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.
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 β like the Verizon GizmoWatch β 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
Verizon's GizmoWatch 2 takes the kids' tracker concept and builds an LTE-connected smartwatch around it. That means you will need to factor in a monthly contract, which starts at $5 a month from Verizon. It's designed for children aged 3-11.
The smartwatch features are 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 four to seven 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 also functions as a fitness tracker.
Apple Watch Series 6 and SE
With Apple adding its Family Setup mode to 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 you about your little one's location can be customized 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, get access to cash if needed and even connect over Apple's Walkie-Talkie feature.
Samsung SmartThings Tracker
Buy now: Amazon | $99
Samsung's tracker is small enough to be carried and can even be clipped to kids backpacks and uses LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity to let you track the location within the range of the connection indoors or outdoors.
Pressing the power button can send real-time location data or be used as an SOS call if they get into any issues. You can also set up geofencing alerts that will buzz you on your phone when they step in and out of predetermined zones.
It's been slapped with an iP68 water resistant rating and promises a week of battery life off a single charge. Everything is pulled together with Samsung's SmartThing app to make sure you're making best use of the tiny little tracker.
Xiaomi Mi Kids Watch 4
Buy now: mi.com | From $126
Like Xiaomi's previous children's smartwatches, these new Kids Watches are on in sale in China only for now, with no sign of them 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 with Android and iOS devices. Along with rear and front-facing cameras, there's GPS and 4G connectivity support to enable location sharing and communication.
Available in pink or baby blue looks, the Watch 4 promises up to eight days' battery life, which drops to five days for the Pro.
Buy now: Amazon | $129
The Jiobit location tracker offers a rich array of features from a device that can be worn discreetly.
Used alongside a monthly subscription data plan to unlock its key location tracking skills, the Jiobit packs in accelerometer and temperature sensors along with GPS/GLONASS receivers to help share your whereabouts.
The Android and iOS-friendly device offers real-time tracking, a timeline to see where they've been, Bluetooth alerts and an Alert Me feature making it easier for kids to raise an alarm with parents.
It's a COPPA certified device to put you at ease that data is well protected and the water and kid-resistant design means it's also built to last and can cope with even the most active little ones.
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 β 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 β 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 | Β£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.