Kids are precious and parents want to keep them safe. The problem is that kids are also mischievous and parents want to be able to let them out of their sight from time to time. If you can’t follow your kids around, a GPS tracker for kids can help.
A GPS tracker for kids is a device that can be attached to a child’s bag or clothing. It will allow you to track their exact location at any time on your computer, tablet or phone. This way, if they aren’t where they should be (like at school) you will know immediately.
The benefits of using a GPS tracker for kids are obvious:
- You’ll always know where your children are (you could even pay attention to where they go after school).
- Your children won’t be allowed out of your sight and won’t have opportunities to get into trouble (in the middle of nowhere, without you knowing).
Here are some tips to help you choose the best one for your child:
Range —This is probably the most important factor in a GPS tracker for kids. The range of the tracker needs to cover as much ground as possible if it’s going to be used by a child who may not always be with an adult.
Durability —If the device will be carried around by your kid on a daily basis, it needs to be able to take some bumps and bruises along the way. A brightly colored or otherwise distinctive case or housing gives assurance that it won’t get lost.
Battery life — A good GPS tracker for kids will last at least 24 hours between charges, so that your child isn’t left vulnerable to predators or abductors during low-battery times.
How We tested?
We started with the criteria we wanted in a GPS tracker for kids: it had to have good customer ratings, be easy to use, have excellent battery life and allow for remote tracking of children.
Our goal with this test was to find a GPS tracker that could be mounted on a child’s bike, helmet, or backpack and would send an alert if they were separated from their ride or pack. We wanted the tracker to have both GPS and cellular connectivity (GPS is more reliable, but cellular can work when there’s no signal, like indoors). We also wanted to see how long the battery lasted between charges.
To test the range, we drove to different places around town and traced the distance traveled on a map. We also kept track of how much time it took us to get from point A to point B in each car. We then compared the results with the times and distances that were recorded by our Garmin.
To test the accuracy, we located several points of interest, such as parks, schools, and stores, and then used each device to find those locations. We found all of them within 1-2 hundred yards, which is what you’d expect if you’ve ever used a GPS before.
We tested the 12 major brands of GPS trackers for kids to see which one we would recommend to others. We looked at the quality of their design, ease of use and customer service, as well as how accurate they were in tracking a child’s location. The leading gps tracker, Jiobit, came out on top. Their customer service was friendly and helpful with any questions we had. The Apple AirTag had a strong design and was easy to use. It also worked fast and accurately.
We looked at trackers that attach to your child’s clothes or shoes and those that are small enough to be carried in a pocket. The latter seem like they would be more disruptive, but we found that several models have an SOS button that will send out your child’s coordinates to any designated contacts if the wearer feels threatened. The GPS tracker must also connect with the parent’s phone, whether via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and that means you need to have a good phone service wherever you go. If you want to monitor your children remotely, opt for a model that has a longer battery life and can last for days between charges. There is no one-size-fits-all here—the best tracker for you depends on how you will use it and what features are most important to you.
We tested 12 models, 5 of which were designed specifically for kids. The others were geared toward either runners/bikers or family travel. The one commonality among all seven was that they needed cell service in order to work—some required only text messaging, while others could track via GPS from anywhere in the world but only with an accompanying app.
We enabled all push notifications on each tracker, except for ones that would trigger 911 emergency calls, which could have costed us a small fortune if even one kid had called from outside our range. We also paid attention to how the batteries held up in each device as we traveled from spot to spot. All of these trackers are water-resistant, but some fared better when it came to getting wet than others. They can withstand some splashes, but not baths or complete submersion, so be sure to take them off before your kids get into the pool.
The feature that made the biggest difference in our ratings was how quickly we received notifications when one of our kids wandered too far from home base. For some reason, this is an area where many trackers fail miserably—we even ran into one device that didn’t send any notifications at all. But most of our top picks did a great job at alerting us when something happened and telling us where our children are currently.
Whichever brand you choose, be sure to test it before giving it away as a gift. Not all GPS devices work the same way and you want to be sure that your child can use the device without difficulty or frustration. You should also make sure that the device works in your area.
The best GPS trackers for kids you can buy today
Best GPS tracker for kids
Jiobit is a GPS tracker for your car, dog, and kids. It’s small enough to fit into the palm of your hand and weighs just 18 grams (0.63 ounce). It has a battery life of up to one week and its monthly service cost is $9/month with two-year commitment and $13/month without contract.
