starts crying they slaughter him too. It all goes downhill from there, folks...
In the Maximum Carnage storyline Carnage killed several children in his rampage.
Batman's arch enemy The Joker has killed many children, some examples include the brutal killing of 15 year old Jason Todd in "A Death in the Family" and on at least one occasion he blew up a school full of children.
In Flashpoint, Joe Chill accidentally kills 8 year old Bruce Wayne instead of his parents.
And on the other side, it's perfectly acceptable to shoot said newfoal children, especially since they're now the enemy and would happily force potion down people's throats, all in the name of spreadingharmony. It's even seen as a Mercy Kill of sorts.
The Traitor Legions of The God Empress Of Ponykind aren't too picky when it comes to massacres; when Celestia's forces arrive in Manehattan shortly after a battle, they find plenty of dead civilians, including foals and unborn children.
Scorpan in the sequel The Warmistress of Equestria kills an entire family of griffons in order to use Blood Magic, even taking time to note that the family had three children.
Cruelly subverted in Ace Combat: Wings of Unity; the town of New Saddle is attacked and almost completely destroyed in the first chapter and a baby pony is one of many victims.
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...
Reboot, sung by Hatsune Miku, Megurine Luka, and the fanmade Samune Zimi. The song is sweet and happy at first, until Zimi's character is hit by a truck and killed. It gets worse when her spirit is accidentally recalled from the afterlife by her friends, who blame each other for the death, but she gets a happy ending when her friends make up and she is reborn.
Warhammer 40,000, the corpses of children under the age of four (and above ten months) are sometimes used to make Cherubs, which are 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.
Second edition Dungeons & Dragons actually gave stats and experience point recommendations for depicting infants in several species, up to and including humanoids like orcs.
Young Dragons (as young as the newly hatched "wyrmling" stage) have continued to be statted out as killable targets in the third and 4th editions, as well as Pathfinder.
Speaking of Pathfinder, this is actually averted in a number of occasions in the lore. The very first adventure contains an encounter where a goblin tries to eat a small child (though this one is played straight, the kid still has notable bitemarks and would have died if not for his father's last-second rescue) and contained details on the corrupt fertility goddess Lamashtu, whose lore involves gaining power over births by ripping out and eating her uterus, then devouring babies to magically regenerate it, and who frequently has children sacrificed to her. The third adventure involves the party exploring the hut of a group of ogrekin called the Grauls, where one room contains the bones of all of the incestuous clan matriarch's female offspring, murdered at birth to avoid being "competition" for her. Things just keep going from there.
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 bewitnessedhere.
In Off-White, this is averted when Gebo returns home to find that his entire pack has been shot by humans, and 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.
Averted repeatedly in Drowtales, given its setting. Several children, including infants, die on screen, and the drow equivalent of a 7 year old child not only dies (mostly) on screen, but is killed by another child the same age as part of a Sadistic Choice.
The Slaughterhouse Nine also attacked a nursery at one point, albeit offscreen.
In the South Park Episode "Canada On Strike", all of the Internet Memes die except for the Laughing Baby, 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...
This obviously doesn't apply to Kenny, as for the first few seasons he dies violently in every single episode. Though they later had one where he was dying slowly in the hospital, where for the first time his death was treated with the gravitas a child's death actually would.
Averted in Happy Tree Friends with the characters Pop and Cub. Their gimmick is mainly that Pop is not a 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.
In Tarzanan 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 "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 "A Friend in Need" Pre Vizsla leader of Death Watch, killed a teenage girl because her grandfather dared to speak up against the way his gang treated their village.
In the season 4 finale Darth Maul slaughters a village, including children, to get the Jedi's attention. For once, Clone Wars plays it safe and keeps the slaughter largely offscreen.
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.)
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.
One of the staples of organized massacres and genocides is wiping out the next generation. Numerous examples can be found throughout history of children being specifically targeted for extermination, most notably in the Holocaust and Rwandan genocide.
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.
In 1969, a group of Viet Cong attacked a girls' school in South Vietnamese territory. The teachers and girls — some as young as six — were raped and murdered. American and South Vietnamese forces followed the trail and caught up with the culprits close to the Cambodian border. It did not end well for the VC.
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.
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.
In Classical Mythology, the goddess Hera tries 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.
That blood is on Herod's hands, though. He was trying to stop a perceived threat to his throne. (Though Jesus was never meant to be that type of king, and fled the people when he heard they were wanted to make him such. (John 6:15)
The tenth plague visited upon Egypt, the Slaying of the Firstborn, did not discriminate by age or species; he even killed the firstborn cattle (which had already been killed in the fifth plague). The only families spared were the Hebrews who had painted their doorposts with lamb's blood.
Black Mage of 8-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.
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.
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.
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.
Though it was an alien case, Ben 10: Alien Forcealmost averted the Trope in "Con of Rath". The main cast is working during the whole episode to bring a cute alien child, the Tiffin, to another alien planet as a "peace offering", only to find out this meant the child was going to be offered as a snack to the planet's king. When this happens, Rath is so mad that he jump inside the king's throat to take the Tiffin back, saving him just in time.