Even if you are a super-parent and have eyes in the back of your head, children have minds of their own and can sometimes wander away. While it’s hard to imagine this happening, it is important for your family to have a plan in case you need to react quickly to find a missing child, whether it’s on a family outing, field trip, or on the child’s way home from school.
One solution comes in the form of modern technology. There are now lightweight, wearable location devices designed specifically for kids. Safety wearables now come in a variety of convenient designs, from a disposable plastic band to a rechargeable watch that doubles as a cell phone.
With so many great options, it can be hard to find the wearable safety device that is perfect for your family’s needs and that fits your budget. Here are our top 10 contenders, in no particular order:
This wearable GPS device is the first of its kind. After Doron Somer’s autistic son was mistreated by a caretaker, AngelSense was born. Today, it’s the only wearable GPS tracker on the market made for special needs children.
AngelSense is entirely unique and comes with many features typical GPS devices do not. For one, you can use the app to “listen in” to your child’s device and hear what’s happening around them. You may also set perimeters and get alerts if your child travels outside of boundaries, see what your child did throughout the day (at 30 second intervals), and magnetically attach this device to clothing if your child has sensory issues. For parents with special need kids, this is a revolutionary tracker.
“AngelSense has provided me with the ability to locate my son at any time, even in the densely crowded landscape of New York City. Every day I listen-in to hear his interaction with his teachers and friends at school. Once he’s home, we go over the diary together and I show him the Google map pictures of where he’s been that day; it’s a special time where we talk about his day together.” – AngelSense review
- Only Device Made For Kids With Special Needs. AngelSense is the only wearable GPS tracker made for kids with special needs. It has tons of features tailored to them.
- Loop In School. You can provide school officials with a special interface so they can help keep your special needs child safe too.
- Listen-In. You can listen in to your child’s device to hear what’s happening around them.
- 30-Second Updates. See what your child has been up to with diary logs that input data every 30 seconds.
- Contact List. Set up contacts who will be alerted if your child goes missing or is in trouble.
- Retrieval. If your child is missing, you can get 10-second live updates and projections on which direction they’re moving in.
- Safety Zone. Set up designated areas your child is allowed to be in and get alerts if they travel away from those zones.
- App. Manage your child’s safety from your smartphone.
- Price. The monthly service charge and initial device price are steep. However, this is a highly sophisticated device that has saved lives of special needs children.
- No Digital Display.
- No Communication. You can’t talk to your child through this device.
Standout Feature: AngelSense is the only device on the market for children with special needs. Its functions go far beyond what traditional GPS trackers can do.
2. FiLIP 2
The FiLIP 2 is a wrist watch, GPS locator, and cell phone that works with an accompanying iOS or Android application. Its modern, lightweight, water-resistant design makes it a top choice in the children’s wearables market. FiLIP Technology released this new model in September 2014, making some significant improvements to the original design that make the device much more comfortable to wear on small wrists.
“We have an amazing, passionate customer base of parents and kids who shared a lot of great ideas on how we can improve FiLIP,” Jonathan Peachey, CEO of FiLIP Technology, said. “We took their suggestions to heart and have incorporated many of them into FiLIP 2.
- Multi-Functioning. This is a watch, phone, and GPS device all in one.
- FiLIP App. You can track your child and stay in touch from your phone.
- Kid-Friendly. The FiLIP 2 features a kid-friendly band. It can be worn open or closed and adjusted with spacers to remain comfortable as your child grows, making the device much more durable and functional.
- Emergency Button. If your child is in trouble, he/she can hold down a red button and it’ll call the primary contact for help and shoot you information about your child’s location.
- Waterproof. No need to worry about it breaking if it gets wet.
- Two-Way Texting. This is the only device of its kind on the market right now that allows for two-way text messaging.
- Safe Zones. You can set perimeters so you know if your child travels outside of a designated area.
Digital Display. Your child will be able to see who’s calling on a large digital screen.
- Style. It comes in four kid-approved colors: blue, green, orange, and red.
- Expensive. FiLIP 2 pricing comes in at $149.99
- Limited Contacts. This device only allows you to add five contacts.
- Additional Phone Service. In order to take advantage of texting, you’ll need to buy a $10/month AT&T data
- Only Works With AT&T. You need an AT&T plan to get cellular services on this device. It’s not offered with other carriers.
- Iffy Location Services. There have been complaints that the application only updates your child’s location every 15 minutes, and that the location services are not as accurate as expected. However, the most recent updates include the ability to change this frequency.
- Limited Functions. The device only allows you to store and contact five numbers. It also only has one ringtone, which seems very limited for the cost.
