Honestly I can’t even speculate on what it would be like to lose a baby or young child. I know that we might take some small comfort in knowing that the lost is in a better place, and I believe that babies and small children do go to heaven, though I also have to say that there are others who disagree with me. I think to show the basis of my own thoughts on this subject, it’s best to start with examining the opposing viewpoint.
Those who say babies and small children don’t go to heaven tend to base their arguments on several points. The reasoning pretty much begins with original sin. That is, because of Adam’s transgression, all who are born are born into iniquity. Further, since the general Christian perspective is that life begins at conception, what follows then is that from conception onward a person is stained with original sin. Finally, since salvation from God is needed to enter heaven, and one must ask for forgiveness and salvation to obtain it, babies and small children can’t do this and so don’t enter into the kingdom of heaven. There’s a whole heap of scripture that supports the idea of man’s sinful nature (Psalms, Romans, Corinthians, among others) as well as needing God’s salvation (John, Hebrews, Romans again) which is used to back up the hell-baby philosophy.
I’m not going to argue these two points, since I completely agree that man is born with a sinful nature and that we do need God’s grace in our lives. I do however disagree with the ideas that babies aren’t atoned for by Christ’s sacrifice. Just like the alternate perspective, there’s plenty of scripture to support the position that young children are saved (Matthew, Mark, Luke). There’s an idea regarding this subject called the ‘age of accountability’ which essentially states that children aren’t accountable for their actions because they don’t fully grasp the ideas of good and evil until they reach a certain age. I don’t think there’s a specific age when children suddenly say “Ah-ha! The Judeo-Christian paradigm regarding the preponderance of morally positive actions! It all makes sense now old chaps!” I think instead it depends on the individual. This idea isn’t anywhere in the Bible, but to me it makes sense. The Bible does say that we are accountable for our actions several times, but this implies then that we have the ability to make moral choices. If we don’t have that ability, how can we be held accountable? Christ’s sacrifice was to atone for the sins of all mankind, past and present. And just as I don’t think that God punishes those who have never heard of him, I can’t imagine he would punish those who have never had the chance to hear of him.