Keeping track of youngsters gets more challenging with the school year back in full swing—even during a pandemic. To help navigate this tricky time, we updated our school safety guide for kids with new tips for success during the novel coronavirus.
Bottom line: Keep tabs on kiddos without interfering with their day
We chose AngelSense as our top pick for its unique features. Its clothing locks keep the tracker secured to their bag or clothing throughout the day. It’s also screenless, so it won’t distract your little one in class or on the playground.
AngelSense’s app is full of parent-friendly features like frequent updates, virtual fences, and the ability to include other caregivers like teachers and grandparents.
In our tests, we found the best GPS trackers for kids instill confidence in parents and eliminate distractions for kids. So while location accuracy was crucial, features like screen size and time were also accounted for.
That said, kids can still benefit from games or activity tracker features on products like smartwatches that keep them entertained. It was important to us that these trackers were easy to carry too, so we also took size and range into account.
AngelSense GPS tracker was created with one purpose in mind: to help protect children with special needs. But it works for any little ones.
Beyond the plethora of tracking capabilities—from safety-zone setup to 30-second updates—AngelSense’s Listen-In function lets parents listen to how their child’s day is going, ensuring they’re not mistreated, neglected, or lost.
AngelCall two-way voice
Location updates every 30 seconds
High monthly fees
With AngelCall two-way voice, you can talk to your child at any time, and they don’t need to worry about buttons or clicking on anything to chat. Plus, you can see what your child has been up to with diary logs that input data every 30 seconds.
AngelSense’s great features do come at a price. Plans start around $30 and go up from there, depending on whether you pay up front or in installments.
Read one mom’s full review of the AngelSense GPS Tracker for kids.
Get the AngelSense device for free
Parents with children who wander know that stay-at-home orders won’t always keep their kids safe inside. For a limited time, AngelSense is offering its device free of charge—you only have to pay the monthly subscription costs!
AngelSense has also added new features like a step counter, late arrivals and departures alerts, and a longer battery life.
Standout feature: Regular updates
AngelSense sends consistent updates throughout your day, so you can check in, listen in, and hold onto your peace of mind while your kids go about their day.
“My son eloped from school! We knew right away and found him so quickly!!”
Relay delivers the convenience and reassurance of a smartphone without all the distractions.
This innovative take on a kids’ smartphone has GPS tracking, nationwide coverage, and one-touch communication. But its lack of a screen means you won’t have to monitor their screen time.
It also includes customizable channels that let you set up individual or group chats. That means your child can reach Mom, Dad, or the whole family with the touch of one button. And there are a few fun features like a music player and a voice changer with sound effects.
There are no long-term contracts with the Relay, so you pay for service only as long as you want it. The customized channels make it easy for your child to stay in touch with everyone.
Individual and group chats
No distracting games or apps
If you have more than one child with a Relay, you can set up chats with each of them individually or create a group to call them all in for dinner with the touch of one button.
This screenless GPS tracker for kids cuts down on the distraction and delivers only the most essential elements for communication and peace of mind you need.
One downside is that the Relay isn’t wearable. Your child will have to carry it with them in a pocket or backpack, which means you have to count on them to remember it wherever they go.
The GizmoWatch 2 is a slick smartwatch packed with features for kids and parents to enjoy. They can text and call you from their watch, track their steps, and set reminders for their day.
The newest version of the GizmoWatch comes with space for 10 programmed numbers for family, neighbors and trusted friends. If your child finds themselves in an emergency or wants to to check-in, they can select one of these numbers and send a pre-written message or call for help through the GPS watch.
No distracting games or apps
Flimsy watchband material
Quickly draining battery
Only two color choices
In addition to regular GPS tracking, you can set GPS boundaries to keep your kids safe. If they cross a boundary, you’ll get an automatic alert. This feature is especially handy if you’ve got a wanderer. You can see their location through the parents’ app and check their status live.
The most common complaint from parents we saw was that the band was made of cheap material or was too easy for their kids to remove.
The battery also tends to drain quickly, so you’ll need to charge the watch often. But if you’re willing to sacrifice features like step tracking or live location updates, the battery will last much longer.
And call us picky, but we’d also like to see more colors available than just pink and blue. More color options could get your kids excited to wear their slick new watch.
Standout feature: Fitness tracker
You can keep an eye on your children while they get excited about fitness. The GizmoWatch allows kids to set exercise goals, count steps, and schedule reminders for activities like sports or dance lessons.
Pay monthly or up front
Because the GizmoWatch is available through Verizon, you can add it to your existing phone plan or pay for it all at once. As a one-time payment, it costs $99.99 or $4.16 per month for 24 months.
