aka: Animal Immunity
Skinner: If either of us falls in, we're doomed!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 or puppy 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 20 people in cold blood, only a 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, because A Million Is a Statistic and the audience won't see them. 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. 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!. In After the End, post-apocalyptic shows expect there to never be any bodies of children onscreen despite many adult corpses. The sight of a dead child affects people deeply and is used very carefully by any director worth their chops. Note that this does not apply in the aptly-named Black 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. Expect spoilers, especially in the aversions and partial aversions sections below.
Bart: Kids don't die!
Bart: Kids don't die!
open/close all folders
- 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 The 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Adam Warlock (or rather his Super-Powered Evil Side, the Magus) weaponizes this by possessing the bodies of children so that the Avengers wouldn't dare to attack him.
- Defied in The Wicked And The Defied. The entire point of the recurrence is that the gods are incarnated into teenagers, who will die within two years. Everybody will be dead before they're twenty. Minerva, the youngest, will be dead before she's fourteen.
- in Innocence Lost, X-23 is sent by Xander Rice to murder his boss/father figure, the man's wife (and Rice's lover), and his boss's toddler son (actually Rice's son from the affair) because his lover was going to confess, and Rice wanted total control of the X-23 project. X kills the parents, but spares the boy. When X then reveals to her creator/mother the truth of what happened, it convinces Sarah to rescue X from the Facility.
- Her "cousin" was kidnapped by a serial killer who preys on children, and is implied to have already killed a number of other girls before he took Megan. Fortunately, X's creator brought her in, and X killed the man before he could hurt her.
- During her solo series it's retconned that Laura failed or refused to kill children on other missions, as well.
- 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.
- 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.
- In episode 4.3 of the Ask That Guy with the Glasses segment of That Guy with the Glasses, he is asked what the plot of a movie with no cliches would be. He responds: "I would say, 2 1/2 hours of blowing up a baby. Think about it: have you ever seen a baby blow up in a movie before?"
- 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.
- On Squidbillies, this trope is invoked and has a lampshade hung on it, as the Sherrif disguises himself as a baby so that a pair of monsters won't kill him. It doesn't work.
- 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.
- 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 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. Until her 2013 death, anyway.
- 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 only survivors of the car accident that killed Jayne Mansfield were her children sleeping in the backseat: Miklos Jr (8), Zoltan (6), and Mariska (3). note
- During the 2002 National League baseball season, San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker often had his three-year old son Darren serve as batboy. In the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 5 of the World Series between the Giants and the Anaheim Angels, Kenny Lofton hit a triple with two men on. Young Darren obligingly ran out to the batter's box to collect Lofton's bat...just as J.T. Snow (who was on base at the time) was charging home. Snow had the presence of mind to scoop up the tyke and carry him away from the field, which was good because David Bell was behind him and could have seriously injured the little guy. During the off-season, Major League Baseball quickly passed a rule requiring all batboys to be at least 14. You can see the near-collision and rescue here.
- Child Ballad #20 The Cruel Mother depicts the title character murdering her newborn babies or baby, depending on the variant.
- In many variants of Child Ballad #106 The Famous Flower of Serving Men, the heroine's evil mother has her baby killed.
- In Child Ballad #21 The Maid and the Palmer, the palmer taunts the woman with his knowledge of where she buried the babies she has borne and murdered.
- In Child Ballad #173 Mary Hamilton, Mary drowns her newborn baby. She's caught and executed.
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.
- 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 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, 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, then blames it on the vampires in order to spur her into defeating the vampires.
- 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.
- The Punisher MAX
- It's revealed in a flashback that General Zakharov, in order to draw an enemy force out of hiding, THREW A BABY OFF A CLIFF.
- In another story arc mafia boss Nicky Cavella killed a rival boss' young son and fed him 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.
- Innocence Lost also averts the trope: X-23's first mission is the assassination of a presidential candidate. It ends as a bloody rampage in which she killed the candidate, his wife, his children, and everyone else in the room.
- It's strongly implied that Laura killed other children on her missions for the Facility, as well.
- Averted in The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum-
- The TCB Ponies have zero qualms about potioning small children, even shoving it down their throats if needed. This does not end well for them.
- 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 spreading harmony. 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.
- Averted by the opening chapter of Mirror's Image. Poor Twilight Sparkle.
- Averted in Ferris. The first chapter ends with Eamon and the readers learning that HYDRA killed a kid, and in the Moscow Terror Mission, an entire school is attacked and implanted by Chryssalids.
- A Brief History of Equestria: In one chapter, Smart Cookie mentions in a letter to her husband that of the seven fillies she gave birth to, only four managed to survived to adulthood. Naturally, this is going to happen in a pre-industrial society with limited medical knowledge. Then remember Smart Cookie is one of the better off ponies of her day, and what that means for the average pony. Also averted later on, when Talonhoof The Reviled makes an "example" of a pony one of his soldiers spared previously.
- In "Dear Scootaloo", it is mentioned that three of the youngest foals in the Cloudsdale Home for Wayward Pegasi perished from smoke inhalation after an "arson" (turning clouds into smoke) attack.
- In Mass Effect Fanfic Crucible, this trope is averted to hell and back with all the numbers of dead children and babies. Unless you're baby!Gaius, chances are you're gonna die a horrible death. One can even say that you're lucky to simply be killed and not having something terrible done to you before and after your death.
