One of the classic comedy plots, most often seen in cartoons. A babysitter is left in charge of an infant (who, despite being so young, turns out to be incredibly mobile). As soon as the infant's parents are off-stage, the babysitter begins a gauntlet of pain and anguish of which, somehow, the infant is the ultimate cause.
There are some common variations. The baby may wander away from the home, with the babysitter giving chase. In others, the baby itself turns the home into an obstacle course of doom using the furnishings, appliances, water pipes, electrical outlets, and pretty much everything else in the house. Or it is possible that the baby is unusual in some way, and thus is physically dangerous, and will inadvertently (or not so inadvertently) hurt the babysitter in the course of "playing". Regardless, in the end grievous bodily harm comes to the babysitter (and quite often the home itself is wrecked)... but the baby itself is safe and sound, and utterly unhurt.
When the parents — who frankly should be locked up for negligence — return home, they are either totally unaware that anything untoward has happened or chastise the babysitter for something trivial, like tracking mud on the carpet, not knowing that the sitter has suffered massive Amusing Injuries keeping their child safe.
A version of the story (below) goes right back to ancient Welsh folklore — making this trope Older Than Print.
Note that the "babysitter" need not be an actual babysitter, nor the "infant" an actual infant. This trope works any time a supposedly responsible individual is left in charge of an innocent and ends up paying for it physically.
Compare No Sympathy, Escort Mission (and Stealth Escort Mission when the babysitter must ensure their charge is unaware there was any danger in the first place), and Dreaded Kids' Party Entertainer Job. Can overlap with Baby Morph Episode if the baby used to be older.
The charge in question is usually a Babysitter's Nightmare. Babysitter from Hell is the inversion of this trope, but this trope sometimes comes into play as a karmic punishment. It also works the other way around. See also Babysitter Friendship, where the child the babysitter looks after is one of their best friends.
- Happens to Case Closed in a filler episode, when Conan's stuck taking care of a two-year-old boy named Santa whose mother Shigeko is one of Kogoro's clients. And then Shigeko is kidnapped... And in the end, it turns out that Santa's real name is Haruka... and 'he' is really a little girl.
- Galaxy Angel, season 3, episode 14: The Angel-tai are turned into children due to Lost Technology disguised as candy, and the Twin Stars must play the babysitters. The danger here, though, comes less from wandering into danger and more from Ranpha and Forte's frankly sadistic tendencies.
- Estonia from Hetalia: Axis Powers ends up being this to the mochis.
- MegaMan.EXE became this in Rockman.EXE Beast (MegaMan NT Warrior Beast) sometimes when he has to look after Trill.
- One chapter of Nagasarete Airantou has Yukino take care of the
illegitimate childnephew of her mother's bird friend. Yukino is a Friend to All Living Things, but even she becomes this trope.
- In the Neptunia manga, when Nepgear, Uni, Rom, and Ram are de-aged into babies, Neptune had a pretty hard time looking after them. She wasn't put through as much physical abuse as other examples on this page, but she did have to put up with straining stuff.
- A second flashback in One Piece introduces the reader to Curly Dadan, Luffy and Ace's foster mother. Forced into taking care of the brothers under threat of imprisonment for her banditry by Garp, she wonders whether or not jail time would be worse than putting up with the D children.
- Alice Sakaguchi is this to Rin Kobayashi briefly at the beginning of Please Save My Earth, but Rin turned out to be... well, a different kind of special from what Alice expected.
- Ash's Pikachu from Pokémon became this sometimes when little Togepi wandered off. Misty actually did notice something dangerous the egg was doing and managed to rescue it from being killed a couple of times, though.
- It also happened once with Pachirisu and Happiny.
- Sun and Moon looks to be bringing it back if the stinger after Nebby was introduced is any indication — he tried to save it from crawling off a ladder...but this Pokemon can float, so Pikachu ended up sending himself to the ground.
- A similar incident happened to Pika in the Pokémon Adventures manga. Here, the role of baby was taken by Kitty, Yellow's recently caught Caterpie who Yellow told Pika to look after while she went on a quick errand. Kitty then decided to follow a drifting leaf from one danger to another, much to Pika's horror.
- In The Prince of Tennis anime, Tomoka Osakada is implied to fall into this trope when she has to take care of her two baby siblings.
- In Asterix and Son, the titular Doorstop Baby, once tanked up on Magic Potion, becomes more than a match for any would-be babysitter, tossing people around like rattlers. When a Roman legionary disguised as a rattler pedlar offers to watch the baby...
Asterix: Do you think we ought to take the risk, Obelix?
Obelix: It's the pedlar who'd be taking a risk!
- The DCU comic book Elseworlds 80 Page Giant was pulled from the shelves for "Letitia Lerner, Superman's Babysitter", a Badly Battered Babysitter sequence in which a baby Clark Kent survives various cartoonish hazards, including accidentally microwaving himself, thanks to his invulnerability. The story was later reprinted in Bizarro Comics. It was also pulled for other things, like the implication that the Kents hired the babysitter so they could have a quiet night together at a No-Tell Motel. Also played with a bit at the end where the Kents get home, see the wrecked house, and compliment Letitia and ask if she's available next week. Another thing that irked the censors was a scene where little Clark gets himself a drink of milk straight from the udders of a cow.
- A variation happens in Spirou and Fantasio: Panade à Champignac, the two heroes are the battered babysitters of the grown-up Zorglub, who suffers from amnesia and acts like an 8-month-old baby.
- The title character is assigned the task of watching after the Richards kids. Said kids open a temporal window and unleash a dragon. It gets complicated from there.
- In the humorous, out-of-continuity series Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius, Herbie the Robot is this to the titular son of Reed Richards (thankfully for Herbie, Franklin's super-genius sister does not appear), who is a rough counterpart of Calvin with almost unlimited access to all the technology on hand in the Fantastic Four's headquarters. Though Herbie comes off as high-strung and neurotic, it's usually his quick (and desperate) thinking that prevents destruction, disaster, and Franklin being grounded for life.
