Humans rely extensively on external representations such as drawings, maps, and animations. While animations are widely used in infancy research, little is known about how infants interpret them. In this study, we asked whether 19-month-olds take what they see on a screen to be happening here and now, or whether they think that on-screen events are decoupled from the immediate environment. In Experiments 1-3, we found that infants did not expect a falling animated ball to end up in boxes below the screen, even though they could track the ball (i) when the ball was real or (ii) when the boxes were also part of the animation. In Experiment 4, we tested whether infants think of screens as spatially bounded physical containers that do not allow objects to pass through. When two location cues were pitted against each other, infants individuated the protagonist of an animation by its virtual location (the animation to which it belonged), not by its physical location (the screen on which the animation was presented). Thus, 19-month-olds reject animation-reality crossovers but accept the depiction of the same animated environment on multiple screens. These results are consistent with the possibility that 19-month-olds interpret animations as external representations.