Italy with an infant

Old Jan 8th, 2003, 02:45 PM
  #1  
Brian
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Italy with an infant

We are looking at traveling to Italy (Rome, Florence and Tuscany) with our little girl who will be 13 months old at that time.
We have recently been told horror stories about traveling in Europe with children (children not welcome in restaurants and hotels) and have our own concerns about the ease of traveling with an infant.
Can any of you share any stories, suggestions and comments on traveling with children (both positive and negative and anything from car seat rental to what to do about bringing/buying food and diapers)
Thanks
 
Old Jan 8th, 2003, 03:11 PM
  #2  
Grinisa
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On the whole, Italians love children, adore them actually, so I doubt you will find hotels and restaurants unwelcoming. My experience has been that both hotels and restaurants will go out of their way to accomodate children and their needs. I would bring my own carseat because you will need it on the plane anyway and it can be difficult to rent carseats of the appropriate size. For instance, most 13 month olds are over 20 pounds, too big for an infant car seat, yet that is what Hertz gave us for a four year old. Even when we specifically reserved a booster seat. And that infant seat was filthy. A jogging stroller would be great to have too if you want to lug it along. They are best for negotiating those cobblestones and cracks that seem to be a magnet for the wheels of an umbrella stroller. One advantage to taking a very young child is that you could forget the stroller altogether and use a child back carrier. If your daughter eats pasta then food shouldn't be a problem and you can buy baby food in Italian stores as well as Pampers.
 
Old Jan 8th, 2003, 04:14 PM
  #3  
Suzanne
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I am not sure what "horror stories" you have heard but it definitely sounds like misinformation. I have traveled 3 times with my little daughter: in June 2000 when she was 5 months old; Sept 2001 when she was 19 months old; then again 2 weeks ago at age 2 1/2 yrs. There has NEVER been a problem anywhere we have gone. We have been warmly received wherever we have eaten and stayed. Ask the hotels in advance for a letto piccolo (small bed) or a crib and there is no additional charge for it. You will have to exercise your judgment and perhaps sitting on the terrace or near the front area of the ristorante or trattoria is best, to allow for an early "escape" should your little one decide to start crying or fuss. Diapers, wipes, baby shampoo, lotions, etc are all available at stores throughout Italy. I picked up most my stuff from Coop 5, but any supermercato will have your baby needs. Save yourself the rental fees and bring your own carseat from the U.S. At the airport, check it in as baggage (put it in a big Hefty plastic bag to protect it) and then they will give it to you upon arrival at your destination/gate. The same can be done with your stroller. We used trains so no cars were needed involving car seats. Overall, you will have a wonderful time and there is no need to worry.
 
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 05:09 AM
  #4  
Alice Twain
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Regardin trains, remeber that as long as the baby is under 2 or 3 years of age (check it out as you arrive in Italy) are not required to buy a ticket, although this means that you can't book a seat for the child (he can sit on your lap). Kids under 12 years of age pay half the price, besides there is the "family" offer that allows 2 people and one child under 12 years to travel toghether (they do not have to give evidence that they are a family) with a substantial and furhter disount (the child travels for free, as a matter of facts).
 
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 06:46 AM
  #5  
paul
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Brian,
I'm glad you asked this question. My wife and I have a seven-month-old and are hoping to go to Italy sometime later this year. We usually go once a year, but had to miss it of course last year. Anyway, my point is: Have a great trip, and when you return, try to report back here on your trip and share any tips. Also: thanks to those who responded already; although having been to Italy I knew that children are loved there, I wasn't sure about some of details surrounding infant care.
 
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 06:55 AM
  #6  
xxx
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After travelling all over Europe with an infant, in my view Italy is by far the best country in Europe for babies, although we have never had a serious problem anywhere. Many restaurants will have high chairs unlike elsewhere. When we were there, often restaurant staff would want to feed or entertain our son and many times they brought him into the kitchen to show the chef (this requires a bit of faith for the parents).
 
