His timeless "posture" of innocence, captured and spreading now like wildfire on social media, is something that will haunt those who have seen it -- for days, if not for generations to come.
He was found lying face down, his head to one side with his bottom slightly up -- the way very young children like to sleep, as CNN aptly described the scene.
Some named him "Aylan Kurdi", a Syrian refugee boy whose lifeless body was washed ashore in Bodrum, Turkey, on Wednesday. His identity cannot be independently confirmed.
Yet images of the boy -- in a red T-shirt, blue pants and Velcro-strapped shoes, have gone viral, often with the Twitter hashtag #KıyıyaVuranİnsanlık, Turkish for "Humanity washed ashore".
"Aylan" was one of 12 people who drowned off Turkey and washed up on a beach Wednesday.
He has become a poster boy that kicked up a global debate about refugees, and how to resolve a burning issue of the day, guided by history. The reging debate has thrown light on how some of the world's greatest nations today (including America and Australia) were built by migrants and refugees who were victims of their own circumstances.
But the years of mass migration then took place in a world that knew no visas yet.
One Tweep said: "I hope the world will find a cure for visas".
An artwork titled "The moral abyss of our world", by Syrian artist Wissam Al Jizairy, depicts members of the United Nations Security Council gathered at a round table ignoring Aylan's dead body in the middle of it.
The toddler's image sparked horrified reactions. Messages of sympathy in all sorts of languages and scripts have started flooding in.
The hashtag "KiyiyaVuranInsanlik ("Humanity washed ashore") made it to Twitter's top world trending topics.
As the world's top decision makers try to cope with the wave of refugees, European leaders have been assailed for doing too little, too late.
A cartoon by artist Khalid Albaih says: "I Hope Humanity Finds a Cure for Visas." It depicts the body of Aylan being lifted up by an angel.
The world is facing the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War, a staggering 60 million people displaced from their homes, four million from Syria alone.
Around half of the unlucky population are children.
Here's some of the other messages, art works and words of sympathy going around.
"Biggest indictment of collective failure," he wrote.