- Shows up a couple of times in Young Justice: once when Wonder Girl and Arrowette babysat a child who was hypnotized by a children's video into attempting to kill them, and again when the young and old superheroes switched ages, forcing the now-adult sidekicks to babysit their now-child mentors. During the midst of the latter situation, Wonder Girl even mentions the former one, lamenting how she'd promised never to babysit again afterward.
- In Robin (1993), Tim's friend Ives gets so badly bruised after taking a job as a mascot at a Suck E. Cheese's that Tim thinks he's being abused, it turns out the injuries are from the kids and his lack of mobility in his Goofy Suit.
- Strongly implied to be a risk of babysitting The Addams Family children.
"We won't be late, Miss Weems. Get the children to bed around eight, and keep your back to the wall at all times."
- Baby Blues: Usually happens in the comic where instead of the parents leaving, it's Darryl that leaves. Wanda ends up chasing or saving Zoe, Hammie, and Wren and gets hurt in the process.
- Very averted in Calvin and Hobbes, where Rosalyn comes close to a Babysitter from Hell at times, being one of the few people Calvin is truly afraid of. First, every time the parents hire Rosalyn to watch over Calvin, he's always the one to get lectured (at the very least) for the pranks he pulls on her. He once tried to run away and didn't get very far before she brought him back. Rosalyn can generally take what he dishes out and come down hard on him for it. Even during the times Calvin "won", it would always be a Pyrrhic Victory at best, as he was the one to get in trouble for it. Second, she commands princely sums (even getting advances) as she's the only one who will put up with Calvin. Third, the parents are all too aware of Calvin's antics themselves, so Rosalyn never has to worry about not being believed. Lastly, in Rosalyn's final appearance, she and Calvin make peace with each other after bonding over a game of Calvinball. Although one strip suggested that the reason Rosalyn is willing to babysit Calvin is that every other babysitter who his parents have hired has fallen victim to this trope.
- Done with a twist in the "Close To Home" books by John McPherson. A babysitter, after a hellish evening with her charges, (which ended in a wrecked house), states to the child's parents that not only will she never babysit for them again, but it will cost them an extra $100 just for her to keep her mouth shut and not tell other sitters to avoid them.
- Dennis the Menace: This was pretty much a regular trope for this strip, especially when Hank Ketchum was alive doing it, and Dennis was much more 'menacing'.
- Paige Fox has suffered mild versions of this, but most of the time it's her own fault. Once she fell asleep because she was working herself too hard on babysitting jobs, and the girl she was supposed to be watching cut up her new dress with her mother's scissors (As Paige says herself, it could have been much worse). Another time she fed a toddler a huge piece of chocolate cake right before bedtime, and hilarity ensued when she began quite literally bouncing off the walls.
- Her brother Peter, on the other hand, has actually suffered serious injury dog-sitting an extremely small dog with extremely sharp teeth and a Napoleon Complex.
- In Calvin and Hobbes: The Series, the main cast takes on this role trying to babysit Calvin's younger cousin, climaxing in a water park.
- One story of the Facing the Future Series involves this when Danny and Sam are turned into five-year-olds and Tucker and the rest of the Fentons must deal with their ghost powered mischief. According to Jazz, Danny was like this the first time he was five years old.
- In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Tiesel Bonne has to look after his rambunctious baby brother...who pilots a mech suit.
- In Trunk's New Look the titular character takes on this role when babysitting Goten and his younger self. This eventually results in him ending up in his mother's Playboy Bunny outfit. Suffice to say after all of that he never takes a babysitting job again.
- Invoked in Ashes of the Past. Silver the baby Lugia is normally perfectly well-behaved, but his parents need to keep three rambunctious legendary birds busy while they help save the world. So they tell the birds to take care of Silver "on pain of laser", then tell Silver to keep the birds busy. Cue a "rampaging" Silver engaging in all sorts of mischief, including carving his name in islands with Aeroblast.
- Invoked in Shock the Monkey. Since Hal Jordan ate leftovers that obviously weren't intended for him, Batman is gonna throw the hapless Lantern to the Batkids until he finally repents and swears to never touch the fridge again. It works.
- Barbie and the Secret Door has Malucia's trog guardian, Grodlin. He's supposed to be looking after her while her parents are gone, but can't rein her in.
- Ice Age is this in a nutshell: a mammoth, a sloth, and a sabre-toothed tiger protect a Palaeolithic baby from ice storms, ice caves, icicles, and a lava field. Baby has fun. Caretakers? Not so much.
- The Incredibles:
- The short film Jack-Jack Attack features a slightly ditzy but responsible girl (Kari) babysitting Jack-Jack Parr. Jack-Jack proceeds to show off his Combo Platter Powers, including his Eye Beams (which is the page image). This actually happened WITHIN the time-frame of the first movie, off-screen.
- The short film Auntie Edna occurs during the sequel, and features Edna Mode researching Jack-Jack's Combo Platter Powers so that she can make a supersuit tailored to his many powers.
- In Incredibles 2, Bob is a downplayed example. He had just started to get a handle on running the household when he learns of Jack-Jack's Combo Platter Powers. The sheer variety of these abilities quickly outstrips Bob's capacity to cope; while he isn't injured by anything Jack-Jack can dish out, it does run Bob to exhaustion from keeping up with the baby. Inverted when Edna has few problems with Jack-Jack and designs him a new super-suit with countermeasures for some of his most common transformations. The baby is calm and mostly well-behaved around her, aside from chasing her in his monster form after running out of cookies, and is forced to hide inside the testing chamber while he is in fire form.
- The Lion King:
- In the first movie, Zazu gets trampled by a herd of animals twice and shoved into a volcanic vent by hyenas while babysitting Simba and Nala.
- In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Simba entrusts Timon and Pumbaa to watch Kiara — something they don't know the first thing about. Considering that their attempt to raise Simba as shown in The Lion King 1½ wasn't any better, either.