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 07:02 AM
  #7  
Karen
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Brian -

We have taken our 4 year old three times starting at 9 months, and our 2 year old last fall when she was about 20 months old. We have had wonderful experiences with both of them. We have traveled with them in France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. We have been welcomed everywhere, probably more so than in most places in the States. I do ask at each hotel if they are OK with children, and only 2 hotels (which were rather small and expensive) said there was no problem.

I agree about taking your own car seat. We also always have traveled with diapers and food, although both are readily available over there. I just like the brands we use. You tend to find pampers most everywhere, but do not find huggies. They are also more expensive. It all depends if you are going to have a car or not. We always picked up a car on arrival, so it was just as easy to pack a box of diapers and food and leave it in the car. Good luck.
 
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 07:12 AM
  #8  
Nancy
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Getting there is half the fun! We made the mistake (I wouldn't leave our 14 month old with loving grandparents) of taking our little one to Italy last year. The flight from Denver to Chicago wasn't too bad, but our baby cried virtually non stop all the way from Chicago to Rome. There was nothing we could do to quiet her down. I could have crawled under a seat. Most people tried to be nice, but many people were down right rude and gave us dirty looks and made under their breath comments as we de-planed in Rome. She was a perfect angel the whole time in Italy, but it started again on the plane back home, but not as bad, thank God. She wasn't teething and had no ear problems that we were aware of. I would think long and hard about taking a little one on a long plane ride again.
 
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 07:19 AM
  #9  
trying
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Forgive me if I missed something, but I believe most flights require that an infant/toddler have an FAA approved car seat for the flight, if the child has his/her own seat. I would strongly advise against trying to carry a child of that age for 6-10 hours (assuming you are flying from the US). So you should, I think, have a car seat with you (not checked). I have heard (anecdotal 9sp?)) horror stories about parents arriving for their flights without a car seat and not be allowed to fly.... Maybe airlines are now providing carseats, but they haven't when I flew.
 
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 09:52 AM
  #10  
Cristina
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You can find most everything you need here but 2 things they do not have are Desitin and Tylenol (for kids or adults) so if you use either, bring them along.
 
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 10:31 AM
  #11  
Monica
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Definitely buy the child a seat (should be half price) and bring your carseat! If for some reason you don't buy a seat, don't check the carseat--baggage handlers have been known to damage them through rough handling rendering them unsafe. Instead gate check it, along with your stroller. I really don't think you will have any problems--we took our daughter to London when she was your daughter's age and she did great. We just couldn't eat in restaurants at night because that is her fussy time so we did a lot of grocery store meals in the hotel room (thank you Tesco Metro!).
 
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 10:32 AM
  #12  
Alice Twain
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Desitin is basically a zinc oxide cream, like many you can find for sale in Italy. You can have your pick between Oz (10% like Desitin), MIlanasana pasta (50%), Mister Baby (10%), Fissan (various concentration), Trofo 5, Vitamindermina, Babygella (10%), Penaten etc. As for Tylenol, its active principle is acetaminophen, that's to say paracetamol which in Italy is sold as Tachipirina, also for pediatric use.
 
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 02:31 PM
  #13  
Brian
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Thanks to all who have replied so far. You've eased our minds a little bit and given us some good suggestions/advice.
One more question regarding acommodations with babies in Italy. What do you recommend as far as hotels. Should we be looking at major hotels or places with kitchenettes. Just wondering what's available.
 
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 04:25 AM
  #14  
Alice Twain
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I do not like hotels, but no hotel's kitchen or bar in Italy will refure to warm some milk or water for you to prepare baby food for your child, even at strange hours of the day and night.
 
