Are AirTags the Best Way To Keep Tabs On Kids And Pets?

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AirTag on Child's Backpack, A Tracking Device to keep track of your stuff stock photo

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Whether you've lost your keys in your house or your luggage at the airport, missing items are no joke. Apple AirTags are designed to take the pain out of looking for lost belongings. Measuring 1.26 inches and weighing .39 ounces, an AirTag can slide onto your keyring or tuck into your wallet for constant tracking.

But if AirTags work great on objects, why not attach them to your pet's collar or your child's wrist? Before you make that leap, knowing the pros and cons is essential.

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Pros of putting AirTags on pets and kids

Although AirTags are made to track items—not children and pets—parents gravitate toward them for a reason. A few reasons, actually. Here are some advantages of using AirTags to track your loved ones.

1. It's an affordable option

AirTags aren't the only tracking tool you can buy, but they're among the cheapest. These tiny devices cost $29 each, or $99 for a set of four. You can buy enough to track your favorite objects, people, and pets.

2. You can easily track near your house (or iPhone)

Apple's AirTag uses the Find My network, which is included on every Apple device. If there's a MacBook, iPhone, or iPad nearby, it can detect an AirTag. That works great if your child or pet tends to get lost in well-populated areas. Your fence-hopping German Shepherd won't get far—as long as some of your neighbors have devices on the Find My network.

3. They're simple and straightforward

Some parents choose AirTags as a precursor to equipping children with a cell phone or smartwatch. For younger children who might not yet be ready to carry a smartphone around, an AirTag can be a great monitoring tool. Best of all, with an AirTag, you don't have to worry about your child's online searches or social media use.

4. They don't need recharging

No matter how good your tracker is, if the battery dies, it's useless. The AirTag needs no charging, although you'll likely need to replace its battery after a year or so. You'll get a notification on your iPhone when it's time to switch it out.

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Check out a kids smartwatch for advanced safety

We recommend using a kids smartwatch like our top pick, Angel Watch, if you want a reliable way to keep track of your kiddo while still protecting them from social media and other online safety issues.

  • No internet, app store, or games
  • 3-second SOS button
  • Discreet audio and visual check-ins

Learn more about Angel Watch or check out the other kids smartwatches we tested with real parents and kids.

Cons of putting AirTags on pets and kids

Before you order your first tracker, there are a few disadvantages. Apple itself has stated that the tags are meant to track objects, not people. That doesn't mean you can't use them. It's just important to consider the risks.

1. Tracking is limited

You'll be notified that the item was left behind when you become separated from your tracker. It will give the last known location to help you find it. But you won't see a real-time update of objects on the move.

There's a reason for that. AirTags only communicate with other devices in the Find My network. If your tag is in an area with no other Apple devices, you won't see it. When you're relying on electronics to track down a beloved family member, those gaps in coverage can be a big problem.

2. They could be hazardous

Could an AirTag be a choking hazard? Apple seems to think so. The company warns, "AirTag, the battery cover, and the battery might present a choking hazard or cause other injury to small children." If your child could chew or swallow the AirTag, it's worth treating it like any other choking hazard.

As you can imagine, those same warnings also apply to pets. Dogs like to chew on things, so attaching a 1.26-inch battery-powered device to Fido's collar could pose a risk. In fact, a report from the Wall Street Journal revealed that vets have seen quite a few AirTags in pet digestive systems. A microchip implanted beneath the pet's skin is a better tracking method.

3. They're easily removed

Microchips are so effective in pets because they can't be dislodged. Compare that to a tracker on a collar, which can easily be lost while dogs and cats are heading off on their adventures.

That's even more the case with children, who can choose to remove the device. As parents have begun turning to AirTags for tracking, manufacturers have designed devices to hold them. You can find everything from wristbands to lanyards. Those are likely more secure than attaching it to a backpack or a bicycle, but depending on them is still tricky.

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Find a tamper-proof GPS tracker

Some GPS trackers have anti-tamper features if you’re worried kids might remove it. AngelSense was designed for kids with disabilities and has features to avoid tampering and address sensitivity issues. Other trackers or watches have tamper-proof straps available. 

4. Tracking is their only feature

AirTags aren't the only game in town. You'll find plenty of kid-geared trackers on the market. As you shop around, the AirTag's limitations quickly become apparent. An SOS button is one of the most significant features missing from an AirTag. With this feature, your child can press a button to ward off danger or connect to help.

If you're shopping for a pet tracker, the AirTag also falls short in that area. Other trackers offer features like health monitoring and waterproofing. The AirTag is water resistant but not waterproof, which can be problematic when your pet is out in the elements.

While AirTags can be used to track children and pets, it's important to be aware of the risks. As you're weighing the pros and cons, consider alternatives that might serve the same purpose without the disadvantages. But if you're looking for a great way to track your material possessions, AirTags definitely have their benefits.

Stephanie Faris
Written by
Stephanie Faris

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