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GPS Child Locator - Look at What it Can Do

iKids Phone

The NCIC (National Crime Information Center of the FBI) states that over 800,000 persons were reported missing in 2006 and that approximately 80 per cent of those persons were children (under the age of 18). As a result, many parents are concerned about the safety of their children when not in their direct supervision. Many devices are available to track and locate children, the most recent of which involves Global Positioning System technology. The GPS child locator utilizes the 24 satellites orbiting the earth to instantly locate a lost or possibly abducted child.

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See the GPS Child Locator example
in the video below

GPS Child Locator video

click the triangle to play

The locator systems provide a GPS device to be placed on the child, and either a receiver for the parent or a website where the parent can trace the child's whereabouts. Devices for children come in many shapes and sizes, such as a wristwatch, a necklace, and GPS chips placed in book bags, shoes, and clothing. The expense to the parents is the cost of the device plus the monthly monitoring fee, similar to the way cellular phone service operates.

How it works

The tracking a device is monitored by a third party called the Location Service Provider. The device on the child sends a signal to the location provider via GPRS (cell phone) transmission technology, allowing the service to pinpoint the child's location at any time. This location is given to the parent's either verbally via cell phone, or via the provider's website. Many of these trackers also have a "panic" button on the child's device. If the boy or girl is hurt, ill, gets lost, or is scared, he or she pushes the button and the parents are alerted.

Information received from the child's device includes position, time, and velocity. In addition to this basic GPS data, many locators allow parents to set up a geo-fence or "safe zone" for each child. This "safe zone" is an area specified by the parents as a child's normal route or path to school or in an around the neighborhood. If the child leaves the safe zone, the device automatically begins tracking and alerts the parents either via an alarm on their receiver, or via cell-phone from the location service provider. For a child who may have health problems or other special needs, the GPS child locator can also monitor heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure.

Many practical uses

Locator devices aren't just for parents frantic about children being abducted. A GPS child locator can also help keep track of kids in public places. For instance, the family goes to the beach. The children run and play on the sand and in the water. Mom or Dad looks away for a moment to spread out the blanket or rummage through the cooler for a juice box, and looks up to discover that one of the kids is no longer in sight. Or, the family is shopping at the mall or attending a large outdoor event and a child gets separated from the family. With the tracking device, a missing or lost child can easily be located, easing the fears of the parents and the trauma to the child.

Though this technology is quite effective, GPS does have some limitations. Unless the GPS child locator utilizes Assisted GPS (A-GPS), the child may not be traceable indoors. Tracking can be impeded outside, too, by tall building or natural features such as mountains. The major limit to effectiveness, however, is the child itself. If the boy or girl won't wear or carry the device, it's useless.

So, prior to purchasing a child tracking device, the parents should consider the age, personality, behavior and needs of their child. Will the child wear a watch or necklace? Either could be cumbersome or unusual to a toddler or pre-school aged child. Will he or she carry the book bag or wear the jacket? Boys and girls at this age may also remove and/or misplace items of clothing that contains the GPS chip. Older children may have less of a problem wearing the watch or necklace, but may forget to wear them or may not need their book bag or jacket everyday and leave them at home, at school, or at an after school activity.

What they cost

Once the type of coverage and type of device is determined, parents should do a little comparison shopping. Both the prices for GPS child locators and the monitoring charges can vary from device to device and from company to company. The equipment can cost between $200 and $400, and the monitoring fees usually start around $19.95 per month. Before making the final purchase, parents should also investigate the device for range, effectiveness, technical support services and warranties. The location service provider, too, should be checked for their reputation, level of support, and of customer service.

See related information at GPS Personal Locators and

GPS Cell Phone Tracking.

 

Browse all the other GPS articles and features.


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