- When Kala discovers and rescues Tarzan from the tree house.
- This is Roger's role in the Roger Rabbit Shorts, as well as in the movie.
- Abbott and Costello often had to deal with the repellent Stinky, played by Joe Besser of Three Stooges fame. The fact that Stinky was almost as big as Costello and usually dressed up like Little Lord Fauntleroy only made the whole thing even more ridiculous.
- Adventures in Babysitting is made of tweaks to this trope. The babysitter has to go out to the big scary City, dragging her (multiple) charges along, and they get into truly ridiculous amounts of trouble, but always manage to escape more or less unharmed.
- In the movie Baby's Day Out, the titular baby is kidnapped, escapes from his three abductors, and makes his way safely through a very busy day in which the kidnappers take such a beating that their eventual arrest is a relief to them since it puts them well away from the baby.
- Deconstructed in the horror film Babysitter Wanted (2008). A wholesome Christian girl is left in charge of a little boy out in the country when an intruder breaks in and tries to kill him. She manages to fight the intruder (a priest) off and save the little boy's life, only to find out later that the parents who left her in charge are actually killers who butcher young virgins to feed them to the little boy, who is revealed to be the spawn of Satan. At the end of the movie, the kid remains alive, and well, and truly is the reason why the babysitter goes through all sorts of torture and abuse.
- The Boy is about a girl on the run from an abusive ex being hired to babysit a rich couple's child in a mansion. The problem is he's just a doll, or is he.
- Halloween has Laurie and Annie, the latter of whom ends up with a slashed throat while Laurie ends up with a slashed shoulder, broken ankle, and a cut-up hand.
- For an adult-to-adult example, check out Heart of Dragon starring Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung, where Chan plays the big brother to his mentally-retarded autistic sibling, Sammo, and spends much of the film getting dragged into the latter's shenanigans and losing his job due to needing to take care of his retarded brother.
- Sarah is a form of this in Labyrinth, though it was her fault that goblins took her baby brother away. She has to go through a fairy biting her, lots of running, falling down traps, enduring the Bog of Eternal Stench, being hit on by the villain, and going up against a goblin army. And their parents are none the wiser.
- In the Hulk Hogan film Mr. Nanny, Hulk's character Sean Armstrong is made the bodyguard of businessman's son and daughter, who have made a habit of chasing off nannies hired by their loving-but-too-busy-with-work father with outrageous- and possibly deadly- pranks. when we first see them they've caused their current nanny's hair to burn by rigging her hairdryer, and somehow caused the one before that to break her arm. According to Corrine the cook, the number of nannies they've sent packing goes into the dozens. Of course, Armstrong takes their first traps in stride before telling them that enough is enough because HE'S. NOT. LEAVING. This ironically wins their respect.
- The Three Stooges got into several of these messes, most famously one that involved a couple fighting over their child, an adorable tyke who, among other stunts, belted the Stooges and his father with a hammer.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit abused its titular character as he attempted to babysit Baby Herman in a film-short-within-a-film. This 'plot' was carried over to subsequent Roger Rabbit Shorts.
- A Played for Drama example happens in X2: X-Men United. Logan returns to the Xavier Institute just in time for the Professor to ask a small favor of him: watching the students for the night while Xavier and Scott visit Magneto, Jean and Storm track down the mutant that attacked the White House. The problem for Logan doesn't lie in his charges, but rather with William Stryker's forces assaulting the Institute that very night.
- Double subverted in the horror anthology film The Mortuary Collection. The final segment, "The Babysitter Murders" (originally released as a short film in its own right), opens with a familiar Slasher Movie storyline: Sam, a pretty blonde babysitter, finds herself under attack by the "Tooth Fairy" Serial Killer who broke out of a mental hospital, and fights to save both herself and the children under her watch. She also starts the film watching a cheesy slasher with a very similar plot. It turns out, however, that she is the escaped serial killer — her real name is Charlotte, and she took the name Sam from the (male) original babysitter, who is now fighting back against her and who we'd been led to believe was the bad guy for most of the segment. Given that we've been following "Sam"/Charlotte as the Audience Surrogate during the Framing Device connecting the segments, it goes without saying that The Bad Guy Wins; when the segment starts, she's already killed one of the kids and is putting him in the oven (which we only find out after The Reveal), she kills the real Sam and escapes as the kids' parents return home, and she was at the mortuary not to apply for a job but to collect a tooth from her victim's corpse (her trademark as a killer). The mortician Montgomery Dark, upon learning who "Sam" really is (and especially after she tries to kill him upon deciding that He Knows Too Much), proceeds to inflict a dose of Laser-Guided Karma on her.
- A story in Binkle And Flip had Flip the bunny rabbit taking a babysitting job... and finding out in the last minute that he's babysitting foxes. The entire story revolves around poor Flip trying to stay alive while looking after some rambunctious fox cubs (who loves to bite), under the watchful eye of the mother who's more than willing to turn her babysitter into lunch if she feels like it.
- Good Dog, Carl and its sequels feature a Rottweiler who is, in each book, left to take care of the baby. Subverted in that Carl often assists the baby — such as when he gives the baby a boost to crawl into the laundry chute (there was a full basket of soft laundry at the bottom) or takes the baby out to go window shopping and meet Santa.
- Several Jeeves and Wooster stories revolve around Bertie being asked to keep an eye on or take care of someone, generally by Aunt Agatha. The people he's asked to watch always turn out to be utterly irresponsible and impossible to control. Similarly, in "Episode of the Dog McIntosh" he has to look after Aunt Agatha's dog, in what turns out to be "a guardianship fraught with peril".
It's a rummy thing. Aunt Agatha is the one person in the world I daren't offend, and it always happens that everyone she sends to me with letters of introduction gets into trouble of some sort. And she always seems to think that I ought to have watched over them while they were in New York like a blend of nursemaid and guardian angel. Which, of course, is a bit thick and pretty scaly.