It is a small device that can be attached to your child’s shoe, backpack, or other item. It tracks their location to within 10 feet of their actual location and sends an alert if the device is separated from them for more than 60 seconds. You can also set up alerts for movements or restlessness. The app allows you to track multiple devices, including those of older children and adults—perfect for keeping track of your spouse or yourself so you don’t get separated during a trip to the mall or other crowded area. The battery lasts about 3 days, so there’s no need to worry about charging it every day.
Multiple people can be tracked on a single account, allowing you to keep tabs on the whole family without having to purchase multiple devices. If you’re taking your kids somewhere new, the app allows you to add a place marker so the tag knows exactly where they are at that time and how long it takes to get there. This makes it especially useful for monitoring your child during school field trips or if they go out with friends they haven’t been introduced to before. It also has a panic button feature that immediately notifies designated guardians if the child presses it, allowing them to quickly respond in times of danger.
Uses of Jiobit
The best part of the Jiobit is that it can be used in different ways. You can use it to set up safe zones, such as your home, school and community center.
Once the device is inside one of those safe zones, it will not alert you if your child wanders out of that zone—you won’t receive a phone call or an alert on your app until your child leaves the zone. That way, you don’t have to worry about getting notifications every time your child heads down the block to play with friends or when he or she goes to the bathroom at school. When your child leaves one of those safe zones and enters another one (or no zone at all), you’ll immediately be alerted on your phone through the app, which tells you how far your child or family member is.
The Jiobit device can be used to track multiple things at once using the app available on iOS or Android devices. The Jiobit device does not have call/text support but does have network support for GPRS/EDGE/HSxPA 850/900/1850/1900/2100 transceivers.
2. Apple AirTag
Best iPhone GPS tracker for kids
Tech specs: Price: $29 or 4 for $99 | Battery life: 1 year | Real-time tracking: No | Monthly cost: None | Connectivity: Bluetooth, Apple’s Find My Network
Parents need all the help they can get to protect their children, and while Apple’s new AirTag tracker isn’t a full-proof way to keep your kids in sight at all times, it’s a step in the right direction. The small device, which sells for $29.95, attaches to a child’s clothing or bag and lets you track them as long as you’re within Bluetooth range. Best of all, if your child loses their AirTag (or it gets taken from them), you can set up an alert that goes out immediately when it leaves the designated safe zone on your phone. It also features geofencing capabilities that let you designate geographic areas where you want alerts sent if the tag is moved outside of that boundary.
The AirTag is a small, lightweight location tracker that’s designed to be attached to valuable items you don’t want to lose — like your children.
Here’s how it works: the AirTag uses Bluetooth LE to communicate with an iOS device. The device can be paired with up to eight AirTags, and the Apple Watch can be used as a display for all of them at once.
AirTags are designed to be small and light enough that they can be attached to an object or clothing without weighing it down or looking bulky. As long as you’ve got your iOS device with you, you’re never far from the tracking information for whatever AirTags are paired with it. If you’ve got an Apple Watch, you can get even faster access to the information about what’s where — just swipe up on the watch face and view all of your tracked AirTags in a single glance.
In general, an AirTag does an okay job. The problem is that an AirTag requires another Apple device to be nearby and connected to the internet in order for its location to be shared with Apple’s Find My network.
That means the person you’re interested in tracking needs a cellphone or tablet that they carry with them so they’ll always have access to the app, and the device has been connected to a wireless network at some point since you first started using it. If the tracker is away from any wireless networks for a long enough time that the devices lose their connection, the tracker will stop sending data and your child will disappear from Find My Friends.
If you have a kid who’s using Find My Friends on their iPhone, sure, that could work—but what if they’re playing at a friend’s house where there isn’t an iPhone? Or what if you’re going on vacation and you want to track your kid but don’t have access to their phone or iPad? You could try setting up Find My Friends on your own devices, which would allow your child’s AirTag to share its location with them, but then you’ll have the added hassle of signing into Apple accounts on all of the devices you want to use.
3. Apple Watch SE
Best GPS tracker for older kids and teens
Tech specs: Price: $240 | Battery life: 18 hours | Real-time tracking: Yes | Monthly cost: Varies by wireless carrier | Connectivity: Bluetooth, Apple’s Find My Network , Cellular | Weight: 26.4 grams (0.9 ounces) to 33 grams (1.1 ounces) | Call/text support: Yes | Network: LTE, UTMS, Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz), Bluetooth 5.3
The Apple Watch SE GPS + Cellular is the best tracker for older kids and teens in situations where you want to keep tabs on their location, but they’re old enough to not need to be constantly monitored. This watch lets you set a geofence (a virtual boundary around a location) and receive an alert if your child crosses over it. You can also set a curfew, which will send an alert at a certain time every night, reminding them to get home before it’s too late.
