It’s difficult for even the most attentive parent to always know where their children are at any given time. Thankfully, keeping
an eye on your little ones is becoming much easier thanks to GPS tracking devices made especially for kids.
While there are plenty of smartwatches for kids on the market, and even fitness trackers for kids, you need GPS for that all-important location tracking. With a personal GPS tracker, you can then pinpoint the exact position of the person you’re looking for using a map on your smartphone or tablet.
Some models also offer geo-fencing, an electronic barrier drawn on a digital map which, when breached, immediately alerts the parent or guardian to a potential concern.
There are also devices that include cellular connectivity – like the Verizon GizmoWatch – so kids can make an SOS call to a designated number from their smartwatch, as well as send and receive messages.
As for whether it is legal to track your kids, it is generally considered within your rights as a parent provided the focus of tracking is under the age of 18, but different US states will legislate differently. Of course, as your child gets older, tracking and privacy is a topic of discussion that will be personal to your child-parent relationship.
To make picking the right GPS tracker for your kids a bit easier, we’ve rounded up the best child-friendly trackers you can buy right now below.
Got any questions about any of the wearables on our list? Let us know in the comments section.
Verizon GizmoWatch 2
Buy now: Verizon | $99.99
One of the freshest faces on the scene, Verizon’s GizmoWatch 2 takes a kids’ tracker and builds an LTE-connected smartwatch around it. This means you’ll need to factor in a monthly contract, which starts at $5 a month from Verizon.
The smartwatch stuff is actually aimed at getting kids used to the idea of a smartwatch. Designed for kids aged 3-11, it has two-way calling and messaging so kids can keep in contact with up to 10 contacts approved by the parents.
Naturally, there’s location tracking and GPS boundaries that parents can set up. You’re also getting a 1.3-inch 240 x 240 AMOLED display with 4 – 7 days of battery life.
For the kids, there’s a hopscotch tracker and a voice changing mode to make things a little more fun. And yes, there’s a basic step tracker and inactivity reminders, too so the Verizon GizmoWatch functions like a fitness tracker.
Apple Watch Series 6 and SE
With Apple’s adding its Family Setup mode in watchOS 7, it’s made smartwatches compatible with the latest update a better fit for children to use.
Among the features added, the Watch now has the ability for location information to be shared with a guardian through the Find People Apple Watch app. Notifications to alert about your little one’s location can be customised as well, so you can control how regularly those updates are received or base it on a time schedule if you need to keep closer tabs.
Family mode also gives younger users their own number, so they can make calls or communicate if needed, get access to cash if needed and even connect over Apple’s Walkie-Talkie feature.
Xiaomi Mi Kids Watch 4
Buy now: mi.com | From £95
Like Xiaomi’s previous kids smartwatches, its new Kids Watches are on in sale in China only for now, with no sign of it on the international Mi Store yet. But it’s still worth including here as Xiaomi devices tend to find their way around the globe on account of solid feature sets and super affordable prices.
The Kids Watch 4 and 4 Pro both feature 1.78-inch, 368 x 448 pixels AMOLED displays and work Android and iOS devices. Along with rear and front-facing cameras, there’s GPS and 4G connectivity support to enable location sharing and the ability for your child to communicate.
Available in pink or baby blue looks, the Watch 4 promises up to 8 days battery life, which drops to 5 days for the Pro.
Buy now: Amazon | $99
The AngelSense is one of the more popular and beloved kids GPS trackers out there, and for good reason. This thing is packed with features – packed. You can see your kids’ routes and transit speed; you’ll get notified when they’re coming home late or if they’re in a new place; and you can listen in to their environment.
AngelSense has also added some new features just this year. 2-Way Voice allows you to instantly call and speak to your child if you need to, an ETA feature lets you know when your kid is on the way home and the new Timeline Map promises better visibility of your child’s routes.
On top of all of that, AngelSense is available on Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Rogers, making it quite accessible in the US and Canada. One potential caveat, though – all these extra services will cost you. It’s $39.99 to get onto the monthly plan, although the overall pricing varies depending on your commitment to the subscription.
Buy now:Amazon | £49.99
The excellent Weenect system is comprised of a 6cm water-resistant tracker, protective pouch and a USB charger.
It also comes with one month of free tracking. Tracking can be performed using a live map, a compass with distance countdown or, get this, augmented reality. Yup, just hold your smartphone up (iOS or Android) and, assuming you’re pointing the phone’s camera in the right direction, a little icon pops up on the screen showing you the child’s whereabouts.
The Weenect Kids tracker also comes with an SOS button and, for older kids, a ‘zone entry/exit’ function that alerts the parent when he or she has returned home. This is primarily one for the European crowd, though it also works in the likes of Korea, Madagascar, Australia, Ghana, India and Malaysia, too.
Amber Alert GPS Smart Locator
Buy now: Amazon | $135
Amber Alert’s pocket-sized GPS unit measures just 7cm and its rechargeable lithium battery runs for up to 40 hours on a single charge. Slip it into your child’s pocket and you’ll be able to check up on his/her location using either a browser or the accompanying iOS and Android app, communicate using the device’s two-way voice function, and even set up geofencing boundaries.
But that’s just the half of it. This clever gizmo also sends the parent or guardian a text or email alert if the child comes within 500 feet of a registered sex offender’s home.
And if the little one ever has a panic attack, he or she simply hits the SOS button and a message is sent to the parent and up to ten authorised users. Subscription charges start at $15 per month. This one is unavailable on Amazon right now, but it is still available on the Amber Alert website.
Buy now: flashme.io | $7
This is not so much a tracker as a means of contacting the parent or guardian of a lost child. It’s essentially a colourful silicone wristband with a printed QR code that contains the contact details of the child’s parent or guardian. FlashMe works on the principle that most strangers are honest and that whoever finds the child will hopefully know what a QR code is.
As so many children under the age of four don’t know their address or telephone number, a dirt cheap system like this could help save the day. A variety of other designs, including a pet version, are also available.
My Gator Watch
Buy now: Amazon | £99
The Gator is a smartwatch designed for children aged 5-12 years old. If communication is your main concern, it offers 12-month or rolling contracts for its multi-network plans that use whichever signal is strongest. That means you should always be in contact with your kids.
There’s also GPS and features like geo-fencing so you can set up areas such as home, school and park with alerts once they leave these perimeters. The watch itself weighs 40g, is splash-proof, has a bunch of physical buttons and a four-day battery life. It’s available in blue, pink and black colors.