- A very dark version in the novel Let's Go Play at the Adams' by Mendal Johnson. A young woman babysits a family of teenagers. They tie her to a bed and things go downhill from there. Some elements are based on the Sylvia Likens case.
- "The Ransom of Red Chief", a short story by O. Henry, features two kidnappers in the Depression-era South abducting the son of a wealthy man. By the end of the tale, the kidnappers wind up paying the father a ransom in order to get the kid out of their hair.
- In a Sweet Valley Twins book, Jessica gets a hefty dose of Laser-Guided Karma after stealing Elizabeth's babysitting job when the amount of kids to look after goes from one to four and they all turn out to be brats.
- The Little Critter book Just Me and My Babysitter involves something like this; the parents go out for the evening and leave Little Critter and Little Sister in the care of an elderly female sitter. The kids make her job a hassle, by not wanting to eat the dinner she prepares, going crazy with bathing Little Sister, having a pillow fight, repeatedly making messages, watching a movie on TV the babysitter isn't crazy about, and not going to bed when told to. The book ends with the parents returning at one in the morning to see the kids watching TV while the babysitter is sleeping on the couch.
- Marley & Me. The author and his wife take a trip to Ireland, leaving their dog Marley in the care of a pet sitter. Every day, she calls to regale them with horror stories of Marley's antics and seems to be in a complete Heroic BSoD when they return to pick him up.
- Played very darkly during the Kim Newman novella "Bloody Students." One subplot involves a woman named Abigail being asked to babysit the protagonist's eight-year-old son, Jason: the kid's a nuisance at the best of times, but he's recently been bitten by a rabbit carrying the mutagenic super-virus of the story, so things start to go downhill when Jason mutates... and then goes on to not only attack Abigail but rape her as well.
- Kimmy in Full House tends to be this when she babysits Nicky and Alex.
- During the episode "Five's a Crowd", Kimmy shows a strong aversion to feeding the boys with baby food because she had to eat the stuff herself in the past, so Stephanie steps in... for a fee. Near the end of the episode, the amount of times Stephanie steps in to feed or change the babies ends up causing Kimmy to lose the entirety of the money she was promised for babysitting to Stephanie.
- The episode "Subterranean Graduation Blues" has Kimmy giving finger-paint to Nicky and Alex to keep them occupied. They end up causing graffiti all over the house, resulting in Kimmy spending the whole episode cleaning up the mess.
- Glee: Quinn and Puck babysit and end up tied to a chair with a skipping rope. They turn it around, though.
- I Love Lucy: In need of money, Lucy answers an ad for a babysitting job that pays five dollars an hour (a large sum in the 1950s). She is suspicious of why she is being paid so much and finds out that she is taking care of two badly-behaved twin brothers. They are very demanding, constantly screaming and kicking her, and at one point tie her up to burn her at the stake while playing Cowboys and Indians.
- Married... with Children:
- Desperate for concert ticket money, Bud rents Kelly out as a babysitter. During the evening, she's tied to a chair, peed on, and threatened with scalping. (They even threaten to lynch her, but she escapes that, somehow.)
- The roles are reversed in the episode Married....without Children. Al and Peggy decide to take a vacation at a motel in Wisconsin. Their next door neighbors, Steve and Marcy Rhoade, offer to babysit Bud and Kelly. They quickly regret their decision as Bud and Kelly prove to be total chaos. (Marcy wanted to know what it would be like to raise a child.) The Rhoades are thrilled to hear that Al and Peggy are deciding to come home early. To avoid babysitting the Bundy's kids again, Marcy allows Kelly to throw a party, which was forbidden by Peggy. This turns out to be a bigger mistake. Not only are the Rhoades' home wrecked by the party, but Al and Peggy decide to stay at the motel.
- Late in The Umbrella Academy, it's revealed that Number Seven (AKA: Vanya) was prone to killing the household nannies in fits of pique, either throwing them across the room, down the stairs or out the window. All in response to being told to eat oatmeal for breakfast. It took the creation of Grace the android nanny to end this particular habit, and even she ended up having her neck twisted 180 degrees before Vanya finally got the message.
- In Jekyll, Katherine Reimer is technically hired as Dr. Jackman's assistant, but when the maliciously childish Hyde manifests, she half-jokingly refers to herself as his nanny. In turn, Hyde gleefully dubs her "Mary Poppins." As per the agreement, they have a relatively harmonious relationship as long as Jackman's CCTV cameras are still forcing Hyde to remain on his best behavior ... right up until Katherine shuts down the security systems in a very risky attempt to sneak a peek at her employer's secrets, resulting in Hyde turning the whole thing into an Alone with the Psycho scenario.
- In Home Improvement when Tim and Jill leave for the weekend to attend Jill's class reunion, they get Al to look after the boys. They end up running amok and locking Al out of the house.
- Malcolm in the Middle:
- When the family is going to a water park, Hal can be heard calling a potential babysitter for Dewey, who can't go because of an ear infection, telling her "just the little one" as the others, Malcolm and Reese, won't be anywhere near the house. Malcolm then explains that they've had issues with babysitters in the past, with a series of flashbacks showing: a baby Francis biting an old lady; a teenage girl running out of the house in terror because of something they showed her; and a guy suffering from claustrophobia having a panic attack inside the closet Malcolm and Reese locked him in.
- It's heavily implied that being together is what sets off the boys to cause trouble in the episode where Hal takes a heavily pregnant Lois to a retreat. As they're getting ready to leave town, they explain that Malcolm will stay the weekend at Stevie's house, Reese will visit Ida, and Dewey will be babysat by Craig, and Reese asks why they can't stay together at the house. Hal bluntly responds, "it's the only way the judge will let us get out of town."
- In the Drake & Josh episode "Two Idiots and a Baby", Drake and Josh must look after their father's boss's son. However, Drake leaves to play a gig with his band, leaving Josh to take care of the baby all by himself. On top of this, his step-sister Megan decides to play a prank on him by hiding the baby. Fortunately, Drake comes home in time to help his stepbrother out.