This Apple Watch is great if you have older kids who can take care of themselves or are already independent teenagers, but you still want peace of mind when it comes to knowing where they are—or what time they should be home. t that makes it easier to stay out longer, without being completely confined to how long they’ve been gone.
It’s a great way to track their location, check in on them via phone calls or facetime, and even call for help if they’re in danger. The watch is customizable and fun, and comes with a wide variety of bands. This gives you many options for changing up your child’s style as they get older.
It also has fitness tracking abilities to help your child keep fit and healthy. It’s compatible with iPhone 5 or later. The Apple Watch SE GPS + Cellular is $50 more than the regular Apple Watch and has all the same functionality but with cellular data plans.
4. Invoxia Cellular GPS Tracker
Best discreet micro GPS tracker for kids
Tech specs: Price: $129 | Battery life: 4 months | Real-time tracking: Yes | Monthly cost: $39.90/year after first year | Connectivity: Bluetooth, GPS, LTE
When you’re a parent, keeping track of your kids is a matter of instinct. Do you ever worry about how they get home from school? How do you know that your child is safe when they’re out with their friends? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then there’s a device that can help you lay your mind at ease: the Invoxia Cellular GPS Tracker. Invoxia’s GPS Tracker has two major parts: a small device that can be attached to clothing or packed in a backpack, and an accompanying app for your phone.
The tracker uses global satellite positioning to track where your kids are located in real time, and will send an alert if they leave a designated “safe” area. The app also lets you set virtual boundaries within which the tracker will not sound an alarm, so it’s easy to avoid false alarms if your child happens to be near a park while walking home from school.
This device can be used for more than just keeping tabs on children—it’s also great for pet owners and people living with Alzheimer’s or dementia who might wander away from home. There’s no reason to worry about keeping track of loved ones during potentially dangerous situations anymore—the Invoxia Cellular GPS Tracker makes it easy to monitor their activities.
The Cellular GPS Tracker for kids costs $129 when you purchase it with service included, but if you want to save money, you can get the device itself for $100 and pay $39.90 per year for service after the first 12 months have elapsed. Either way, it’s a steal compared to the price of a car or home security system plus the hassle of having to call up any one of those services when you need some help looking after your kids.
Invoxia sells this device for $129, which includes the tracker and a year’s worth of service. After the first year, you’ll pay $39.90 for another year’s worth of service.
The device’s size and durability make it perfect for kids in school, elderly individuals living alone, and anyone who needs to be able to track someone in real time. The device has the ability to do on-demand location tracking, meaning you can use the included app to find its location whenever you want. It also has a battery life up to 120 hours in motion and 4 months when stationary, so it can go with your child throughout the school day without needing a recharge.
Invoxia’s newest version includes Real-Time Location, which sends you its location every 30 seconds for the next half hour—this only becomes active when its regular tracking schedule is interrupted by a sudden change in location. So if you’re looking at the map and see your tracker move suddenly (maybe your child just got off the school bus), you’ll be able to see where it went. You’ll still be able to set a regular schedule for your tracker so that it knows when to move around without getting into trouble (for example, your child returning home from school), but this real-time tracking feature lets you know when they’ve left their usual route or arrived somewhere unexpected.
5. Garmin Bounce
Best smartwatch GPS tracker for kids
Tech specs: Price: $150 | Battery life: 2 days | Real-time tracking: Yes | Monthly cost: $10/month | Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi, LTE
The Garmin Bounce is a smartwatch GPS tracker for kids that’s dependable and easy to use. The wearable gadget is designed with a water-resistant rubber case, so even if your kid gets caught in the rain on the way home from school or camp, it will still hold up. You can set up the watch to track your child’s location at any time of day, and you’ll be notified by smartphone if they go beyond a specified radius.
The unit syncs up to Garmin’s Connect app on your smartphone using Bluetooth, so you can see where your kid is or was at any given time. There’s also a handy map function that shows where they have been over time.
