If there is a car chase, there will be a woman pushing a baby carriage (aka, pram or bassinet). In Real Life, you will never see as many women pushing baby carriages down the street as you will during a car chase in a movie or TV show. Obviously, this device works because the idea that a baby might be harmed as the result of a chase adds instant Drama. Of course, don't expect the drama to last long. It's usually just a temporary distraction, Improbable Infant Survival assures that both drivers will be able to swerve around said Baby Carriage.
In older comedies, nothing much was thought of having the baby actually get hit, even by the protagonists.
Sometimes subverted by having the protagonist horrified that he can't avoid hitting the carriage — only to find, as the carriage tumbles over the hood of the car, that it didn't contain a baby at all, just groceries or something equally innocuous (think Speed: "They were only cans!")
See also Fruit Cart and Chase-Scene Obstacle Course for other stock obstacles that will get in the way of a Chase Scene, no matter how improbable their location may be. For detailed homages to one of the most famous dramatic film uses of the trope, see Odessa Steps.
- In the anime Ergo Proxy, Vincent Law is attacked by a proxy in a crowded plaza. Raul Creed's wife is killed in the melee and the carriage carrying their adopted son is bumped and begins to roll down a flight of stairs. When we next see the carriage in the aftermath, it is lying on its side at the bottom of the stairs with blood pooling out of it.
- The runaway baby carriage example also shows up in the very first episode of the Little Lulu anime. Fortunately, Lulu and Tubby were there to catch it before it could continue rolling away down the sidewalk. The baby's mother then rewards them with a bunch of bananas for their good deed.
- Shows up in Bitter Virgin, where it leads to Daisuke discovering Hinako's scar from her C-section. He even hangs a lampshade on the cliché as he runs towards it.
- In one chapter of the manga version of Hyperdimension Neptunia, Neptune ends up having to watch over Nepgear, Uni, Rom and Ram after they were accidentally transformed into babies. At one point, after some mishaps, she puts the two latter girls back in a baby carriage, only to see the two other girls wandering off. She picks them up, turns around, and notices the baby carriage is rolling down a road. Neptune manages to catch up to it, but not to slow the carriage down. To her horror, they're about to fly off the road and crash into a huge sign, but fortunately Rom (Or Ram) throws a turtle shell she had picked up from one of the floating ? Blocks they ran into while rolling down the road and breaks the sign, causing the carriage to fly into a house instead, with no harm done to the girls.
- In the Highway Star chapter of Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Diamond Is Unbreakable, while Josuke is trying to drive away from Highway Star on a motorcycle, he come across a woman pushing a baby carriage across the road. He can't dodge the and slowing down would mean Highway Star can catch him. Josuke's solution is to destroy his bike with Crazy Diamond, flip over the carriage and repair the bike mid-air.
- Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: Played for Drama in an unusual way in Evanna's backstory. A flashback shows her and her adoptive father doing some shopping in Azalea town. A baby carriage rolls down the street and Evanna runs off to save it from being rolled over by the traffic. Immediately, the nearby onlookers begin glaring at her because she accidentally stepped on a Slowpoke's tail, and decide to gang up on them, even the woman whose baby she saved.
- In '71, Gary knocks over a woman pushing a pram while being chased by IRA gunmen.
- The silent film Battleship Potemkin featured a Baby Carriage during the much-homaged "Odessa Steps" sequence. It's pushed down as the baby's mother is shot to death. It could be argued the whole trope of Baby Carriage is a Homage to Battleship Potemkin.
- Probably the definitive Odessa Steps/Baby Carriage scene is the fight in the station in The Untouchables. Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) had to make a Sadistic Choice between dropping the baby carriage down a flight of stairs or shotgunning a mafioso who's about to kill him. He dropped the carriage — but fortunately, George Stone (Andy Garcia) was on hand to save it. By stopping it with his legs, while still shooting some bad guys. And the baby is okay in the end.
- Also referenced in one of the An American Tail sequels.
- Also featured as a quick throwaway gag in Bananas, during the battle scene where the Rebels take over San Marcos.
- The whole Odessa Steps sequence is nicely snuck into Brazil, except with an industrial vacuum cleaner instead of a baby carriage.
- And most recently, Eli Roth used it in Nation's Pride, the film-within-a-film in Inglourious Basterds.