- Cheers: It's a running gag throughout the series that anyone who looks after Carla's vicious children is, basically, asking for it. This is part of the reason Carla is eager to find someone to do it for her. One of the first season episodes has her judging a prospective sitter on the sole basis of how she throws a punch. Several episodes show members of the gang trying to look after them. Cliff assumes he'll be able to keep them in line, and is deposited back on the steps of Cheers trussed up in wrapping. Sam tries, and his evening starts with the kids microwaving his pants. It doesn't get easier from there. Even Ludlow, the nicest and smartest of Carla's kids, ends up setting Frasier's shoes on fire in a crowded restaurant.
- In Legends of Tomorrow, once she becomes a Fairy Godmother, Nora becomes exasperated with the demands of her charges, which encompasses practically any youth all over the world who'd need a fairy godmother in the first place. This might explain why her predecessor, Tabitha, was such a Jackass Genie (she got fed up with all the responsibilities). Unlike Tabitha, however, Nora actually owns up to the role.
- The Odd Squad episode "Into the Odd Woods" downplays this. Orla doesn't get physically injured by Omar, but rather, she gets repeated pies to the face as a result of his Clown-itosis as she tries to keep him from running away to join the circus.
- In Turner and Hooch (2021), Turner essentially becomes this "A Good Day to Dog Hard" as he is forced to have a playdate with the young daughter, Kaya, of the Olympic Committee and ends up in a tea party for over two hours. Later he asks his co-workers if they want a turn and is mocked for asking for backup handling a seven year old. This is what he's dealing with...
Kaya: I had a nanny, but she quit. And then the other nannies quit. And then the nanny company stopped calling Daddy back. So now I go everywhere with him.Turner: Oh. I'm sorry. That must be hard.Kaya: Yes. Sometimes it's lonely. But Daddy says I have to stay strong until we can find a nanny who is not afraid of a challenge.
- Older Than Print: In a Welsh folktale, Prince Llywelyn the Great returns from a day out to discover his baby son's cradle overturned, the baby missing, and the guard dog Gelert with blood around his mouth. Llywelyn drew his sword and killed Gelert, who let out a final dying yelp. Then he heard the baby's cries and found it under the cradle, unharmed, along with a dead wolf that had attacked the child. Gelert had killed it, and the blood had been the wolf's — and his own, from wounds received in the child's defense.
- The French version has a greyhound called Guinefort who kills a snake. He is killed the same way as in the Welsh version but is then made a saint. Talk about a good boy!
- One variation of the "Caller Upstairs" urban legend involve the babysitter inviting a friend or even her boyfriend over. After several calls, they alert the police, and the friend/boyfriend goes upstairs to investigate, the 911 dispatcher calls and says the caller is inside the house, the companion then comes tumbling into the living room, bleeding out, telling the original babysitter to make a run for it.
- The Muppet Show: Anyone who has to look after Bobby Benson's Baby Band is bound to become a badly battered babysitter. Fozzie got beaten up in less than two minutes (in fairness, he tried to tell them his jokes). Miss Piggy's room got ransacked. The babies don't even get along with each other, often picking fights mid-act, so anyone else is fair game. The only person who can keep them on a leash is Bobby himself. And Bobby's a crook.
- Our Miss Brooks: Miss Brooks falls victim to this trope in "Babysitting for Three", "Babysitting New Year's Eve" and "Measles".
- The "Mythic Babysitting" campaign outline in GURPS All-Star Jam 2004 takes this trope up to eleven. You play as a babysitter taking care of underage gods and/or demons, werewolf puppies, kid geniuses, boy wizards or little witches, and the children of superheroes and villains. There's a reason the benefits package for the babysitters includes free resurrection for babysitters killed in action.
- In the Bomberman series, Super Bomberman R has these missions where you have to escort the abandoned little bomber girls to the goal without letting the enemies get to them in Planet Brainwave and Planet Bomber respectively.
- One level of Earthworm Jim has the titular Jim protecting Peter Puppy from danger, mostly by whipping him over obstacles. If Peter ever gets hit, it causes him to mutate into a horrifying monster which proceeds to beat the crud out of Jim for his failure and drag him backwards through the stage.
- One of the scenarios in Elite Beat Agents involves a cat trying to protect his owner's infant son as the hapless baby chases a butterfly through an inexplicably peril-laden construction site. The very first song has a sitter trying to control a terrible trio of uncooperative children.
- In JumpStart Adventures 3rd Grade: Mystery Mountain and Jump Start Typing, Botley played this role. This aspect of his character seems to have been abandoned since then.
- In Resident Evil 2, Claire Redfield's daring heroics for Sherry's sake.
- Although not babysitting, two SNES video games follow the same plot — Rocko's Modern Life: Spunky's Dangerous Day and Eek! The Cat both centered around the title (playable) character ensuring the safety of the individual they're watching over (a dog for the former, his large girlfriend and an old lady for the latter)
- The platform game Sleepwalker had the player controlling a hapless dog tasked with stopping his master from waking up as he sleepwalked all over the city.
- A parody of this occurs in the Stinkoman 20X6, in which the hopelessly naive 1-Up wanders into "The Lava Zone" to look for a kidnapped Pan-Pan. Stinkoman doesn't care until he realizes 1-Up took his "Power Crunch," at which point he must follow and protect 1-Up to ensure he gets his item back.
- Yoshi's Island has a multicolored tribe of Yoshis ferrying Baby Mario through the whole game and rather ridiculous obstacles. (You think they could just leave the baby with someone at home and go clear the way on their own?) Or maybe have all eight Yoshis travel together rather than pass the baby like a relay baton?
- Downplayed in Star Wars: Galactic Pals. Miree and CAM-E take a couple of scrapes due to the various younglings and their needs, from overly strong Wookie high-fives, to getting stuck in tight places trying to find items stolen by Jawas, but being droids, they're fairly resilient.