- What Lies Beyond the Walls has averted this trope on multiple occasions. Chances are, if there's a giant battle going on and young ones are nearby, or if there's a child, teenager, or pregnant character that appears to be in danger, more than likely, he or she will die. Unless his name is Tegast.
- In Broken Legends, Ubume discovers the true cost of Ho-Oh's blessing when her own lover attempts to kill her while she's pregnant. She revives; her unborn child doesn't. Not only does Ho-Oh refuse to bring her child back, he also tells her that they'll never be reunited, since she can't die.
- Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? averts — an elementary school's worth of children can die, and you run into many child zombies.
- That Mitchell and Webb Look: One sketch has a little boy being talked into going on a "river rafting" ride, which starts by jumping off a bridge...
- The world of the Quiz Broadcast (Remain Indoors), where an unknown apocalypse identified only as The Event has claimed most of humanity. One contestant mention she now wishes she'd took survival tips for children. The unnervingly cheerful host agrees that it would've been a different world if they'd kept even some of their children alive.
- 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...
- 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.
- In 1993, Meat Loaf had a song titled "Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are". The first verse is about his childhood friendship with a boy named Kenny (no, not that one) and his early death. The music video shows he died when he took a plane for a joyride and crashed.
- A PSA for AIDS prevention had a woman talking about how her husband died from AIDS. She didn't realize he'd passed the virus onto her until their baby was born with it. As she reveals this last part, she walks over to an empty crib.
- 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.
- In 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.
- In Anathema, your job is to reduce the human population as much as possible. Either directly or indirectly, your actions will result in children dying.
- 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 slaughtered by humans, even the puppies. Later lampshaded when Albert and Seven come across the pack's remains.
Albert: They've even killed the puppies. How could they kill something so cute?Seven: Are you kidding me? Cute? So what? Is cuteness of something a good enough reason not to kill it?
- 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.
- Dragon Ball Multiverse: Averted in Chapter 9, when Bojack snaps U16 Pan's neck.
- Way averted in Homestuck; Equius, Vriska, Eridan, Tavros, Nepeta, and Feferi are all Killed Off for Real (though they can potentially reappear due to how ghosts and the afterlife work in the Homestuck-verse). A lot of kids definitely died when Sburb ravages a planet with meteors, not to mention how pretty much all trolls died when the Great Glub occurred. It's also shown in Vriska's backstory that her lusus killed a bunch of troll children (specifically it forced Vriska to lure other kids in for it to eat; if she refused it would try to kill her).
- In Guilded Age, when the reality-destroying monster attacks the World's Rebellion, Penk sends a boy who idolizes him to go get his drum while he and Magda fight the monster. When the boy and his sister find it, the monster catches up to them. It's not shown on screen, but when we return to them, we learn that the monster got him. His sister takes it very hard.
- In The Gamers Alliance, children are just just as likely to die as adults...or become ravenous zombies if they end up infected with the Plague of Undeath. The senseless deaths of children play a plot point as watching an innocent child die in the hands of merciless thugs and being unable to stop it is what eventually prompts Bishop Arbriel Conrad to stray from the Path of Light and join the Totenkopfs with the intention of "purging" the world from those who in his view don't deserve to live in it.
- In the M,WDYD?Series seems to be pretty consistant with killing people off in a "Kenny Death", children, especially the titular Madgie, included. The reason as to why she has it that is to usually make the story poignant and just to show anyone can die in those stories. Don't worry, they get better when time is reversed.
- In Worm, the protagonist Mercy Kills a toddler. The Slaughterhouse Nine also attacked a nursery at one point, albeit offscreen.
- The Brave New World Universe generally avoids killing actual children at least onscreen, but Tech Adventures uses this a few times. To torment Sasha some more the Joker (NOT the DC Joker) kidnaps a bus full of third graders, blowing up all the boys. He then proceeds to take to the airwaves where he tortures one girl leaving her paralyzed and dying from her injuries. Later he almost succeeds in blowing up the rest of them.
- In the same story when the big bad Joanna is taking over several countries, and collecting people for mind controlled supersoldiers, her soldiers are seen killing children who are useless to her.
- 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.
- The Prince of Egypt. 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.
- 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 Black 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...
- Peter has killed many children both intentionally and unintentionally.
- The Simpsons
- Averted in a Treehouse of Horror special, where King Homer eats a little girl intended as a parody of Shirley Temple.
- Heavily lampshaded in Treehouse of Horror V, where the teachers at Springfield Elementary are trying to kill Bart, Lisa, and Milhouse:
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.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars tends to go out of it's way to avert this.
- "ARC Troopers" shows towers of cloning tanks being destroyed during an attack on Kamino. That is hundreds of babies dying on-screen.
- In "Padawan Lost", Kalifa, a tweenaged girl was murdered by Garnac, a Trandoshan Egomaniac Hunter.
- 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.
- Filmation, of all studios, has been known to avert this trope (see the Star Trek example above, plus Brave Starr and Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids).
- Animals. In fact, the vast majority die in juvenile stage. Special mention 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. Mother Nature has no mercy.
- 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.
Religion and Mythology
- 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.
- 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.
- Though it was an alien case, Ben 10: Alien Force almost 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.
Come on reaper, don't fear the baby...