- In The Trotsky Leon has multiple dreams in which he is the baby on the Odessa steps.. in the first dream, his stepmom is the woman pushing the carriage and his father is a nearby military guard.. later he has the same dream again, with Alexandra as the woman, and his mentor as the guard.
- One year before The Battleship Potemkin, the Harold Lloyd film Girl Shy features Harold, on a wild race through the streets to stop his girlfriend from getting married, having to swerve out of the way of a baby carriage. The baby laughs.
- Dates back at least as far as 1909 and The Curtain Pole, in which Mack Sennett's runaway horse-drawn cab knocks over a baby carriage. Played for laughs, as the irate parents join the angry mob chasing after the cab.
- In The Incredibles, a woman is shown taking her baby out of one to escape from an oil tanker thrown by the Omnidroid.
- Next to Potemkin, the best known example is in The French Connection, during the subway chase.
- Done with a twist at the beginning of Ghostbusters II, with the carriage as the object of the chase instead of an obstacle. After rolling through a puddle of psycho-reactive pink slime, the carriage speeds away from Dana with Oscar inside as if propelled by a motor. She gives chase as it narrowly avoids several collisions, careening down sidewalks and through streets, finally stopping dead inches from being rammed head-on by a speeding city bus.
- Subverted in Speed where Annie is desperately trying to keep a bus above 50 miles an hour and can't dodge a pram, smashing it to kindling. She is suitably horrified until Keanu Reeves notices that there was no baby in there, only cans, and the 'mother' was actually a homeless woman. He seems to find it mildly amusing.
- Subverted in the opening scene of The Soldier (1982). A woman with a baby carriage steps out in front of a limousine and is promptly run over. Shocked bystanders rush to help. She turns out to be a terrorist and the baby carriage is full of weapons. The 'bystanders' pick up the weapons and aim them at the limousine...only to be gunned down by the Soldier and his team.
- Which was likely inspired by the real life kidnapping of Hanns-Martin Schleyer, as portrayed in The Baader Meinhof Complex, where the terrorists use the baby carriage to get the vehicles to slow down so they can be ambushed.
- Played straight in The Three Stooges short Grips, Grunts and Groans. While running from some train depot guards, the Stooges knock over a baby carriage —containing a baby— and use the commotion of two women panicking over the injured infant to hide from their pursuers. It isn't exactly played for laughs, but it also isn't counted as a karmic strike against the Stooges, either.
- Subversion: In Batman Forever, the Batmobile is stopped mid-pursuit by an elderly crone pushing a baby stroller. After the vehicle screeches to a halt, the "Old Crone" whips off a shawl to reveal Big Bad Two Face, who then takes a rocket launcher out of the baby carriage.
- This is played with, along with other chase cliches, in the 1960s Batman: The Movie. Trying to ditch an explosive, Batman runs repeatedly into a woman with a baby carriage, a group of nuns, and a Salvation Army-type band. After these repeat several times, he looks the camera dead on and says "Somedays, you just can't get rid of a bomb."
- In the opening Car Chase of Mad Max an arguing couple fail to notice their baby has left his carriage and wandered out onto the road. Cue Mass "Oh, Crap!" as three methane-boosted V8 interceptors (the Nightrider and his police pursuers) come baring down. The baby is uninjured, but sets off a Disaster Dominoes that leaves Max the only MFP officer in a position to stop the Nightrider.
- Played with in World War Z. The protagonist and his family stop at a supermarket that's being looted by panicked civilians. As he takes one daughter to get medicine, his wife puts their younger daughter in a shopping trolley and starts getting food and other supplies off the shelves. Suddenly he hears his daughter scream and sees her go flying down the aisle in the trolley, because her mother has just been attacked by a couple of opportunistic criminals.
- In the 1995 German short film Countdown, the brakes of a baby carriage loosen and the vehicle with a crying baby inside tumbles onto a street where a truck is approaching. Cue the hero performing a Diving Save.
- Shogun Assassin features a weaponised baby cart containing spears, bombs and a volley gun.
- Averted in Anne Fine's All Bones and Lies. The protagonist, Colin, is introduced to a single mother and her baby daughter when a car crashed into her baby carriage throwing the baby through the air. Colin's sister reached up and plucked the baby from the air, randomly saving her life. Both the mother and Colin take a long time to get over how nearly the baby died.
