Kids are a lot of work. This Halloween I saw a mom taking her three kids, who were all under age four, trick-or-treating along Fremont Street in Portland. I nearly passed out in exhaustion from the mere sight of her effort. My wife and I took our daughter out for the same event and the two of us could barely wrangle her.
It made me think–if it’s this difficult in our relative utopia, how hard would it be in a world like The Walking Dead or The Road?
For this list, I break down which movie or TV world is the most dangerous for an infant. There are four categories that are graded 1-10 from least to greatest cause of danger:
- Burden – You have this 20 pound human sack of potatoes that either doesn’t walk or barely shambles along on jelly legs. You need to find it food. You need to keep it warm. You need to potty train the child in a dilapidated hotel with an electric scooter gang of cannibals circling outside. It can be a lot of work.
- Menace – Babies are basically just sacks of skin holding together vital organs. They can die from bites, falls, floods, cold, heat, diarrhea, acidic shambling mounds of goo… anything. The cause of a world’s apocalypse can create a wide range of dangers from harsh environments to hungry creatures to the always unpredictable man.
- Resources – The apocalypse can also limit the resources you need to survive, such as water, breathable air, diapers, and diaper rash cream (oh lord, I can’t image a world without Balmex). Limited resources will limit your chance to keep that fleshy barnacle alive.
- Prospects – What does any of this matter if there’s no chance for the future? The prospect for continued life on this planet, especially human life, will affect your desire to stay alive. And your desire to stay alive **SPOILER** is important for the survival of your young ward.
There are a few rules to keep in mind when breaking down these fictional worlds. The entire world has to be affected, not just a region. The babies are with human guardians. They were not left alone by their world’s apocalyptic or dystopia-causing event. The babies are healthy. And none of the babies are supernatural. Sorry, Stephen King.
Ok, babies. Let’s do this. Here are the most dangerous movie and TV universes for you to survive.
It’s the last train to survival, I’ll meet you at the never-arriving station. Despite an extreme ice age that’s taken over the world, humans found a way to survive, onboard a train. What else survives? Social and economic disparity.
Burden (1): If you’re a baby on that train, you’re taken care of. The lower class and upper class communities both have strong support systems for kids, though with much different career prospects when they grow up.
Menace (2): Okay, some of the kids at the back of the train are missing thanks to some baby-eating cannibal upper class guy. That’s not great news for the lower class, but it’s better than certain death outside.
Resources (1): There’s food, water, cloth diapers (I presume), and plenty of boobs to suckle.
Prospects (2): The train has done its part. It’s bridged humanity from one survivable age to the next. With the snow melting, spring is in the air, and that means lots of doing it. Next stop: Repopulation-ville.
This dystopic water wonderland is Al Gore’s wet dream, showing us the effects of climate change. The world is flooded over with salt water, but that doesn’t wipe out humans just yet. They adapt; some more than others.
Burden (3): Have you ever tried to jet-ski with a baby? Of course not. It’s a terrible idea. I once tried to jet-ski with a 40oz of Mickey’s Ice. I drank half, spilled half, and landed back at shore with two broken teeth. Luckily Waterworld is filled with aqua-transit far more efficient than jet-skis.
Menace (3): Babies can’t swim. Guardians would be wise to keep life vests on their little tykes at all times. Other than that, the only dangers are jet-ski collisions and some minor villainy.
Resources (2): People have access to unlimited potable water in this world. Not the ocean. I’m talking Kevin Costner’s device that turns pee into drinking water. He’s like a hobo Jesus. If he has one, I imagine others do too.
Prospects (1): Our ancestors once walked out of the ocean. Costner’s gills suggest we may swim back in. Until that evolutionary step takes place, Waterworld’s air-breathing babies are plenty safe being rocked to sleep each night on catamarans made of traffic signs.
8) Mad Max: Fury Road
The future belongs to the mad. So says the tagline. The question is, can the mad raise babies?
Burden (2): There are no Baby Bjorns in this world. The sight of one would incite a chrome-huffing lunatic to bludgeon you to death. Bjorns are also pretty much useless, because no one walks in this world. Anywhere. Ever. It’s more of a Graco car seat world. So long as you have wheels, you should be good-to-go toting around that little resource-sucker.
