Although it may not be the most glamorous part of your travel arrangements for your Italy family holiday, careful planning for the event of an emergency is as important while on holiday as it is at home, especially for those with young children. The following simple precautions and tips for emergency preparedness while traveling in Italy with children could be lifesaving:
Police: phone 113. Ambulance: phone 118. Fire brigade: phone 115.
– At home, our family has a “meeting place” outside, which is where we instruct our children to wait for us if we have to evacuate the house due to an emergency like fire or earthquake. It is also a good idea to create a meeting place for the kids at your vacation rental, somewhere safe where they know they must wait until a responsible adult in their party or emergency personnel join them. This can prevent children from wandering off and getting lost in an emergency situation, or even worse, heading back into a dangerous site.
– If your child does not have your cell phone number in use abroad memorized, write the international number on masking tape and affix it to something your child is wearing or carrying.
– For both urban and rural areas abroad, assess the terrain and formulate an idea of how to conduct a safe evacuation in the event of emergencies like flood or fire. Take the example of a villa stay in the countryside amid rolling foothills on a secluded farm at the end of a one-lane, unpaved road… be sure you inquire about other means of access/exit on the property in the event of a fire. Many of these properties do connect to other roads via old fire or tractor trails. For lodging in the city, traffic may be a consideration. Assess the location of your hotel or apartment and discuss the best possible evacuation routes with at least one other responsible adult in your party.
– Be sure to have one responsible adult in your group carry a first-aid kit. This will not only save you the trouble of scouting out Neosporin at a foreign pharmacy; simple first aid materials can be a crucial first response in the event of medical emergencies (but never hesitate to call an ambulance if needed).
Finally, relax and enjoy your holiday knowing that should an emergency arise, your family is prepared to handle it.
Author Shannon Kenny is the Founding Editor of Italiakids.com, Director of the Arte al Sole children’s arts and cultural programs in Italy, and Founding Partner of Elaia Travel, a boutique travel concierge specializing in custom travel to Italy and Europe.