- The Night Mayor culminates in a car chase through a virtual reality realm based on old movies. At one point, the hero notices a little old lady crossing the road ahead, very slowly, pushing a baby carriage containing quintuplets. Knowing that the only real people around are either in his car with him or in the car pursuing them, her ruthlessly plows straight on through rather than slow down and risk being caught.
- In the first season of Charmed, there was an episode where a reporter sent an empty Baby Carriage out in front of an oncoming truck in an attempt to get Prue to use her powers. It kind of worked.
- Doctor Who: In "Human Nature", when the Tenth Doctor is in human form to hide from the Monster of the Week and has no idea of his real identity, one of the hints of his Hidden Depths comes when he realizes a piano is about to fall on a baby carriage (two clichés for the price of one!) and sets off a Rube Goldberg-like sequence of events in time to stop it.
- This is Parodied by the Leverage crew in order to bring a reclusive mark out of hiding and into the spotlight. It doesn't work; the mark ignores Sophie crying for her "runaway baby carriage" and once the opportunity passes Sophie gets distracted by a fashion store display.
- Power Rangers:
- An episode of Power Rangers in Space had a variation: In the episode "Silence is Golden", The Psycho Rangers have Applied Phlebotinum set up to hone in on the sound of the Rangers' voices within Angel Grove. So Cassie is hurrying back to base as silently as possible when she sees a baby carriage about to fall down a flight of concrete stairs. She struggles between protecting herself and warning the mother, but what other choice does she have...? (Besides morphing in public and rushing up to save the kid herself as the Pink Ranger, anyway.)
- Chasing down an out of control baby carriage to keep the baby from being hurt is also how Kimberly, Tommy, and Billy met Aisha, Rocky, and Adam in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
- Linkara points out how this sequence went on far longer the necessary.
- In an episode of Power Rangers RPM, the carriage is used as an Improvised Weapon. Baby included. (No, they didn't know it at the time.)
- In Power Rangers Dino Charge, we see Chase giving chase to one of these on his skateboard (we find out that when he's on his board, his mind becomes laser-focus and he performs Captain America-class feats to go around all kinds of obstacles.) The carriage's passenger? A cat.
- The Torchwood episode "Sleeper" shows a young mother who's really an alien sleeper agent who, upon being activated, walks away to carry out her mission and leaves her baby's pram to roll into the road. We hear the baby crying, followed by squealing brakes and a crash.
- In Ultraman Ginga, up hearing a woman shouting for her "baby", a girl saves a runaway baby carriage, only to find it contained... a dog.
- Tom Kenny has stated in one of his comedy routines that his attention span is too short to drive a car, citing a version of this as an example:
The time I'm playing with the radio is the moment there will be three baby carriages in the crosswalk.
- In an early episode of Teen Titans, "Final Exam", this is one of the disasters staged by bad-guys in training Jinx, Gizmo, and Mammoth to lure the Teen Titans into an ambush: "Aren't baby carriages supposed to have babies in them?"
- In an episode of Codename: Kids Next Door (Operation DIAPER), a baby carriage rolls down a flight of stairs during a fight with a group of tooth-stealing babies. Number 3 chases it and catches it at the last moment, only to get punched in the face by the occupant.
- The Simpsons:
- Spoofed in a Halloween episode. Homer's ghost has twenty-four hours to do a good deed to get into Heaven. Just when he's almost out of time, he sees a carriage going down a flight of stairs and picks up the baby just because he's annoyed with its wails, inadvertently saving it as the carriage is hit by a car and explodes in flames. The baby's mother believes it to be a miracle. Too bad for Homer that St. Peter wasn't looking.
- Another episode features a boat chase in which Wiggum has to avoid a woman jet-skiing with a baby carriage.
- Subversion: The film The Triplets of Belleville spoofs the trope by having the car actually crash into the baby carriage and self-destruct — thanks to the remarkable heft of the baby.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has Rainbow Dash saving a baby pony in a carriage from going over a cliff in "The Mysterious Mare Do Well."
- A baby carriage goes careening down the steps in the Dragons: Riders of Berk episode "Gem of a Different Color" during the Changewing attack. It hits a cart and the baby is catapulted through the air, but fortunately Fishlegs and Meatlug are able to catch it safely.
- The New Adventures of Superman: In "The Prankster", the Prankster shoves a baby carriage down a hill into a busy intersection as a practical joke.