- Poor Benny in the "Wolves" comic from Hyperbole and a Half.
- Implied to happen with whoever is in charge of the Västerström children in Stand Still, Stay Silent. The first line of the woman who was babysitting the Västerström children while their parents were away is "I quit". Later, Onni goes into a magical trance while in the same room as these same children and later regains awareness to a new haircut, a very small part of his upper ear missing and one of the children complaining that "the new babysitter is boring".
- In Erma, the titular young Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl has supernatural powers and a morbid sense of humour that she's eager to share with babysitters. Subverted with Felicia, a Genre Savvy horror movie buff who thinks that Erma's freakiness is cool and ends up befriending her. Played straight with her former babysitter, who ended up in a mental institution and has been filling a Room Full of Crazy since her release.
- Chapter 33 of Furry Fight Chronicles has Mellow take multiple extra jobs. One of them is babysitting five kids, who immediately start crying, biting him, and pulling on his face.
- This happens to Spot in the 101 Dalmatians: The Series episode, "Wild Chick Chase" when she's forced to babysit Peeps, a baby chick.
- This is the setup used by the "Buttons and Mindy" segments of Animaniacs, where they took almost sadistic glee in torturing the poor dog. And the poor dog always winds up getting chewed out by the oblivious mother.
- The overuse of this trope is Lampshaded in one cartoon where Mindy winds up in a construction site, where Captain Ersatzes of Tom and Jerry are trying to save an unknown baby, and a Popeye Captain Ersatz is trying to save "Green Bean".
- In one episode, the Warners have met up with Elmyra and are trying to get rid of her. They do so by convincing her to follow Mindy. After the Warners stop him from automatically trying to interfere on Mindy's behalf, Buttons really enjoys seeing someone other than himself taking all the pain for a change.
- In a Halloween Episode, Buttons chased her into a zombie-infested graveyard (Mindy apparently knew what zombies were, but just didn't realize they were dangerous), ending in a Homage to Michael Jackson's "Thriller". (Sort of a CMOA for Buttons.) At least this time, Buttons didn't get yelled at by Mindy's parents.
- And in Wakko's Wish, he finally gets his reward: a pile of steaks.
- Most of the shorts also tend to end with Buttons getting a big hug from Mindy, showing that while the girl's parents treat him like dirt, said girl really adores him. So his torment isn't entirely without its rewards.
- There's an episode of Arthur when Arthur has to take care of the terrible Tibble Twins. They're a semi-regular gig in later seasons since a couple of them start with him heading off to sit for them and making plans to keep them out of trouble (these usually fall flat).
- In Beetlejuice (the animated series), Lydia was babysitting someone, and money-grubbing Beej decides to copy this for a get-quick-rich scheme in the Netherworld (taking the concept of Baby sitting literally). He ends up calling Lydia for help when he realized it wasn't easy and somehow turned into a baby himself, leaving Lydia having to watch over three monstrous babies, baby Beej, and her own charge, and trying to not let them cause too much havoc.
- Between the Lions does this in the "Chicken Jane" animated sketches, where Chicken Jane saves her two young (and very ditzy) charges by writing words to them, just in time for them to act and to miss being harmed, only to get hit herself.
- In Bob's Burgers, this is Tina's fate pretty much every time that she is assigned to act as a babysitter to Gene and Louise. Her parents seem to know that it's a bad idea, but then again, there's almost no possible outcome to anyone babysitting the Belcher children that doesn't involve this trope.
- In The Boondocks episode "Home Alone", we see a montage of bad experiences involving Huey, Riley, and some babysitters who were hired by their Granddad; including a teenage girl who was pistol whiped with an airsoft gun by Riley, and a professional "role model" who was somehow driven to tears by the boys' behavior (another babysitter, a British Supernanny, was left unscathed but was fired for a stupid reason). Later in the episode, Huey and Riley fire airsoft guns to scare their latest babysitter, Uncle Ruckus, out of the house.
- Happens to Marion in an episode of Bounty Hamster with an alien child who keeps randomly changing ages.
- In The Casagrandes episode "Flight Plan", CJ, Carl, and Carlitos want to go on a fancy plane ride with Carlos and Frida badly, so they invoke this trope to their three babysitters. They break Mr.Nakamura's antique dolls by opening the boxes which cause them to lose their value, scare Miranda by acting out a horror movie, and trick Maybelle by faking a call pretending to be Javier inviting her to have dinner at his mansion.
- Examples from Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers: The booby baby in "Three Men and a Booby", Jeremy in "Bearing Up Baby", and Bink (and Tammy) in "Adventures in Squirrelsitting".
- Courage the Cowardly Dog is constantly putting himself in harm's way to protect his elderly and largely oblivious owners from danger. A full-fledged example of this takes place in "Little Muriel", where Muriel is inexplicably de-aged to about three years old by a tornado and drives Courage up the wall before he finally decides to find a way to get her back to normal.
- Averted to amusing effect in Daria. She expects the ridiculously sweet, well-behaved children to turn into monsters once the parents are gone, but no, they're actually like that all the time. Daria considers this worse.
- DC Super Hero Girls: The episode "#TweenTitans" is about Jess and Karen hired to babysit Dick Grayson's birthday party at Wayne Manor. Unfortunately, he and his friend Kori, Victor, Garfield and Rachel are a bit rambunctious... and super-powered! The Tween Titans use their powers to make life hell for their babysitters, willing to feed them to an interdimensional monster when they try to stop them. It's made clear Alfred is desperate to find a consistent babysitter.
- A Downplayed example in Detentionaire when Cam has to babysit his evil little sister, Angelina. He has to yell at her to not microwave the goldfish and gets hit in the head with both a water balloon and soccer ball and presumably more offscreen. In the end, though, it's not so bad, considering they're just acting like siblings usually do and not causing anyone real harm. Except for the goldfish, that is.
- One episode of The Fairly Oddparents had Timmy chasing after magically powered fairy infant Poof. Including the obligatory construction girders.