The best part is that the Garmin Bounce has an SOS button that lets your child send you an alert when they need help. If you’re worried about them getting into trouble offline, this feature gives you peace of mind that you can act fast if needed. In addition to the SOS button, there are other buttons on the front of the device for quick access to music, check-ins, messaging, photos, and more. For added protection against potential danger, turn on Safe Zones which allow you to set geofences for places like school or home.
6. SyncUP Kids Watch for T-Mobile users
Tech specs: Price: $174 | Battery life: Up to a week | Real-time tracking: Yes | Monthly cost: $10 | Connectivity: 4G LTE
The SyncUP Kids is arguably the best GPS smartwatch for kids. It’s no wonder, then, that it comes with a hefty price tag. The $174 device is worth every penny, though: it has all the features you’d want in a smartwatch for your kid, and some that you wouldn’t have even thought of.
In addition to basic timekeeping functions, it can track your child’s location in real time. Its 4G LTE connectivity also makes it possible to receive smartphone notifications like texts and social media alerts on your child’s wrist. These notifications are configurable by age-appropriate content level, so you can choose whether or not your child will be able to read messages from his friends or just from family members. You’ll also be able to set up geofences around places like school or home, so you’ll always know when he arrives safely at either location.
It has two power modes to better suit your activity level: high activity mode allows you to track runs and other exercise classes with GPS tracking and heart rate monitoring. For less active days, low activity mode allows up to a week of battery life through basic timekeeping functions like alarms and stopwatches.
The watch lets parents set up a profile for each child and manage their activities, such as school attendance and chores, and it features location tracking so parents can see where their children are at any time.
With a waterproof design and an emphasis on fun through interactive games and animations, the SyncUP Kids watch is more than just another gadget—it’s a helpful way to keep kids safe, connected, and on task. For example, it’s easy to keep tabs on your kids’ whereabouts: you can set up location alerts so you’ll get notified if they leave a “safe zone” you’ve set up on the app.
Or, you can use the “virtual boundary” function which lets the child know if he or she is going too far from home. If your child needs help or has an emergency, there’s always the option of calling 911 directly from the watch. The battery life is long-lasting, and it’s easy to replace if necessary by popping off the back of the case.
7. Verizon Gizmo Watch Disney Edition
Best Verizon GPS tracker for kids
Tech specs: Price: $200 | Battery life: Up to 3 days (standby) or 1.5 days constant use | Real-time tracking: Yes | Monthly cost: $10 | Connectivity: GPS, Cellular
The Gizmo Watch Disney Edition is a hip new version of the classic Mickey Mouse watch. It’s made by Verizon and sold through the Verizon Gizmo Store, and it’s waterproof up to 5 atm (which is equivalent to about 50 meters or 164 feet). The body is stainless steel, and the strap comes in two different colors: white or black. It has a touchscreen display, using a proprietary OS called “Gizmo OS,” which is used exclusively by the Verizon Gizmo family of products. The screen itself is monochrome but uses colored LED lights to make different parts distinguishable from one another. It’s based on a 32-bit processor running at approximately 22 MHz.
The watch can be connected to 4G networks, as well as Wi-Fi networks. It has an FM radio built in as well that you can listen to through wireless headphones. A cool feature that I think will make this device really successful with preteens and teenagers is that it features real-time location tracking so you can see where your child is on a map, right from your smartphone. And when they’re out of range of cell service, you can still see their location on your phone if they’re within range of one of Verizon’s network extenders
8. Xplora X5 Play
The Xplora X5 Play is a rugged, waterproof watch that offers real-time tracking of steps, distance traveled, calories burned, and sleep quality. It has a 72-hour battery life on standby and up to 15 hours with the GPS feature activated. There’s an altimeter for elevation and a heart monitor for calories burned during exercise. The watch also has a music player with 4GB of storage and can be paired with wireless headphones or speakers. It includes two interchangeable bands: one sports a rubber look and the other is made of leather.
Truly free from any monthly fees, the X5 Play costs $150 and comes with a 1-year warranty.
What is the best GPS tracker for kids?
The best GPS tracker for kids is the Jiobit Smart Tag, which is a tiny device that attaches to your child’s backpack or clothing. It’s waterproof, has a battery that lasts up to one week, and works in real-time.
The Apple AirTag is a good choice if you want to track your child’s location without any subscription fees. However, it only works with an Apple device and has no battery of its own.
Invoxia Cellular GPS Tracker is less expensive than the Jiobit but also offers less functionality—you’ll have to pay an annual subscription fee and it only works with iPhones.
