A trip to New York is every kid’s dream. There are so many exciting things to do, and so many iconic sights to see. Who could resist the allure? But any parent will have a nagging doubt when visiting a big city, especially one that sees as much action as New York: “Is it safe?” Establish some ground rules and make sure that every member of the family understands them and promises to abide by them.
In many big cities it is a good idea to dress like a local, and in the Big Apple, that means reasonably stylish. The important thing is not to dress in a way that will attract the attention of possible ill-wishers. Dress simply in comfortable clothing in which you can move fast if necessary.
Comfortable shoes are very important. Walking is the preferred way to get around in a city, and you don’t want to be incapacitated by painful shoes when you need to keep moving.
Take photos of your kids so that, in the event of getting separated, you can show the police what they look like. Better still, take a photo every morning; they can look very different in a different outfit or with a different hairstyle. With a photo showing them in the actual clothes they are wearing, they will be found much more quickly in an emergency.
You don’t want to spend all day in your hotel, but it is somewhere you will be able to relax and let them wander freely. Choose somewhere that has facilities they enjoy (swimming pool, games area, etc) and make it somewhere they are happy to retreat to.
Alternatively, use a hotel out of the center, so that you can have a break from the city life by doing something a bit more relaxing at times. Westchester County is a short ride from New York, and the Marriott Renaissance Westchester hotel is a comfortable refuge from the noise and bustle.
Whenever you are in an area where there is a risk of getting separated, appoint a place which you will head for if that happens. With younger children, take them to the place and show them. “Right here” is much easier for them to understand that than “By that pillar next to the big door over there.”
Agree that no valuables will be obviously on display at any time. Backpacks are best carried on the front to make them harder to pilfer. An important rule for older kids (and adults) is that no one wanders along using their phone. It is easy to steal and it also distracts the users and that can result in them getting lost.
Use Your Head
Most of the rules that keep you and your family safe are common sense. As long as you have ways to keep together and do not stray into areas that look obviously dodgy, you and your family will be able to enjoy the buzz of New York just like anyone else.