- An episode of Fievel's American Tails devoted an episode to this trope, where Fievel is forced to babysit his little sister Yasha, who then escapes and gets into trouble.
- A series of Donald Duck shorts on Mickey Mouse Works and House of Mouse depict Donald having to watch a mischievous baby turtle, lest Don face the mother's wrath.
- Baby Shelby's mischief was even the plot (if House of Mouse could ever really be said to have a plot) of one actual episode.
- His nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie were introduced in a badly battered babysitter-type cartoon (his sister Dumbella leaving them in his care).
- Another older cartoon has Daisy Duck trying to protect her boyfriend from harm while he's sleepwalking.
- Donald himself had a long-suffering guardian angel who put up with all sorts of abuse from her devilish counterpart until she got fed up and a Curb-Stomp Battle ensued.
- Inspector Gadget's niece's dog, Brain, was always doing the leg work and getting the worst of the situations Gadget got into on cases. Gadget himself was not aware of this in the least. Taken to its logical conclusion in Gadget and the Gadgetinis. The sequel series, taking place two years after the first show, shows that Brain had a breakdown between shows and was moved to a riverside house. He's fine around Penny, and warms up to the robot sidekicks that took his place, but is terrified to see Gadget or even hear the word gadget.
- Kim Possible:
- In the episode "Adventures in Rufus-Sitting", Kim watches Rufus while Ron and his parents go on vacation. Rufus ends up swallowing a microchip that is wanted by everyone, and three different villains come after him for it. After Rufus is kidnapped, Kim tracks him to France, where, ironically, Ron is vacationing, and has to save him from the hands of Shego, Duff Killigan, and Monkey Fist, without letting Ron know.
- In the beginning of the episode "Oh No! Yono!", Ron has to babysit his little sister, Hana. Hana proceeds to crawl on the walls and ceiling and destroy the house. Then a couple of nights later, Ron and Kim both babysit Hana, and the same thing happens, with Hana even climbing on top of the refrigerator and jumping off. Luckily, Ron catches her.
- The Lilo & Stitch: The Series episode "Babyfier" had most of the characters, including Lilo's older sister, turn into babies, forcing Lilo to babysit.
- Looney Tunes
- The Marc Anthony and Pussyfoot cartoons had a gruff but softhearted bulldog protecting an oblivious kitten.
- The Up-Standing Sitter has Daffy Duck as one of these.
"Life is bitter for I am a sitter
and put little kiddies to bed.
While I tuck the sheet around their feet,
they're busy slappin' my head.
They throw their trains and rattle my brains;
my head is full of dents.
No wonder I'm sour; goes on by the hour!
And each hour I earn fifty cents."
- "Brother Brat" is a Wartime Cartoon where a factory worker has Porky watch over her sack-o'-hell baby. She gives him a large child psychology book before she leaves, but its advice proves thoroughly useless. It isn't until the mother returns that we see how she intended him to use the book: as a spanking aid.
- Kaeloo: One episode had Stumpy try to babysit Quack Quack to earn money. It did not end well.
- Marsupilami: In the short, "Hey, Hey, They're The Monkeys!" Marsupilami and Maurice babysat those three baby monkeys who were trying to take over Marsupilami's nest.
- Happens to Leslie in Mega Babies.
- Played With in Milo Murphy's Law. Naturally, Milo was the "unusual child" variant, with his old babysitter, Veronica, being the only person outside of the family Crazy-Prepared enough to keep Murphy's Law from killing him. Milo's Awesome Backpack of supplies was actually a gift from her.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Fluttershy gets run ragged trying to look after the Cutie Mark Crusaders in "Stare Master", and Pinkie Pie struggles to keep up with the Cakes' newborn twins in "Baby Cakes". Spike also spends some time as a Badly Battered Petsitter in "Dragonshy," though the audience only witnesses the aftermath.
- Spike gets another turn when he looks after all of the Mane Six's pets in "Just for Sidekicks". Like last time, Angel gives him hell.
- "Baby Cakes" reverses the traditional ending: Mr. and Mrs. Cake are very pleased with the job Pinkie did... And ask if she can babysit for them on a regular basis.
- "The Crystalling" is an unusual case in which the parents are on the receiving end of this. Not the only ones on the receiving end, mind you, but they're certainly right there. A baby alicorn isn't easy to manage.
- "A Flurry Of Emotions" downplays the trope. The worst that happens to Twilight physically is that she gets covered in mashed peas at one point, but the task of managing a mischievous alicorn foal during a day already set to be busy turns out to be no less stressful without the physical abuse that comes with the trope.
- On The Penguins of Madagascar, the penguins go after a lost baby when his carriage is knocked out of the zoo and into the streets. Kowalski even points out the inevitable construction site, although here it turns out to be a demolition site for a change.
- Phineas and Ferb:
- Subverted in the episode "Suddenly Suzy". When Candace has to take care of her boyfriend's evil and sadistic sister Suzy, she's sure she's in for this... only for Suzy to explain that if Jeremy isn't there, she's off the clock.
- However, Candace did end up being one in "Agent Doof" where her brothers are reduced to little babies.
- The babysitter isn't always an animal — the earliest variation on this theme is one of the old Fleischer Popeye cartoons, with either the titular sailor himself or Poopdeck Pappy sitting the errant babe. Many of the other examples on this page are probably homages to the Popeye cartoons. This was probably a variation of the 1934 Popeye cartoon "A Dream Walking," in which Popeye and Bluto tried to protect a sleepwalking Olive Oyl from the dangers of a construction site.
- Father Nicholas from the short-lived Popetown. The "kid" he takes care of is actually a Psychopathic Manchild... and The Pope.
- An incredibly weird variation occurs in The Powerpuff Girls (1998). The girls are given a random babysitter who, by chance, is their Arch-Nemesis Mojo Jojo, who believes that as their babysitter he can demand that they help him take over Townsville. The girls are deliberately the worst kids ever, eventually escalating to a direct No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, ultimately driving him completely insane.