Standout Feature: You’ll get a watch, phone, and GPS tracker with this device. No other wearables on this list have all three functions—including digital display.
Tinitell, a single-button wrist phone and GPS/Bluetooth locator that makes calls using voice recognition, is a great middle ground for parents who want voice connection with their children without the bells and whistles of similar products. Tinitell got its start as a successful Kickstarter campaign that exceeded funding goals by over $40,000. It comes with an accompanying iOS and Android application and can be used with a SIM card from any cell service provider—giving you greater freedom of choice.
“Tinitell’s long-term advantage is that it’s always going to be the most simple option on the market,” CEO and Founder of Tinitell, Mats Horn, said. He is also proud that Tinitell “will work with any cell carrier in the world.”
- Sleek Design. Choose from four chic colors that are more mature than typical kid accessories.
- Easy To Use. Your child can operate this watch/phone/GPS locator easily. With a large button, they can answer and make calls. Knowledge of numbers and letters is not required to operate the call function; your child simply pushes the button and says the name of the person they want to contact.
- Up to 12 Contacts. You can store a lot of numbers—unlike many competitors that limit contacts to less than half of this.
- Multiple Ringtones. Unlike other brands, you can choose from a variety of ringtones.
- Durable. The device is waterproof, radiation-proof, and has a battery that can hold a charge for up to a week.
- App. Download the Tinitell app to monitor your child from your phone.
- Price. Its price is also on the steep end. It started at $129.99, but now retails for $149.
- Data Service Fee. Depending on the carrier you choose, you could pay a decent amount for monthly cellular service. Tinitell has nothing to do with this and can’t help regulate pricing.
- Not Digital. It has easy to use buttons, but no digital display.
Standout Feature: This is the sleekest design we’ve seen.
4. hereO GPS Watch
The hereO is a watch with GPS and GSM location services. It is another crowdfunding superstar that raised 216 percent of its funding goal on INDIEGOGO and shipped its first batch to consumers in December 2014.
For parents who want GPS location, but aren’t keen on cell phone functions, it’s a great choice. However, the device still does use the cellular network. With a built-in SIM card, hereO’s GPS watch utilizes the signal of varying carriers, so you have to pay a monthly fee of $4.95. However, this fee goes directly to hereO, so you won’t need to open up a new contract.
“The concept behind the hereO watch is certainly one any parent can get behind, and the design and size are ideal for children, unlike other personal GPS locators.” – Michael Radon, 2014
- Durable. The hereO watch is water-resistant and made of kid-friendly material.
- Stylish. Choose from four vibrant colors: strawberry, blueberry, lemon, and grape.
- Tamper Alert/Lock. It has a tamper alert feature that notifies all family members when the device is removed and an additional lock feature for children prone to removing with the device.
- Real-Time Tracking. Use the hereO app to get real-time updates of your childrens’ locations.
- Small Enough For 3-Year Olds. This device can be worn by children as young as three.
- Watch Display. This functions as a watch with a time display.
- No Cellular Function. While it uses cellular network to get GPS information, hereO’s device doesn’t have a phone connection to allow you to speak to your child.
Extra Monthly Charge. You’ll get the first three months free, then you’ll be charged $4.95/month.
Short Battery Life. The battery life of the hereO watch is only 48 hours.
- Expensive. Its steep price tag is a sticking point for some parents, considering it does not offer two-way calling.
Standout Feature: The built-in SIM card uses cell phone towers of all carriers, so you can always keep track of your children.
5. My Buddy Tag
For parents who want a lower-cost alternative to a wearable GPS device, let us introduce you to My Buddy Tag. It isn’t GPS per-se, but it does utilize Bluetooth to monitor your child’s whereabouts. All you need to do is download the app and set safety zones. Then, you’ll be alerted if your child travels out of bounds. It also has a unique feature that alerts parents when the wristband is submerged in water for five consecutive seconds, so if you have a pool this can help keep your kids safe.
Willie Wu, creator of My Buddy Tag, had this to say: “My Buddy Tag helps prevent accidental drowning. There is no other device out there can also alert you when your child accidentally falls into a pool or lake.”
- Affordable. You can buy this for about $40.
- Simultaneous Tracking. If you have several children, you can track them simultaneously and identify each tag by name using the application.
- Waterproof. The My Buddy Tag is waterproof, so you won’t need to concern yourself about it getting wet.
- Color Choices. Choose from colors that are fun, but not as stylish as other models.