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 05:35 AM
  #15  
Cristina
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Alice,

While there are some items that are similar to desitin and Tylenol, they are not the same! There are a lot of things here that are similar but they are not what some of us are used to and because of this things can go wrong (like allergic reactions which could ruin a perfectly good vacation). I never found a cream here in Italy that worked (and used one that burned my child's skin so bad we had to go to the hospital!) so my sister sent me desitin from the states and never had a problem again. I put it on and it clears up the rash. As for Tylenol, have you ever tried giving a small child something new? Trust me, my oldest is 4 and I have been trying to give her tachiperina but to no avail. She wants Tylenol. Also, quite frequently the pharmacy here will give the suppositories but those are even harder to get a child to use. My advice was that if they use those items they should bring them. If they don't use them then no problem but if they do, they could possibly run into problems.
 
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 06:01 AM
  #16  
mel
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Ditto for buying the 1/2price seat and bringing the carseat on the plane. I've travel a lot w/ my 2.5 year old ever since he was an infant and one aborted takeoff was enough to convince me of that! Plus they are used to sitting in the car in one, so they will be more likely to stay in their seat and sleep while in a carseat. If you are still not convinced, try an experiment at home, sitting your girl on your lap not in front of the tv and see how long she will stay- probably not close to 6 hours... If you can't afford the seat, then do not check your carseat, but bring it to the gate- you can gate check it with the stroller. OR better yet, if they have an extra seat you can bring it on board and use it. And if (still with the theory of not buying a seat for the babe) you haven't booked tickets yet, request seats for you and your wife with a center empty seat between you- that will give you the best chances of having an empty seat if the planes not sold out. Plus- even if that seat sells, nobody would want to sit there and will gladly move to another empty seat, if available. I always smile and use the line "Sorry that it's your lucky day to sit near us, my son is usually really good on a plane, but if you want to move to another empty seat I will completely understand!" I always am the last to board: that preboarding call for people traveling with small children: ignore it and board last. That's close to 30 minutes less that your child will have to sit on the plane. Minimize your carryons.
For toys: SMALL (3"x3"), never-read-before, open the flap boardbooks are great, as is a roll of scotch tape for her to do with what she will. I would bring drugs and diaper ointment because that involves a small amt of space and just buy diaps and wipes over there.
Also- I would probably go withthe backpack or maybe the new stroller/backpacks (I haven't used one of those) umbrella stroller wheels are just not great on cobbles.
You'll do great!!
 
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 06:53 AM
  #17  
papa
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When we traveled with our then 6 month old, took not a hot plate but one of those small tea or water boilers (little tin urn that will boil water). Some people bring immersible (sp?) heating elements. That way we could boil water for use in formula (which was probably way overprotective!).
 
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 07:29 AM
  #18  
Alice Twain
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Cristina, are you very sure you asked for a zinc oxide cream? Since the formulation of most of these creams is exactly the same (only the name changes) it is very uncommon to find such problems. As for Tachipirina, if your child complains about taking a medicine, you just stop his nose and have him gulp it down Taking a medicine is something one MUST do, grown-up or child. If he really heeds the medicine you have him swallow it no matter how.
 
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 08:06 AM
  #19  
Cristina
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Alice,

Yes about the creams. I tried all that you mentioned I am pretty sure. The trofo is the one that burnt my child. Allergic reaction to one of the chemicals. That's all it takes.

As for meds. It is obvious from your response that you and I differ in our parenting ways. I do not know if you have children though. If it was a serious illness and my child needed medicine then of course I would make sure that said child got it. But that is normally following a doctor visit. For something like Tylenol, that is given for a tooth ache or a fever, I am not going to stress my child out by forcing her to take medicine.

As I said in my last post, the point you seemed to have missed, if the parent and child are used to a simple cure then they should bring that cure with them. There is no need to risk an allergic reaction on a vacation. Do you have any idea what would happen if a parent staying in the middle of the Chianti in a nice old villa with no neighbors happened to give their child a simple med that the child had an allergic reaction to? Let's say this is late at night. They don't speak Italian and they are 30 minutes away from the hospital (which, by the way, of course they have no idea where it is). What do they do???? Why risk something like that?
 
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