The best GPS smartwatches and fitness trackers for kids: Top child safety wearables

Never lose track of your little ones again with GPS trackers for kids big and small
The best GPS tracking devices for kids
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The world of wearables isn't just for grown ups. There are a whole load of smartwatches and fitness trackers for kids, which offer a bit fun and parental peace of mind.

But trying to find the the right device for your child can be a tricky task. If your kid is always wanting to have a play with your smartwatch, it's not as simple as getting them one of their own. You'll want something specifically geared towards younger users.

As with any evolving space in tech, plenty of devices over the past few years have gone bust or failed to launch at all. And that's why we're here, to break down the best kids smartwatches you can buy right now, as well as a few tipped to release soon.

Some of them also handle activity tracking or instead prioritize location tracking, but all of them provide something a little different to keep everyone happy. Read on…

Kids smartwatches with GPS tracking

Top pick: Xplora 5

Buy now: Amazon $199.99

Xplora 5

With the Play, you’re getting a square smartwatch just like Xplora’s other watches that packs a 48.5mm sized case and comes in pink, black or blue looks.

Measuring in at 15mm thick and weighing in at 54g, it’s slightly heavier and thicker than the Xplora’s X4 watch.

Front and centre is a 1.4-inch, 240 x 240 resolution TFT touchscreen display that does include Gorilla Glass to offer some welcome extra screen protection. It’s not an always-on display, though you can adjust screen brightness from the watch settings.

We'll kick things off with the features that will appeal to the adults and the first is using the onboard GPS, cellular connectivity and Wi-Fi to pin-point the wearer's location in real-time. That can be viewed by the parent from inside the app.

There's also something called S-Zones. These are essentially areas you can create as safety zones or geo fenced areas that when your child moves out of will send an alert to the parent's phone that the watch was paired and set up to.

That safety zone radius must be a minimum of 500 metres from the pin point in the map and will let you name the safety zone and zoom into maps powered by Google Maps to create that area.

The 2-megapixel front-facing camera was an instant hit and easy to use and it only handles still images. Changing the watch faces was fun too and they got changed everyday including using a selfie as a watch face background.

While theres's no real games to play on the watch itself, there is the opportunity to make use of Xplora's GoPlay platform. This is tied to the campaign profile you create in the setup and revolves around staying moving and rewarding step counts tracked using the onboard accelerometer for virtual coins that can be redeemed for services, badges, donate to charities.

It takes 1,000 steps to earn one Xcoin and parents can earn them as well and transfer over to encourage parents and children to stay active. Enough coins were earned to unlock a pinball game tied to the launch of a Tom and Jerry movie. That game is played on the phone, but much like those arcades where you walk around with streams of tickets, you need a lot of Xcoins to get the very big prizes.

The Xplora X5 Play kids smartwatch offers a nice-looking, well-built design that crucially, was easy to use for our 5-year old tester.

Chasing Xcoins proved popular as did using those phone features. Those safety ones are well designed for parents too.

Read our full Xplora 5 review.

Apple Watch (Series 3-6 & SE)

Buy now: Amazon (SE) Amazon (Series 6) | From $279.99

Apple Watch Series 6 and SE

The idea of handing over your Apple Watch to your little ones has now become a reality thanks to the addition of a Family Setup mode in watchOS 7.

Apple added the new feature, which enables you to add additional Apple Watch devices to your companion app, that can be assigned to kids. That means they won't need their own iPhone to use their Watch.

However, to qualify the donated Apple Watch will need to be LTE enabled (with a paid for data plan) and new enough to run watchOS 7 or later. That means only the Series 3 to Series 6 are compatible.

So what does Family Setup Mode do?

That new mode brings new child-friendly features like activity tracking, the ability to download Watch apps made for kids.

There are Schooltime and Downtime modes to stop them getting distracted when it's homework time.

You can also set up Apple Pay to have a certain amount of money to spend.

Xiaomi Mi Kids Watch 4

Buy now: mi.com | From $126

Xiaomi Mi Kids Watch 4

While Xiaomi recently launched its MITO Children’s Phone Watch 5C, its Kids Watch 4 should be available at a nicer price.

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.

SpaceTalk Adventurer (UK)

Buy now: O2 | £189

SpaceTalk Adventurer

A UK-only option (for now) the Spacewalk Adventurer is primarily a 4G-enabled smartwatch, with GPS location tracking and the ability to call your kids without the need for them to own a smartphone.

It's offered by UK network O2 and costs £189, and an ongoing £7.88 per month with a £5 talk plan that includes unlimited minutes, texts and 1GB of data.

The watch itself is pretty sleek, and features the ability to make calls to a controlled list of approved contacts – and receive calls from the wrist too.

The Spacetalk app enables parents to manage contacts and can also check up on the location of their child.

There's not much in the way of apps and games, but there is a 5MP camera for kids to get creative with.

