is kidnapping common in Italy/France?

Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 11:58 AM
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is kidnapping common in Italy/France?

My husband and I are planning a trip to Rome, Venice and Paris in May, with our 6 year old daughter. (She's 6 going on 12.) Anyhow, I have heard and read about the pickpockets in Rome and Paris, and I wonder how common kidnapping is in these areas also. I thought about tie a small rope between her beltloops and mine to help. We are very conscience of holding her hand, but I know that all it takes is a moment of letting go to capture a picture. Is this something I should worry about, or am I being a little paranoid?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 12:17 PM
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The answer jessicabohn is paranoid.

At times in Italy members of very wealthy families have been kidnapped. I don't think you will fall into this catogory.

More important is to teach your little one not to run out into the traffic but to wait for you to take her hand.
But am sure you have already taught her that. Go and have fun!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 01:13 PM
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Hi J,

I would be far more concerned about losing a 6-yr old who wandered off than about kidnappers and pickpockets.

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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 03:18 PM
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Please rest assured, kidnapping of tourist children is not common in Rome or Paris.

As above, I would more worry for her getting lost or separated from you accidentally.

You are being more than a "little paranoid".
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 03:30 PM
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I've visited both countries with my family and have visited Paris solo. It never crossed my mind that anyone in my family including myself would be kidnapped! Sorry to elaborate but you do seem to be excessively paranoid. If you are holding your daughter's hand and are aware of where she is at all times, you've got nothing to worry about.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 03:32 PM
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I've never heard of kidnapping being COMMON there, and to the extent that there are kidnappings, I don't think they would involve foreign tourists. It makes sense to be as careful as you would be in any city at home. If you read or saw "I'm Not Scared" and it made a big impression on you, you should not think of that as something that is likely to happen to a foreign child just visiting with parents.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 03:54 PM
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The odds of your daughter being kidnapped are very low in the US, Canada, Italy, France, and most countries.

But - I know it would be very nerve-wracking to lose her even for a few minutes. I had a friend who used one of those "connection" devices when taking her 4-year-old on a long trip through various airports and what not. I think a 6-year-old is a little old for that, but you do want her to know what to do if you get separated.

A couple years ago, I read of a 13-year-old boy who went with his uncle to London. They got separated at a tube station, and the boy apparently had no more sense but to stay in a park overnight, without consulting anyone. He was eventually found watching a soccer game at the park.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 07:23 PM
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thank you matt....although i don't know where the post went that was here that referred to trolls....
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 07:47 PM
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For real? I do understand the concern, but I lost it when I read the part about the rope. The mental picture was pretty funny.

When my daughter was 2 years old, I took her to Europe (just the two of us). At that age I was worried about her wondering off while I was checking in, etc and I had one of those wrist bands that connected us at the wrist. It would look a bit funny at age 6 and with two adults, one of you can keep an eye on her while the other is distracted.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 11:54 PM
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Kidnapping, as the others have said, is no more an issue in Italy or France than it is in the US. But as a parent, I know the fear of suddenly being unable to see your child in a crowd.

You might consider an electronic "rope" - you can get a device which detects the child's wristband or belt device and sounds an alarm if this is more than a pre-set distance away. Some even have GPS to let you locate the child. See e.g. Wristag, Ion Kids, or
In Reach Child Tracking System
(Amazon or Babies R Us)

I've not used one, but might have considered it when my child was younger.
Thinking about it, I think we would have found it more trouble than it was worth,
as I can imagine my son devising ways to (er...) test the technology!

Just remember to switch it off when you let her loose to play in the park!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 12:04 AM
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And, I meant to add, as others have suggested, make sure she is carrying a card with your hotel name and phone number (and your cell phone number if you have one in Europe).

Discuss with her (in a calm way) what she should do if she can't see you. I tell my son (8 y) he should STAY PUT while he counts to 100 and by that time I will almost certainly have found him, but if not, he should go into a shop and ask them to phone the number. (I've not yet had to put this to the test, but I think it is reassuring for a child to know that there is a plan).
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 03:39 AM
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Why do people think foreign countries (i.e. ones they do not live in) are more dangerous???

My Granny from Ireland was convinced we would be kidnapped as children in NY if she did not watch us like a hawk. She read something in the paper and thought all children (Especially us!) were going to be kidnapped at some point.

I would hate to see a kid have this fear instilled in them before visiting the place. Relax.

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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 04:33 AM
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OK, very funny, but children aren't replaceable and parents do worry.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 06:25 AM
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I don't know if this is a serious question or not, but when my daughter went to Spain a few years ago with her 3 grade school children they all carried whistles that were to be used if anyone got separated and felt lost. They never needed to use them fortunately.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 06:46 AM
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Kidnapping is unknown in Paris. Your child is much more likely to be killed by a flaming meteor on the Champs-Élysées than she is to be kidnapped.

It's best not to watch too much TV; it skews one's worldview in a dangerous way.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 07:02 AM
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jessicabohn, I am going to assume you have recently watched the string of TV movies about young girls being kidnapped and sold. I have an 8 year old daughter and understand you concerns.

We traveled all over Italy this summer and never had any concerns. My husband and I decided each of us would be responsible for one child each day and we each kept a close eye on them. Even our 3 year old did a great job of staying close and holding hands. Italians love children and we had a great visit.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 07:06 AM
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judy, I actually love the whistle idea. Something simple to give them all a little extra confidence.

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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 07:07 AM
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I would be more concerned about being run down by a Vespa...
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 07:26 AM
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If this is for real, then I would like to think the parents have already instilled in their 6 year old all the hints on how to stay safe, even when navigating their own town/city/schools/parks. The same rules apply when traveling - the contact/itinerary info in their jacket pocket or fanny pak.

If it is serious, and I would think getting lost in a crowd for a moment is more likely than kidnapping, tell her to do the old trick of standing on a chair or "higher up" so you can see the kid above the crowd.
Our 5 year old once got separated from us in the U.S. in a crowded street during a festival - I was holding her hand and some idiot plowed through us and in a second we were separated, so I understand that moment of your heart falling to your feet in fear when you can't see them....a few minutes later (which seemed like hours) we saw her, standing on a chair outside a restaurant. She had asked the waiter at the door for a chair so her mommy could see her. It worked.

Give your kids the skills, and then give them some freedom. And I hope you let her run around in the parks.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 07:45 AM
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Jessica...don't mean to sound facetious, but if you're so concerned , leave the little girl at home under proper care. We took our three kids all over the USA and Canada, on camping trips and otherwise, but never overseas which we visited constantly without them. Frankly, we couldn't afford it moneywise. Always had some very capable women stay with them, including two sets of good old grandparents...never a worry. Now they are all older adults (52,50,46), with children of their own, and all are world travelers, using updated itineraries that we drew up at one time or another. Not one of them feel underprivileged because they were left behind back then...call us bad parents, if you will, but we don't buy it for a minute.

Stu T.
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