- Material Options. My Buddy tag makes Velcro and terry cloth wristbands in addition to their silicones devices. They’re lightweight compared with a GPS device and have places to physically write contact information.
- Long Lasting Battery. This lithium battery is designed to work for one year.
- Limited Range. The range for the device is 40 feet indoors, and 80-120 feet outdoors, so it is limited. It’s not like other GPS tracking devices that can tell you where your child is on a map. It uses Bluetooth to monitor their whereabouts.
- So-So Design. The wristbands leave a bit to be desired aesthetically. Other models have put much more thought into the style and function of their devices.
- Not Rechargeable. The battery is built-in, but it lasts up to one year.
- No Phone Or Communication. You won’t be able to talk to your child through this device.
- No Digital Display.
Standout Feature: You can make your child more comfortable by giving them a velcro wristband instead of a silicon device.
This device uses GSM and GPS to keep track of where your child is. It’s a smart choice for those searching for an extremely rugged location device that can be worn on the wrist or dropped in a backpack or pocket. If your child is prone to removing or breaking wearables, the PocketFinder is about as accident-proof as wearables come. The company also manufactures these devices for pets, seniors, and cars.
“Our product is made with the same plastic used in riot shields, and can withstand a trip through the washer and dryer,” Dave Morse, V.P. of Customer Service at Location-Based Technologies, said.
- App. Download the app to keep tabs and get alerts about your child.
- Lots Of Updates. This device updates your child’s location every two minutes.
- Good For Travel. PocketFinder is an excellent choice for those who travel abroad. They offer both a domestic (United States, Canada and Mexico) monthly service plan for $12.95, as well as an international plan for $29.95. If you know you are going on vacation, you can choose to modify your plan for as little as a week at a prorated cost.
- Safe Zone Alerts. If your child travels outside of a predetermined perimeter, you’ll get an alert through your app.
- Long Battery Life. PocketFinder boasts a battery life of up to four days before you have to recharge.
- Pet Options. You can buy these devices that are made specifically for pets—keeping your furry children safe too.
- Clunky. The PocketFinder can appear somewhat clunky when compared to similar devices, and might not be the best choice for a child who prefers to wear the device on the wrist rather than in a pocket or backpack. While the device is rugged, it is not as sleek and comfortable as many devices of the same price.
- Expensive. This is a pricey device with an expensive monthly service plan.
- No Cellular Option. You won’t be able to talk to your child through this device.
- No Other Functions. This doesn’t work as a watch or communication device. It only uses GPS to track your child.
- No Digital Display.
Standout Feature: This is the only international, wearable GPS tracking device for children that we’ve come across.
Arguably the most affordable option on the market, the Lineable is a $10-$15 Bluetooth-powered location device engineered to last approximately one year from the time of purchase. Its minimalist design and no-charging-required battery life make it an obvious choice for parents who want a bare-bones location device for the playground or a trip to the mall. Anyone with the Lineable Application that is within range of the device can assist parents in locating their missing child using what the company calls “Crowdsource GPS.” While this is a unique and trailblazing function, it only works if people actually download the app. Otherwise, the network isn’t as strong as other devices that utilize cell phone towers and WiFi.
“The Crowdsourcing GPS feature Lineable uses as its working system encourages not only the parents but also the general public to actively engage in making a safer world for kids by simply using the Lineable app,” Jane Kim, Lineable Marketing Manager, said.
- Affordable. The low price (only $12 on Amazon) helps Lineable stand out from the competition, offering an extremely economical solution for parents on a budget.
- App. Download an app to set safety zones and be alerted if your child travels outside this area.
- Durable. The device is waterproof, and coated in Silicone for comfortable, longlasting wear.
- Long Battery Life. This battery lasts for one year.
- Colorful. You can choose from light blue, white, pink, or orange wristbands.
- Limited Tracking. The tracking range of the Lineable is somewhat limited, as with other Bluetooth devices. You can locate your child within 65-98 feet, depending on environment.
- GPS Crowdsourcing. The device is designed to use GPS Crowdsourcing, so it can only pinpoint your child’s location is another Lineable app user is nearby. Once more people have this device and app, the accuracy will increase. Anyone can download the app to increase the power of the network.
- No Communication. You won’t be able to call or text with your child through this device.
- No Digital Display. It’s a plain silicon bracelet only made with tracking capabilities.
Standout Feature: This is the cheapest wearable GPS tracker for children that we’ve found and uses a network of Lineable app users to locate lost children.