The Jiobit tracker is lightweight and smaller than an Oreo—making it easy for little ones to wear all day. But there’s no way to call or listen in with the Jiobit, so if two-way communication is a must-have, this device won’t fit the bill.
Speaking of bills, Jiobit offers a one-year contract plan at $8.99 per month or a month-to-month plan for $12.99 per month.
The Jiobit tracker can go up to one week without charging. But its real-time GPS may drain the battery if your child is on the move often. This means you don’t have to worry about charging it daily, which gives you one less thing to worry about before bed every night.
Long battery life
Secure, durable attachments
No voice communication
Jiobit can attach securely with a built-in loop, waistband clip, secure loop, strap clip, or an outer sleeve attachment.
While the Jiobit offers accurate GPS tracking, there’s no speaker, so your child can’t call for help, and you can’t listen in to make sure they’re okay.
Standout Feature: Self-learning
Jiobit has learning technology that will remember your child’s routines, routes, and regular locations. That means Jiobit knows if your child goes somewhere they aren’t supposed to or doesn’t arrive where they need to be.
For kiddos who tend to wander during outings, the GeozillaGPS tracker has you covered. Its worldwide GPS coverage and SOS feature make it easy for your kids to get in touch if they get separated.
This tiny wearable tracker has an impressive battery that lasts up to five days (or 120 hours) and can pinpoint the tracker within 15 feet.
You can adjust the update frequency to make the battery last longer to change the frequency of updates (basically, the more frequent the updates, the higher drain on the battery).
Compatible with iOS, Android, and Apple Watch
Geozilla has an optional Premium subscription with a bunch of bonus features that make tracking and communication easier. The extra perks include location history, place alerts, schedule alerts, and even to-do lists.
You can opt for a seven-day free trial followed by a $79.99 yearly contract or pay $49.99 every three months (about $16 monthly).
Amber Alert GPS Locator: Best for frequent updates
Child GPS trackers like Amber Alertmake the darkest scenarios a little brighter.
This child tracking device has location tracking, alerts, and speed detection. The Amber Alert GPS locator helps you keep tabs on your child’s whereabouts at all times.
Up to 20 safety zones
Frequent location updates
You can program up to 20 safe zones and get updates on your child’s location every five minutes. To prevent distractions during school, you can place the device in silent mode.
All of these features come at a price, though—the Amber Alert GPS Locator is one of the most expensive devices on our list.
Standout Feature: Sex offender detection
Amber Alert GPS is the only device that alerts you if your child is close to a registered sex offender’s address.
“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
Smart B’zT: Bluetooth pick
The B’zT Patchis a Bluetooth tracker disguised as a patch that’s tough enough for the washer and dryer.
Secure, durable attachments
The Bluetooth tracker inside has a limited range but comes in cool designs your kids will want to wear. If your child wanders out of range (roughly 130 feet), you’ll get an alert instantly through the app.
Plus, the battery should last up to 10 months depending on the number of washes.
Also, each patch can only be paired to one phone at a time, so if you want to hand off tracking to another caregiver, you need to disconnect your phone and then have them connect using their device.
Standout Feature: Fun designs
Your kids will be excited to pick out their favorite patch design, which should help you avoid fights when it’s time to wear patch-adorned clothing.
Parent survey statistics
How oftendo parents lose track of their kids?
Parenting can feel like herding cats, especially during family outings to places like amusement parks or festivals. It’s not easy to keep up with your kiddos, even when you’re on the lookout.
We asked 400 parents with kids between ages 3 and 12 about their experiences with keeping track of their kids. We found that it’s pretty common for kids to slip out of sight.
In fact, 22% of the parents we surveyed lost track of their kids for at least an hour. And that number almost triples for parents of children with special needs.
Survey Results: All parents
Survey Results: Parents of children with special needs
Here’s what we learned:
61% of parents report worrying most about losing their child in large crowds such as parades and festivals.
14% of parents say they’re worried most about losing their child when their children go to hang out with friends
13% of parents report worrying most about losing their child while traveling
96% of parents say that their children would be OK with parents knowing where they are at all times
94% of parents say that their children would want to know where a parent is at all times
As kids get older, they’ll want to explore on their own, hang out with friends, and attend school functions alone.
Our survey showed that 12 and 13 were significant years for the average child in terms of independence. The average age parents gave their children cell phones was 12. And 13 is the average age parents would let kids walk to school alone.
What can you do to keep better track of your children?
So how can you keep your little chickadees safe when they wander beyond the nest? Start by telling your kids about what kind of adults they can trust like police officers, event officials, or employees (if you’re at a store or amusement park).
Make a plan for a meeting spot that’s easy to find and remember in case you get separated. And when you’re at home, make sure they know the rules around communicating their whereabouts and what to do if their plans change.