Menace (2): Bike gangs. Thirst. Heat. Explosions. Face-melting guitar. It’s not an easy go in the post-apocalyptic outback, but given the choice between this world or any of the next seven, I’d be all Fury Road.
Resources (5): Water wars lead to the destruction of the planet. So that’s a problem. But there seems to be plenty of gas, leather, and white body paint.
Prospects (2): I imagine there’s plenty of dust-flying, chrome-smearing sex to keep the babies coming. The return of community water only reinforces their chance for survival.
7) The Road
Road trip! A father and son navigate a desolate world filled with cannibals, bandits, and slavers, but even this bleak take on the epic journey offers some hope at the end of the street. I mean road. Dammit.
Burden (3): It’s a cold world, but there are plenty of places to safely light a fire. If your objective is to keep moving, maybe ditch the shopping cart and find other ways to traverse the terrain.
Menace (4): Cannibal statisticians, the world over, have theorized for years that there is a meat-gain to humanity-cost ratio. Therefor, cannibals in The Road would be forced to ask themselves, “Does a baby have enough meat to exact such a toll on my humanity?” Considering babies are 90% fat and poo, that’s a tough ratio to swallow. Of course, once you’ve climbed the ranks from cheek nibbler to flesh gobbler to cannibal, you’re likely not to have any humanity left over.
Resources (3): It’s not clear what catastrophic event turned this world into Saginaw, Michigan in February, so we don’t know how natural resources are affected. Assuming you cannot drink river water or forage for food, there should still be plenty of abandoned homes and businesses to loot for bottle water and formula.
Prospects (3): There’s not a lot of humanity here, even among the humans. I imagine those who are alive will seek warm bodies to escape this cold world, keeping the hope for humanity’s future moving down the street. I mean road! F************!!!
6) The Walking Dead
Zombies eat brains. And they don’t care whose brains they’re munching. Even the slow-walkers of The Walking Dead and Dawn of the Dead are dangerous because they are relentless, and their population is ever-increasing.
Burden (6): A cry will draw a crowd, but these biters don’t move too fast. A guardian should be able to escape. If left alone, however, the baby is easy pickings.
Menace (4): Relentless walkers and weirdo humans, who have become emboldened by the lack of law enforcement, present a decent amount of danger.
Resources (2): There are still crops, fresh water, breathable air, and plenty of binkies to loot from the local Target.
Prospects (3): Thousands, if not millions, of humans are alive. There should be no scarcity of offspring, with plenty of safe places to give birth.
5) The Day After Tomorrow
The world is on a cleanse and humans are the toxins being purged. In The Day After Tomorrow, climate change triggers super-weather events that strike our planet, leaving ruin in their path.
Burden (6): People are being wiped out left and right — even those who aren’t running around with a squirming, screaming bowling ball of human flesh.
Menace (8): Baby-sized hail. Tornadoes striking urban areas. Floods wiping out entire cities. Mother nature is one of the greatest risks to babies, because, like zombies, storms attack indiscriminately.
Resources (2): When the storms go down, guardians can stock up on all of their baby needs — including anti-fungal cream, which will be incredibly helpful in such a moist world.
Prospects (1): Manhattan took it on the chin. The rest of the world, while affected by the storms, has many survivors. The babies among them have a good shot at reaching adulthood, though they’ll grow up in a world far different from the one their parents grew up in. Sound familiar?
4) Children of Men
Infertility sends the world into chaos. Yet there’s hope in the belly of a young mother. The child could be humanity’s savior, unless humans get in the way.
Burden (8): It’s not just any baby. It’s THE BABY. The savior is still a little sea monkey swimming inside mama when the movie begins. It’s precious cargo and mama needs to be treated right. With the British government executing refugees, things don’t look promising, but she manages to give birth. After the child is born, you’d think people would stop fighting and turn the battlefield into a Bourbon Street celebration. Instead, the crew is terrorized by warmongers and corporations trying to profit from the baby.
Menace (3): The baby is probably safe no matter who gets a hold of it, given it’s societal status as the only baby. But when you are potentially the centerpiece of a revolution, things can get a little tricky.
Resources (5): There’s only one baby to consider. And it spends half of the movie sitting on its ass, sipping on amniotic fluid. Things get a bit more difficult in the second half when the baby is among the air breathers. It still has mama’s milk, but good luck finding “no tears” shampoo on the war-torn British Isles.