The Garmin Bounce works for up to two days on a single charge and has the ability to send live alerts when your child leaves or enters certain geographic areas. The SyncUp Kids Watch has similar functionality but costs more at $174.
If you’re looking for something more affordable, try the Verizon GizmoWatch ($200), which also sends live alerts when your child leaves or enters certain geographic areas but doesn’t offer any other advanced features like geo-fencing or tracking apps.
If you want something even cheaper than the GizmoWatch, consider Xplora X5 Play ($150), which offers 72 hours of standby battery.
Which GPS tracker is right for you?
If you’re thinking about getting one for your child, here’s what you should know:
If you want a GPS tracker that’s specifically designed for kids, Jiobit Smart Tag is the best option. It’s small, lightweight, and waterproof—and it comes with an app that lets you track your child’s location in real time.
The Apple AirTag is another great option if you’re looking for an Apple-friendly product. It’s also lightweight and waterproof, but unlike the Jiobit Smart Tag, it doesn’t have any apps or additional features (it just sends alerts when your child leaves designated areas).
If you’re looking for something discreet-looking that won’t stand out too much on your kid’s wrist, Invoxia Cellular GPS Tracker might be right for you. You can get location updates via text message or email—or if you have an Android phone, you can use their app to get real-time updates.
And if you’re looking for a smartwatch loaded with features and real-time tracking capabilities? The Garmin Bounce fits the bill.
It comes in two sizes: one for kids 4-8 years old (the Xplora X5 Play) and one for kids 9-13 years old (the SyncUp Kids Watch). Both come with a GPS tracker built in so parents can follow their child’s location.
How to choose the best GPS tracker for kids
- In terms of tracking location, we looked for products that provide frequent updates. The more often the tracker communicates its location to a map, the more closely it can pinpoint where your child is at any given time.
- One-way calling is a useful feature for emergencies: in case a child gets lost or stranded (or you’re worried about abductions), you can call on their tracker to get them home safely.
- Geofenced zones are useful for keeping track of your child’s whereabouts during school hours or other scheduled activities. When the tracker enters or leaves a designated area (such as school grounds), you’ll know if they’ve arrived safely or if they’re not making it to class on time.
Geofenced zones: The seven trackers we tested all have this feature. Geofences allow you to set up virtual fences around areas where you’d like your child to be. Once they enter a zone, you’ll get an alert through the app (for most models) or on your device directly (in the case of the Trax Play).
We found the geofenced zones to be very effective when combined with the other features of these trackers—it’s great to know that if your child leaves school grounds, for example, you’ll be notified immediately. However, some testers reported that the geofenced zones were triggered accidentally, because their kids came back from school in a different direction than usual. That’s something to consider when setting up these zones locally, as well as when deciding how many are necessary—it’s very easy to set up too many of these virtual boundaries, which can result in false alarms and mass notifications that sometimes come at inappropriate times.
Design: We looked at durability first because kid-friendly gadgets aren’t always made with durability and longevity in mind. If you want something that will last and be able to handle wear and tear from your kids’ active lifestyles and curious hands, you’ll need to look for something that’s water-resistant (and ideally waterproof) and made from sturdy materials like metal.
Ease of use: It’s also important to consider how easy the device is to use—which may sound like an obvious point, but sometimes devices can be over- or under-complicated. If you have little ones who aren’t used to using electronics on their own, you’ll want a device that is really easy for them to set up on their own without your help.
Price: A simple GPS tracker can be purchased for as little as $20, but the price range goes up from there. The best one for you will depend on how much you’re willing to spend.
Security: Different trackers have different levels of security—some only allow you to see where the device is at any given time, others can give you reports on distance traveled and speed over time, and some are even equipped with two-way texting capabilities so that you can send messages back and forth with your child. When choosing a GPS tracker for your child, it’s important to decide what level of information and security you need.
Ultimately, the best GPS tracker for kids is the one that you feel most comfortable with. Picking a GPS unit for your children’s safety is a big decision, and it is important to take your time in making this decision. Look at durability, battery life, and store reviews. Look at different options from different brands and weigh the pros and cons from each one. When you decide on which brand/product works best for you and your child/children, you will know that you made the right choice.
Parvinder Singh is a seasoned IT developer and network engineer with over 5 years of experience. He is also a skilled tech columnist, offering insights on the latest trends and developments in the tech industry.