We also recommend kids’ GPS trackers and smartwatches. Brands like AngelSense cater to parents of kids with special needs with sensory-sensitive wearables while other trackers like the GizmoWatch mimic adult smartwatches.
These and other top GPS trackers for kids let you monitor your child’s location and can even sound an alarm if you lose your kids in a crowd.
Whether you keep your kids close or let them loose, their safety is your priority. Check out our child and baby safety resources for more reviews, articles, and product recommendations to learn more.
What to look for in a kids GPS tracker
Finding the right child tracking device can be a challenge. It’s helpful to understand what features are most vital to you and what limitations will be a deal-breaker.
Whether you’re looking for a kids’ GPS tracking watch or a GPS tracking device you can conceal in a pocket, you need to know what you’ll be able to see and control remotely. Here are the top things to consider before deciding on a kids’ GPS tracker for your family.
Ease of use When you’re looking for a GPS tracker for kids, it’s important to make sure that the tracking device is comfortable and easy for your child to use. Look for a kids tracking device with a mobile app that works for your phone.
This allows you to adjust settings and see your child’s location in real time. The app should also send you notifications when your child goes out of range or into an area they shouldn’t be.
Age range Many trackers have recommended ages for use. In addition to those guidelines, consider how big the buttons are, how easy it is for little fingers to respond to you or reach out for help, and whether or not they can put it on and take it off on their own.
If you’re concerned about them removing the tracker, look for one with anti-tamper features.
Battery life The best-case scenario is a kids GPS tracker that holds a charge for a few days. The more high-maintenance a tracker is (requiring daily charging), the more likely you are to leave home without it or end up with a dead battery.
Comfort You don’t have any chance of tracking down your child if they’re not wearing the tracker. Make sure the material is flexible and non-irritating to tender skin, as well as adjustable enough to ensure a secure but comfy fit.
Some tracking devices for kids come with different wearables like pouches or lanyards that make it easy for them to play and go through their day without removing it.
Because your child will be taking the GPS tracker with them on all their adventures, it needs to be able to withstand a good amount of punishment.
Design Seek out durable material that can take whatever your kid can dish out. Solid band construction and a protected or shatter-proof face can stand up to roughhousing, sports, and the wear and tear of daily use. Silicone wristbands are common in many kids tracker watches. Just be sure the watch you choose fits comfortably and isn’t too easy for your child to remove.
Water resistance Kids are always getting their hands dirty, which means they need to wash up regularly. While few GPS devices are totally waterproof, a quality tracking device should be able to handle incidental water and splashing.
Kids GPS watches and trackers come with a wide variety of bells and whistles, so it helps to cut through the razzle-dazzle and identify the features that really keep your child safe.
Geofencing You get extra peace of mind when you can set safety zones and perimeter alerts with a virtual fence. Geofencing lets you know your child is where they’re supposed to be and warns you if they leave the boundaries you’ve established.
Range Whether you simply want to track your child around the neighborhood or keep tabs on them during a cross-country visit to Grandma, you need a GPS tracker that will work for the range and distance you require. Keep in mind that devices that rely on only Bluetooth often have limited range, so these are best for close-proximity tracking.
Alerts and notifications Kids GPS tracking devices come with different alert and notification settings. Some update location only every five minutes, and others let you check in every 10 seconds. Consider how often you want updates and how much flexibility you need for different circumstances.
If your child is lost or scared, all they have to do is hit the SOS or panic alert button to immediately let you and other emergency contacts know they need help. For children that spend time on their own after school or on the way to extracurricular activities, this feature can make both you and your child feel safer.
Two-way communication Sometimes all you need is the location of your child, but other times you want to be able to talk to them. If communication is important, a GPS wearable with two-way talk can be the perfect safety solution.
Games One of the best ways to ensure your kid will keep their tracker on is to make it fun to wear. Some GPS devices for kids have games and reward systems to keep youngsters engaged and willing to sport them on a daily basis. Just make sure the games aren’t so distracting that it gets them in trouble at school.
A child-tracking device doesn’t do any good if it can’t accurately tell you where your child is. Look at how well a kids GPS tracker can pinpoint the child’s location and if there are any limitations on how often it updates or whether wearing it indoors inhibits accuracy.
Real-time tracking When you need to know where your child is right now, there isn’t a moment to spare. If monitoring your child in real-time is important, make sure the wearable you choose offers that feature and delivers reliably.
Indoor use It can be difficult to get a good read on locations when children are inside a building. Look for a device that meets your needs for indoor tracking, especially if your child will be spending a majority of time indoors.
*Amazon.com list price as of 09/23/2020 01:57 (MT). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.