8. Amber Alert GPS Locator
The Amber Alert GPS Locator is a safety device that offers two-way voice communication through an embedded SIM card from AT&T. You can either pay a monthly fee to Amber Alert directly, or go through AT&T. This device is unique because it’s the only one that will alert you if your child is in close proximity to a sex offender. It’s water-resistant and can be worn around your child’s neck with a lanyard, on the wrist, or placed in your child’s backpack.
“Given that our society has changed so much, with dual working parents and the emphasis on child safety, we hope to bring a little peace of mind to parents and a little bit of freedom to youngsters who are too young for a cell phone,” Mary Anne Keegan, CMO of Amber Alert GPS, said.
- App. Set contacts, boundaries, check in on your child, and more from your phone.
- Sex Offender Alerts. The Amber Alert GPS is the only safety location device that sends parents an alert when their child is within 500 feet of a registered sex offender.
- Updated Location Tracking. This device updates your child’s location every five minutes.
- Safe Zones. Program up to 20 safe zones to monitor your child’s security.
- Speed Detection. Set speed alerts so you’ll know if your child is driving too fast or with someone who is driving recklessly.
Silent Mode. When your kid is at school, he/she can silence this device.
- Colorful. Pick from pink, green, blue, or black.
- Expensive. Amber Alert costs $125 for the device. You’ll need to buy an additional monthly service package too. You can opt for either $15/month for 150 SMS text alerts or $18/month for 300. Both packages include 2-way voice, alerting via voice, text, e-mail and GPS tracking. You can opt-out of text alerts by purchasing the device from AT&T directly for $10/month.
- Contacts. The device is limited in that it allows for only one primary voice contact.
- Shorter Battery. This lasts up to 40 hours—shorter than most.
- No Digital Display. Most GPS devices in this price point have digital displays. Amber Alert does not.
- No Communication. You can’t talk to your child through this device.
Standout Feature: Amber Alert GPS is the only device that alerts you if your child is close to a sex offender.
9. Revolutionary Tracker
Revolutionary Tracker identifies as “the first standalone wearable GPS enabled smartphones.”
When you purchase tracking devices from Revolutionary Tracker, you’ll get GPS tracking through their own cellular network. When you’re not using them to monitor loved ones, you can enjoy their time-keeping function. While this is a very new company (They plan to ship their first line of products out in Fall 2016), their product is one consumers should get excited about.
“It’s a wearable GPS-enabled smartphone that targets the family. It doesn’t want to be all things to all people. It’s a simple one-touch companion that gives loved ones the comfort of knowing a family member’s location and status. – Revolutionary Tracker
- Children, Pets, And Elderly. These devices were made for children, seniors, and pets—so you can keep your whole family safe.
- Ways To Wear. You can snap these on, put them in your pocket, or wear them as bracelets and necklaces.
- Designs. You can choose from different colors and patterns.
- Communication. You can talk to your loved ones through this device. It functions as a phone, watch, and GPS tracker.
- Expensive. Each device costs $199 and there is a $25/month service charge with a one-year contract.
- New Company. As of May 2016, these devices were in a pre-order state and slated to ship in the fall. You could experience disruptions as they get the ball rolling.
Standout Feature: When you buy something from Revolutionary Tracker, 5% of profits go to charity.
This device works for children and pets in 33 countries. You can set speed alerts, proximity alerts, and monitor your child’s location through an app. The installation is easy. These devices clip onto a belt or belt loop so they can be worn daily. Each TraxPlay comes with a built-in SIM card and a monthly data plan. However, the cost of the device and monthly service charge are much lower than similar products, so it’s a great buy.
- Affordable. For a device like this, you’d expect to pay a lot more a month and for the device itself. It’s much cheaper than others in its category.
- Speed Alerts. Get alerts if your child goes above a predetermined speed. That way, you’ll know if they’re driving too fast or if the person chauffeuring them is being risky.
- Safe Zones. Set up areas where your child is permitted and get alerts if they travel outside these zones.
- Travels Well. Enjoy full functionality in 33 countries.
- Tracks Pets. You can keep your animals safe too with devices made just for them.
- Durable. We wouldn’t submerge this wearable GPS, but it is water-resistant.
- Low Battery. It’s recommended you charge this device every day.
- Not a Bracelet. This is clip-on, which could be a problem depending on outfit choice.
- No Digital Display.
- No Communication. You can’t talk to your child through this device.
Standout Feature: This is the smallest GPS tracker at 55x38x10 mm.
As a parent, you have enough to worry about when it comes to keeping your children safe. Take a load off your worry-meter by choosing one of these 12 wearable GPS trackers for kids. While we hope you never have to use them in an emergency, they’ll be there to help if you do.
Still don’t see the device you’re looking for?