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General safety tips when traveling with kids??

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Hi all,
I'm very excited to be leaving for our 7 week trip to Europe very soon! For the first 3 weeks my husband will be with us, but after that it's just me and my girls, ages 11 and 8. We have a busy itinerary, that fortunately includes visiting some wonderful friends along the way.

I've traveled to Europe many times, and we lived as a family in France a few years ago, so I'd say we're fairly experienced travelers. My daughters are very easy going and adapt quickly, and they too are looking forward to this trip.

That said, I seem to keep reading more and more about an increase in pickpockets and group gangs in the major European cities (esp here on Fodors!). My good friend who lives in Paris said theft has gotten much worse over the last few years. I know the basics (money belt, cross body bag, don't leave iphone on a table, etc...), but I'm wondering if anyone has more suggestions? What do to, not do sort of thing? I've been surrounded by Roma before, and was able to push them off (and all my stuff was safe), but if that were to happen to my kid...that would be scary for a child.

Should I let my older daughter carry a purse (cross body)...should she bring her ipod? Any tips on what to do in case of separation, what to tell kids in general about staying safe?? I know it's no different than here in the US (the same speech I give when we go into NYC), but still if others have experience here, especially given language barriers, etc., I'd greatly appreciate it!

Since I'll be alone with my girls for a majority of the trip, I'm feeling much more concerned about safety than when I travel alone!

Many thanks!
Angela

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