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The Best GPS Trackers for Kids and Their Concerned Parents

Peace of mind for you. Independence for them.

Yes, you might argue lashing a GPS kid tracker to your child is borderline Big Brother. What about their privacy, some might ask. Well, childhood is all about lack of privacy, odds are your son or daughter hasn’t even read George Orwell, and this isn’t exactly a microchip. There are obvious reasons why tracking devices for kids exist. Young children, even toddlers, may want their own space, and yet in order for parents to grant that wish, boundaries (and protections) must be put in place. For lovingly observant parents concerned about stranger danger while still wanting to loosen the apron strings, the best GPS trackers for kids can be a safeguard and an anxiety-reliever, while also giving offspring a much-needed sense of independence.

With that mind, when looking for GPS trackers, there are a few points to consider. Search for an option that’s out of the way of your child’s life. Durability is another factor, as kids tend to play rough. An SOS button offers great peace of mind should they get into unexpected trouble, while boundary alerts are a godsend as you’re loosening the leash. Finally, battery life is crucial, as the device is little more than dead weight if it dies by recess. But beyond all these, the most important consideration is your ability to calmly communicate with your child about expectations and limits. That, rather than lashing a small tracking device to your kid, might just be the hardest part.

Waterproof, camera-enabled, and running off 4G, the Tracker Pro provides multiple redundancies that allow you to contact and track your child. Along with calls, messaging, SOS button, and geofencing, your child is concurrently tracked via GPS, LBS, and WiFi for precision. If one goes down, the others are quietly humming in the background.

With its carabiner-like design, it attaches to your child on obvious or hard-to-reach locations alike. Then, powered by a three-day battery, it gives off a signal strong enough to be detected from up to three miles away, making it ideal for use in amusement parks, zoos, and other large gatherings. The best part: It's not smartphone-service dependent, but rather operates with a unit you yourself hold on to. It has a 'home base' function for lunchtime meetups and end-of-day rendezvous.

Apple's latest fitness-wearable-slash-watch is both affordable and tailor-made for tracking your kiddo through its Family Setup feature. Mounted on his or her wrist, your child can use it to call, message, and share a location, even without an iPhone present. Siri is also there for hands-free functionality, along with an SOS command, emergency contacts, family messaging, and the list goes on. If you've found a Watch functional, so will your child.

This top-rated and very small tracker (minuscule enough to attach to your kid's shoelaces) clips onto clothing and shoes, and lets parents know not just where their kids are but who they're with. It uses Bluetooth, WiFi, cellular, and GPS data to track your kids. It pairs with the parent's smartphone to provide real-time location information and geofencing data. Plus, parents invite other adults to their 'care team' and thus, know exactly who their kids are with at any given time. Note that this tracker requires a subscription plan; the battery lasts about a day and a half.

Both a walkie-talkie type phone and a GPS tracker, this device combines the best of both worlds. You can use this screenless phone to communicate with your kids via another unit or through your smartphone, and use the associated app to always know where they are. Plus, parents set up geofences for home or school and get automatic notifications when kids get to or leave those areas. Note: The service costs $10 per month. You can add up to 10 Relays to your account, so this is great if you have multiple kids out and about.

Specifically designed for kids who tend to wander off at times, this GPS tracker has an auto-answer functionality that automatically lets you talk to and listen to your kids whenever and wherever they are. There's unlimited live location tracking, customizable geofencing, detailed location histories, and alerts that tell you if they missed the bus. The monthly plan is $39.99 per month, and includes a SIM card, unlimited tracking, and 60 voice minutes. The tracker has fasteners that kids can't remove. The battery lasts about 48 hours.

This sneaky little tracker attaches to your kid's backpack, and has a battery life that lasts up to five days on a single charge for continuous monitoring. It's also waterproof. You can use it for indoor or outdoor monitoring, and you can create zones that will automatically alert you when your kid leaves it. Or enters it. Kids can also send an SOS. You need the AT&T LTE-M network service to use this, but you get one year free at the outset.

You can use this thing to track whatever you want, but if you're gung ho about knowing your kid's location, it will deliver. You'll get alerts when your kid steps outside of pre-approved zones. And the battery will last up to two days using real time 1-5 minute updates. It weighs one ounce, clips onto your kid's backpack, and has an SOS button. You have to pay a monthly fee of up to $20, but there's no price tag on piece of mind. Or so they say.

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