Child Tracking Device
A child tracking device is a piece of equipment that is attached or worn a child to send signals about the child’s whereabouts to a parent or caregiver through a homing device. It is a device that can assist in keeping children safe from becoming separated from their family, lost or a target of a child molester, who often look for children who are alone without family or friends nearby. It is crucial for you to remember that this situation happens to lots of parents all the time. We have all been distracted or turned away for that split second and lose sight of our kids. Thankfully, they are often just behind the playground equipment or hiding in a small space in the store like under the clothing racks. It is a sinking feeling to lose sight of our kids and when we do, it is imperative that we find them quickly to avoid a potentially dangerous situation.
A child tracking device or child safety locator use technology that may be unfamiliar to parents so here at New Child Safety we are simplifying the technical language used by retailers to help you decide if this tool is right for you and which features are important to consider before you make a purchase.
There are approximately four main types of tracking devices, which can be organized into how signals are transmitted and the distance the device will cover. Initially, there is an audio alert tracking device, which is placed on the child’s clothing or an accessory the child is wearing and the device will beep when activated giving an audio signal stating the direction to the child. Audio devices are very simple to operate; however an audio device but may be unfavorable in the case of a child abduction because the piece of the device on the child is what beeps so it very easy to detect and either disable or remove.
The second type is the radio frequency identification-based tracking device, the RFID device. The RFID technology works by sending radio signals from the portion of the device worn on the child to a handheld unit. Typically, RFID units will cover up to a 500-foot radius and the parental or caregiver portion of the unit will beep when the child is out of the range.
Another type of child tracking device is the GPS logging device. Parents who have older kids may prefer this type of model. The device is used to tell you the location of your child. For some units, there can be a time delay in the providing information and we strongly recommend you ask the retailer about this feature at the time of purchase. Data about their movements and activities are downloaded onto your computer. Importantly, the GPS system will require an Internet connection to work.
The fourth type of device is the GPS real time monitoring device, which provides you with up to the minute feedback about where your child is going and what they are doing. You can identify forbidden areas on your computer GPS tracker software and receive emails or mobile alerts that your child has crossed the boundary or is at a predetermined location that is not allowed or is dangerous.
A child tracking device can be worn as a watch, be installed in cell phones or embedded in your child’s clothing or personal belongings. They are especially useful for children with many types of special needs or other conditions where having your child remember and/or communicate is difficult. The device can provide an exact location of the child so that parents and caregivers can both monitor or retrieve their child quickly.
It is very important to understand the technology behind each type of device. For example, our teenagers often know more than we do and it is possible to ‘tamper’ with some devices – so stay informed!
It is up to you as a parent to decide what and how to communicate with their child about being tracked. Sometimes keeping it a secret can work out positively both for you and your child because you will be able to trust them and they will have nothing to hide from you. On the other hand, it may be a different matter altogether if they discover that you were tracking their movements without their knowledge because they may get very angry and feel betrayed. We advocate always being honest and discussing why you have decided to use a child tracking device. By explaining your needs such as having peace of mind you can work with your child, especially through the teen years to establish healthy, open and honest communication. Because we are also parents of teenage children we understand that sometimes we must make difficult decisions and you may choose not to tell your child about the device. In such cases, we encourage you to think through the reasons for your choice and then be comfortable in doing what you feel is necessary. There is no right or wrong answer and you know your child better than anyone else.
For a more detailed discussion of information you need to know once you have decided to purchase a particular type of child safety locator skip over to the link above
Important Note: Of course we are discussing tracking technology here for children; however, staff at New Child Safety felt it was important to point out that this technology is very helpful in other situations as well. For example, if you have an aging parent, who may suffer from Alzheimer’s or other cognitive disorders a tracking device is useful to keep them safe and give you peace of mind that they will not become confused or wander away and become lost.