And there's a heart rate monitor and pedometer built in, for those keen to keep kids active.

Kids smartwatches and fitness trackers (no GPS)

Garmin Vivofit jr. 3

Buy now: Amazon | $79.95

Garmin Vivofit jr. 3

While Garmin's previous wearables for kids have been activity bands, the Vivofit jr. 3 takes the form of a watch with the emphasis on keeping your kids active.

In terms of features, it will work just like a watch, letting you set alarms and timers. There's an accelerometer motion sensor to track your steps and enable automatic sleep monitoring.

Unlike the grown-up equivalents, there are also games where you unlock levels by meeting activity goals. There's also the ability to set up chores with rewards tied to completing them and taking on step challenges.

There's also a dedicated ICE screen (In Case of Emergency) where you can store contact information that can be quickly accessed.

The watch comes in a range of different Marvel and Disney themed styles to make this one of the more fun-looking watches to live with.

Fitbit Ace 3

Buy now: Amazon | $59.95

Fitbit Ace 3

The Fitbit Ace 3 tracks kid's active minutes, steps and sleep time, with all that information then thrown into the parents' companion app for them to view. Kids can pair it with their own smartphone to receive call notifications or a parent can be in control from their phone while also sending messages of support.

The screen size has got a boost over the Ace 2, and although Fitbit hasn't released the exact size of the panel, it's It's still a monochrome display, but bigger and 20% brighter than the Ace 2's 0.7-inch screen. It's also touchscreen, so the extra real estate will mean more on-device features.

And the main features are still step tracking, sport monitoring and sleep insights. There’s no heart rate monitor, but it does boast swim-proof 5ATM water resistance.

There are also bedtime reminders and silent alarms to help parents get a settled sleep schedule and there are also timers and race the stopwatch features built into the watch.

Thee larger tracker also means a boost in battery life and it will now last 8 days between charging, up from 6 days on the previous generation.

Fitbit says that the device complies with regulations in place that apply to kids' trackers, too, and within the companion app you'll be able to take full control of what data is shared or viewable by other approved Fitbit friends and family member. And Fitbit has added Family Face Off challenges, so kids can compete with siblings and parents for clocking up active time. There's also shared milestones and badges to collect, too.

And if your kid is Minions mad you can pay an extra $10 and get the Ace 3 Special Edition.

VTech Kidizoom DX2

Buy now: Amazon | $47.99

VTech Kidizoom DX2

The Kidizoom DX2 features cameras, customizable watch faces and a range of games. The aim is to get kids active, attempting to do so with a selection of motion-based activities.

It's designed for kids aged 4-12, although smaller children may find the watch bulky. You can see more pictures on how it fits in our Kidizoom DX2 review.

It's certainly no Apple Watch in terms of design or screen quality, the built in games and front-facing camera might be more appealing to kids.

They can take snaps on the camera and add fun photo effects (it's a 0.3MP camera so the quality isn't exactly high) and there are maths challenges, AR games and crazy sound effects all built into the watch.

There’s also a dedicated icon for video footage that shoots 320 x 240 or 160 x 120 resolution with a limit of 60 seconds per video.

And there's a pedometer with step goals built in, if you're looking to promote activity – although the Fitbit and Garmin are more naturally geared towards getting fit and rewards.

There's no GPS tracking or parental monitoring features here – fun is the name of the game

Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2

Buy now: Amazon | $65.41

Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2

If you prefer a band-style fitness tracker, you can still look at the second generation Vivofit Jr. 2 as well.

You're still getting those Disney and Marvel collaborations in order to make counting steps and hitting goals more fun.

So how does it make hitting fitness goals fun? Well, when kids hit their goal of 60 minutes of daily activity, they advance in a larger game they're taking part in, which varies depending on which Disney or Marvel IP you go with.

Parents can also log into the app to keep track of each kid's steps, sleep and activity level. If you want to set reminders for chores, the bands will ring and vibrate and remind the kid what they need to do (for example, a paper and pen signifies homework time). Completing these tasks can earn virtual coins, which can then be redeemed with the adults for agreed-upon rewards.

There are two sizes to choose from here, a stretchy band intended for children aged four to seven, and an adjustable, buckled equivalent intended for six-year-olds and above. You can choose from five designs, based on Disney, Star Wars and Marvel characters, each coming in two variations.

You also don't need to worry about charging every night, either, with the replaceable battery lasting up to a year, according to Garmin.

Wareable verdict: Garmin Vivofit Jr.2 review

Kids location GPS devices

Jiobit

Buy now: jiobit.com | $129

The best GPS trackers for kids: 10 of the best child safety wearables

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.

Samsung SmartThings Tracker

Buy now: Amazon | $99

Samsung SmartThings Tracker

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.

Weenect Kids

Buy now: weenect.com | £49.99

Weenect Kids

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.