- Regular Show, In "Dead at Eight", Mordecai and Rigby have to babysit Death's kid, Thomas, or he will take Muscle Man's soul. Despite being a baby, Thomas is revealed to be 300-years-old and can talk and his parents are not aware of this.
- In an episode of The Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo Show, after Shaggy and Scooby accidentally get turned into babies, Scrappy isn't battered, per se, but he is completely and utterly battered from chasing them around.
- The Simpsons has done it:
- Bart has actually abused so many babysitters that the family is effectively blacklisted by everyone in Springfield (and one who is convinced to come back has post-traumatic flashbacks on seeing Bart - who, as a baby, tried to run her over with the family car - and runs away screaming). All deliberate attempts on Bart's part to make sure he has absolutely no supervision at home so he can have free reign of the house.
- In the episode "My Sister, My Sitter," Lisa starts a successful babysitting business, and when Marge and Homer decide to go out one night, they leave her in charge of Bart and Maggie. Feeling humiliated at the fact that his younger sister is in charge of him, Bart decides to put Lisa through the same hell the other babysitters went through.
- The Smurfs.
- This happened to Peewit in spades in one episode. While the king had to discuss a very delicate peace treaty with another king, Peewit got stuck watching the visiting king's bratty son. But it got worse. The young prince started messing around with Peewit's alchemy equipment, and turned himself into a chicken. Then it got even worse; before Peewit could change him back, he ran away, and got caught by the ogre Big Mouth, who was in the mood for chicken soup. Peewit had to get some help from his smurf friends to outsmart the ogre into letting the prince go, and fortunately, in the end, the prince's dad took his son's claims for an overactive imagination.
- A late-season episode has the Smurflings volunteer to look after Bigmouth's infant son, which they soon regret, as looking after a baby ogre (who clearly inherited his dad's huge appetite) is difficult and exhausting, even when the other Smurfs help, not to mention a drain on their supply of smurfberry juice. Bigmouth's warning that he'd be very angry if anything bad happens doesn't make it easier.
- On the South Park episode "Tssst!", Cartman takes down two reality-show nannies. One ends up in a straitjacket.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Sandy's Nutty Nieces", SpongeBob decides to babysit Sandy's nieces. By the end of the day, SpongeBob is battered up from being beaten in arm-wrestling and being hit by a wrecking ball, all thanks to those nieces.
- Steven Universe: Future: Onion, the town's local troublemaker, is being an absolute angel for Rainbow Quartz, the fusion of Steven and Pearl. Steven then has to leave to help with another fusion across town, leaving Pearl (the much more experienced mother figure) in charge of Onion. He ends up getting a series of increasingly frantic phone calls where Onion starts smashing things with an umbrella, climbing inside the ventilation, and setting his pet snake loose. It's also hilarious in that Onion, while not an angel, is also tamer than usual with Steven. After seeing Steven get used to Onion's antics in the original series, seeing Pearl reacting realistically to his actions is hilarious.
- In The Super Mario Bros. Super Show episode 'Two Plumbers and a Baby', Princess Toadstool turns into a baby after falling in the Fountain of Youth, and the Marios wear themselves out trying to keep the infant royal under control until they find a way to age her back to normal.
- Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen become this in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Monkey Fun, with the twist that they're watching a monkey, Titano. After keeping him for a week, an exhausted Lois presses Jimmy into service. Titano throws things (including the refrigerator) at him.
- Parodied to the extreme by TV Funhouse in its "The baby, the immigrant, and the guy on mushrooms" sketches (where mom leaves the cat in charge of the titular baby, immigrant, and guy on mushrooms).
- The ThunderCats (2011) short "Butterfly Blues" is about Snarf watching Lion-O, until he gets distracted by a butterfly, leading to Snarf trying to get him back home.
- Timon & Pumbaa:
- The title characters spent an episode taking care of an eagle chick named Baby Earl. Baby Earl's mama had decided to nest right on the edge of a cliff, and Baby Earl himself decided he wanted to try "flying the coop"...literally. This was not helped by the fact that the only reason Timon and Pumbaa were stuck looking after the kid was because the mother caught them stealing food from her precious baby, and so forced them to watch him as punishment, with the condition that if "ONE. SINGLE. SCRATCH" was found on Baby Earl, that Timon would be crushed. And then there was the semi that randomly showed up...
- In the episode "Sitting Pretty Awful", Timon and Pumbaa babysit a set of human triplets. It starts out with the usual hijinks, such as Timon getting hit on the head by a bowling ball and throwing a lit match into a pile of dynamite while trying to keep the triplets safe, but towards the end of the episode, Timon injures himself in various ways on purpose to get them to laugh.
- If a character in Tiny Toon Adventures is sent to look after a certain baby mouse with a perpetual cold or Plot Allergy, this will happen. In Elmyra's case, it's pretty much Laser-Guided Karma even though she treated Sneezer surprisingly well in that segment.
- Tom and Jerry did two of these. There is one episode where at the end Tom and Jerry are arrested for kidnapping. Though it at least seems at the end that they might get off since the interrogating officer notices the baby wandering off again. There was also another where it ends with the baby mischievously winking at the camera, suggesting he does it on purpose. During both of those cartoons, the babysitter spends the entire time talking on the phone and sees the moment Tom puts the baby back in his crib. She then hits Tom or throws him out of the house, thinking he was harassing or harming the baby.
- In Trollhunters, Jim volunteers to babysit Claire's little brother Enrique, whom he suspects of being replaced with a Changeling. Naturally, he's right—Not-Enrique first manages to hide Jim's iron horseshoe and lock him out of the house, and when finally forced into his true form, wreaks havoc before the rest of the family returns.
- The Wacky Races (2017) episode "Formula Racing" has Dick Dastardly forced to look after Peter Perfect, Penelope Pitstop, I.Q. Ickley, and the Gruesome Twosome after they've turned into babies, suffering a lot of pain during his efforts to keep them from harm.