I was 5 years old when I wandered off from my mother in a large department store. I don’t remember much except the nice lady who let me try on diamond rings as we waited for my mother and the look of absolute horror and relief on my mother’s face when we were reunited. Apparently, I’d been missing for only 5 minutes but 33 years later, my mother says it was the longest 5 minutes of her life.
Fortunately, today’s technology allows parents to take action to help prevent similar scenarios. Below are 3 devices that we think are excellent choices for keeping tabs on your young kids whether you’re in a crowd at the mall, or on vacation in an unfamiliar place.
Introduced at CES in January, the Filip wearable smart locator and phone for kids created quite a buzz with its flashy colors and ease of use. Basically, the Filip is a super durable phone and locator your child wears like a watch. Designed for kids as young as 5, this little device includes one-button call functionality with built-in phone numbers, GPS to easily locate your child via the smartphone app and the ability to establish a safe zone. Should your child get into trouble, there’s also an intelligent emergency functionality that triggers an automatic location beacon, ambient sound recorder and automatic calls to the device’s contact list. It looks a bit chunky and the band seems a bit small for an older child, but we’re told design tweaks are being made. Cost: $199 plus $10 per month connection fee (Available at AT&T)
The WeGo is a starter phone geared towards kids ages 5-12 that focuses on safety and ease of use. This phone also includes a one-button call feature and the ability to indicate which phone numbers the phone can call. The phone includes a tether that can be pulled in case of emergency. Pulling the tether will trigger an immediate alert to your (the parent) smartphone. A safe zone can also be established and you’ll be automatically notified (via phone) if the child leaves the area. Cost: $120 plus $9.99 per month connection fee (Available at Sprint)
If you’re just looking for a tracking device and don’t need the calling capabilities, then the Guardian might be an excellent choice. This simple device includes a kids-sized bracelet made of silicone that can be worn on the wrist or the ankle, the “core” that houses the GPS and a battery that should last at least 4 months. The device uses a smartphone app (iOS compatible) to give users location information. You can also add “guardians” to your network that will be able to see the child’s location. Guardians receive an alert when the child wanders off too far from the safety zone – a range you can choose between 0 and 230 feet from your smartphone. Cost: $29.95
For families planning vacations to popular (aka crowded) destinations this summer, consider getting a tracking device for your kids and take at least some of the stress out of your vacation.