GPS tracking has allowed us to track our running and cycling work outs and helps us prevent car theft but probably the most important thing we can use GPS for is to keep our kids safe.  Whether that is simply finding them easily if they are prone to wandering off in the shops or if the worst happens being able to track them, as well as your kids being able so send a SOS message. GPS tracking offers us parents serious peace of mind, if your child has ever gone missing for a few minutes you know what I mean.

So what is GPS kids tracking? Basically through the use of either a smart watch or tracking device you can monitor the location of our children via an app on your smart phone.  Unfortunately the UK is way behind on the US with this new technology, there are loads of products that just aren’t available in the UK. The other problem is they are relatively expensive, although with new companies bringing out new products they are getting cheaper. The Chinese have been quick to jump on this market and there are loads of really cheap trackers on ebay but beware that they might not work in the UK.  If you are going to buy a cheap one from ebay make sure it is from a UK seller so if you have problems with set-up you can always get a refund. These products have to be supported by an App on your phone so it is worth getting one with a decent user interface.

The most important piece of advice we can give you is DO YOUR RESEARCH

When shopping for a GPS tracker the prices range from £12 for a dubious one from China, to £150 for top of the line smart watch. But most are about £70-100. Some are completely free of on going costs, while others have monthly contracts or require monthly sim card credit. If you have an older child that already has a smart phone the good new is that there are free apps to track them, also make sure you get an SOS app which has a one touch function that both sends you an alert they are in trouble along with their location.

Aside from cost, you have to think about what features you want.

The most important feature is real-time tracking. Some devices only ping locations every 1-5 minutes. If your child is lost or worse abducted a ping every minute of their location will be next to useless, as they might move 100yds in a minute or a mile if they have been abducted in a vehicle.

The next consideration is whether you want a wearable watch or a pocket/belt worn device. The watch option has the advantage of not being easily lost. The watch is harder to remove (a non-wearable tracking device can be snatched and thrown away in a second) and the simple fact that your child is wearing a smart watch should be a deterrent to potential child abductors. The only disadvantage is that because a watch is more overt child abductors will find it and get rid of it sooner, but this they will do this as soon as your child pulls out their tracker to press the SOS button too.

The other big feature to consider is whether it has voice calling, some only offer SOS alerts, but for day to day use it is handy to be able to talk to your kids, especially for those kids who wander off.

If you go on holiday overseas, it is worth finding out whether they will work overseas without roaming charges.

And many of them are not waterproof so getting one that is a consideration if your child loves a swim or gets seriously wet or messy in the course of being a child.

Other features like electronic fences that send you messages if your child leaves school during school hours or notifies you when they leave the park etc are great but are really up to personal preference and budget.

Lastly there are kids smart watches like Garmin vivofit Jr: activity tracker and the V-tech kidizoom that are just smart watches but DO NOT have live child tracking or SOS or safety functions etc they are not going to help keep your child safe.

Here are a couple of articles comparing kids trackers.

http://www.madeformums.com/reviews-and-shopping/9-tracker-devices-to-keep-tabs-on-your-child/39242.html

http://www.appcessories.co.uk/parental-peace-of-mind-the-best-gps-trackers-for-kids/

 

Remember as good as GPS tracking is, it won’t won’t teach your child to be aware of danger and it won’t train them how to deal with potential threats or if worst comes to worse how to escape from dangerous situations.