Prospects (7): The existence of a miracle baby is a good first step. However, it’s just one step of many. Using the child and its mother to figure out the cause of infertility will be difficult.
3) World War Z
When anyone fantasizes about how they’d thrive in a zombie-filled world, it’s always one with slow walkers. Good luck with the fast-moving brain munchers of World War Z. They don’t give a shit about your double tap rule.
Burden (8): Let’s ignore Brad Pitt’s brood in this scenario. Those silver spooners are not the average family fighting for their lives as the zombie epidemic spreads. The average baby is not going to be choppered from safe zone to safe zone. Instead, Bob and Sue have Bobby Jr strapped into a carseat, speeding away from home. He’s screaming because he’s teething and they didn’t have time to grab Sophie.
Menace (8): Babies are easy pickings for zombies, and as we established earlier, they are indiscriminate when it comes to food sources. If I were a parent, I’d pack the family into a whisper-quiet Tesla, and drive into rural nothingness until the car runs out of juice. Then I’d thank god for that one credit wilderness survival class I took in college.
Resources (6): If you survive in a city, you may find some loot, but I imagine the only survivors are the ones who got out of dodge. Even if Bob and Sue were able to pack some supplies, the supplies will be gone in a few months. If Sue dies, and it’s just Bob, he’ll wish he packed extra nipple cream.
Prospects (2): At the end of the movie, scientists create a vaccine to help camouflage people. It helps them get to safety and allows humankind to reaffirm its position on top. Incidentally, “on top” is the worst position to conceive a baby. You’re welcome.
The world is being taken over by dimension-traveling monsters and there’s not an Avenger in sight. For this scenario, let’s ignore the Netflix movie Cloverfield Paradox. It’s too far in the future and I was drunk when I watched it.
Burden (9): It’s nearly impossible to change diapers when you’re constantly running for your life. Speaking of running, good luck outrunning these things with a 20 pound baby strapped to your back.
Menace (10): Cloverfield’s monsters are here for one reason: To wipe humankind from this planet. Much like how you would try to poison a cockroach nest to wipe out cockroach-kind, these creatures will be on the hunt for human babies. The parasites (the little ones) bite through flesh, causing our bodies to combust. The clover (the big guy) stomps through cities, causing our bodies to splat.
Resources (8): These things are ravaging metro areas, and in 10 Cloverfield Lane, they appear to be stalking the countryside. Even so, I imagine there are places to hide and stock up out in the boonies. There’s also fresh water and soil. So go ahead and plant those persimmons seeds while your friends are back in the city being combusted and splatted.
Prospects (7): Unless you’re hidden away in John Goodman’s bomb shelter, you won’t have much time to procreate, much less survive nine months. Of course, with a bounty of Cloverfield projects germinating in JJ Abrams’ head, I’m sure life will find a way.
1) A Quiet Place
John Krasinski mastered the silent smirk in The Office. Now he’s back to show off his vast repertoire of silent skills.
Burden (10): Babies are LOUD! Their cries. Their burps. Their farts. Their general not-give-a-f***-ery about staying quiet is deadly in this world. Krasinksi’s character did some incredible planning to ensure the monsters do not hear his baby, and it still did not work.
Menace (10): The constant threat of immediate death is about as menacing as you can get. We find out at the end these creatures are not invincible. Without that necessary plot device, humankind would likely be extinct.
Resources (6): John and Emily seemed to make things work in this world. They grew crops, had fresh drinking water, and scavenged for meds. I imagine there are years of supplies ready to be looted by in nearby towns. Pro-tip: Put D batteries on the top shelf, away from young hands, when looting.
Prospects (9): Let’s say a couple manages to conceive without loud moans, a squeaky bed, or the ritualistic ass slap. They still have to face the birth. Unless your midwife is Houdini, delivering your baby from inside a chest at the bottom of a lake, there’s going to be noise. Of course, if babies can just casually fall out of clueless mothers, then I suppose some babies are low-key enough to survive birth.
Despite my keen mathematical deductions, this is not a perfect science. Let me know if you have any insight into these worlds, or if there’s another movie or show that I should have considered.
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