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My childrens' safety

Dublin, Ohio
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My childrens' safety

My wife and I have been to Rome once previously, but didn't take our chidren, ages 13, 6 and 3. We've experienced the pickpockets in action and read the reports on TA. Although I don't necessarily fear for their physical safety, I don't want their experience ruined by something being stolen from them or being spat on by the gypsy kids. I am trying to be smart about how to prepare them and what to watch out for. We'll have the money belts and and my wife knows to carry her purse in front, but does anyone have any experiences or suggestions they can share specifically in regard to the kids?

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1. Re: My childrens' safety

Why dont your buy "Rome With Kids". Written by one of our posters on TA. It is a wonderful book.. it is on amazxon and can set your mind at ease.

No need to alarm your children wtih your fears. Pick pockets dont target children..assuming they are not carrying anything of value. Flashing iPods etc might be a target.

I have never seen anyone spat on in all my years visiting Rome.

The more you expres your fears to your children the more afraid they will be. there is nothing to be afraid of in Rome. It is probably safer than Cleveland..and there is lots more to see.

enjoy

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2. Re: My childrens' safety

Hello,

Took my 10 year old daughter and had no problems. I explained to her about the pickpockets and explained the things we would need to do when we got to certain areas of the city. She understood when we were by the termini that we had to take some precautions. We never encountered any problems with the gypsies or anyone else.

The gypsies won't bother the children. They target the adults who carry the cameras and money.

I think you will be able to explain some of this to the older kids, but the 3 year old won't understand. Just remind them not to talk to strangers or to take things that people may offer them. You can tell the older kids not to make eye contact with the street vendors and that it is okay to tell the street vendors "no" when they try to give the kids stuff to play with. This is one of the things the vendors do. They hand the kids the toys and then expect the parents to buy it for them. Just let the kids know it is okay to be a little rude if they need to be.

Don't worry about this too much, like I said, I have never had a problem and I go to Rome quite often.

Donna

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Dublin, Ohio
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3. Re: My childrens' safety

Thank you, Agatha. We will probably buy the book. It is more about awareness than fear. I'm just looking for those that have experiences they can share so that we may know more what to watch out for and what situations to stay away from.

Your right about Cleveland though, thankfully, we're outside of Columbus!

Dublin, Ohio
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4. Re: My childrens' safety

Much appreciated, Donna. These are the kind of experiences and suggestions I'm looking for. Again, we just want to be aware...

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5. Re: My childrens' safety

Fivefortheroad: ( great handle!, why settle for one. lol)

I think you've taken the warnings out of context :-)

Unless your 3 & 6 year olds have wallets bulging with Euros, cameras and heading off on their own to the collosseum, I doubt they will even know a problem exists. So why worry them?

At 13, they may be aware maybe not. My 12 year old isn't. But surely you are with them all the time? If so no worries.

You've noted the potential problem, and taken precautions. If you get approached you know what to say and do.

So, that's it, job done! Successful research. Now go off and have a great vacation.

Stoofer

Rome, Italy
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6. Re: My childrens' safety

Do not be too preoccupied with gypsy and pickpocket behaviour. You sound like travelers who are savvy enough to keep your valuables safe and out of roaming fingers. Obviously if you keep an open or low hanging purse or you keep expensive things in a backpack, you invite stealing.

In some twenty years of living in Rome on and off, with two kids of our own, we've never had a bad experience with regard to crime of any kind. You would do well to focus on what to do if kids get lost or separated from you in crowds or on buses. Come up with a family plan so that you all know what to do. Also, take business cards from the hotel you are staying at and stuff all their pockets with them so, in the extremely rare chance that they get lost, they can always give the card to a policeman or security guard who can call your hotel for them.

Be firm with any gypsy group approaching you with an immediate and loud, "No," and keep walking. They do not like a confrontation as it calls attention to them; and most petty criminals are not violent as a rule, they will exit when the heat is on.

Go, have fun, eat gelato. You'll all have a great time!

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7. Re: My childrens' safety

I see that you are from Ohio. Imagine going to a Bengals game late in the season, now that's a scary crowd, much worse than anything I saw on our recent trip with the kids.

New York, New York
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8. Re: My childrens' safety

You shouldn't have to worry about the children at all other than that they will make you more of a target. A mother and father watching their children is unfortunately a prime target of pick pockets but your children would never know the difference. Other than teaching them not to dautle theres not much to be said. While I've had close encounters with pick pockets, I'vve never seen gypsies or hordes of children or even vagrants in all my travels to rome. You might mention that some poeple there are poor. The trade off is that there is no crime in rome and that you are perfectly safe walking the streets which I do not do in America. You maybe have the wrong idea. There are not groups of bad people infact if you were ever pick pocketed you would never see these people coming or going. As long as you have a way to secure your stuff don't think about it again. Out of curiousity though, how is the three year old going to get around because the cobblestones make strollers difficult. Also, there are amazing things for children of all ages especially the young one so please read up. There are many parks especially villa borghese endless fountains and of course gelato. I got my daughter to a good 20 churches in the historic district by offering her special italian soda. please have a great time.

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Dublin, Ohio
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9. Re: My childrens' safety

Thank you for your continued responses. The facts are:

1) We greatly enjoyed Rome our last trip despite #3 below, and can't wait to go back to Rome and other parts of Italy to share the experience with our kids.

2) We have traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. Every large city has crime and we are much more concerned about our physical safety in large U.S. cities than in most parts of Europe.

3) In our last trip to Rome our small group experienced the following:

a) a briefcase put down in front of a hotel and stolen the moment the owner turned around

b) a wallet pickpocketed on a crowded bus

c) a baby being "tossed" by a mother to one of our group members and being pushed around while her pocket was being picked

d) my wife's diamond pendant almost being pulled from her neck at the train station before I stepped in between my wife and the thief

There is great beauty and history in Rome and most of the people we encountered were wonderful. We want our kids to experience this part of Rome. But before I went the last time I would have never believed a woman would throw her baby at someone she didn't know just to steal a few dollars. As I mentioned, we have not traveled to Rome with our kids. I know what precautions to take for just my wife and me. As responsible parents we were just looking for first hand experiences/suggestions regarding what to watch out for with the kids in tow.

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10. Re: My childrens' safety

> a) a briefcase put down in front of a hotel and stolen the moment the owner turned around

he/she got it coming: never leave your lugguage unattended, be "aware" of your surroundings

> b) a wallet pickpocketed on a crowded bus

welcome to Italy, pickpockets are included for free in your tourist package (and free for the local as well)

> c) a baby being "tossed" by a mother to one of our group members and being pushed around while her pocket was being picked

so what? Toss the pickpocket (I suggest not too gently) and you're even... and in the process, break his nose ;)

> d) my wife's diamond pendant almost being pulled from her neck at the train station before I stepped in between my wife and the thief

she got it coming and she deserved fully: don't wear flashy item, it doesn't matter if real/fake, snatching thieves do not see the difference, just the easy opportunity.

In a railstation then! You were inviting troubles

If you're are afraid of troubles, leave your kids home: Rome is such a wild and dangerous frontier... why are you coming in this desolate wasteland, thinking that here should be like at home?

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