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Does Your Kid Hate Watches? Try These Tracking Devices

My son joined a Little League baseball team this year. While he loves the sport, our 3-year-old daughter is the one who seems to have found her tribe. While their brothers practice, a flock of little sisters climb bleachers, play tag, and share snacks brought from home.

It's super cute, but a little nerve-wracking. They never stay in one place and routinely wander out of sight, prompting my husband or I to walk/jog away from the game to guide our daughter back into view. If only there were some technology out there that could help us keep track of our social butterfly.

We've tried watch GPS trackers, but they tend to be bulky and uncomfortable on her little wrist. And while watch-style kid-trackers dominate the market, there are a few that employ other designs. I tried two such devices with my kids: the KidConnect and the AngelSense. Both have some really interesting features.

AngelSense

The AngelSense impressed me right away with its extensive features and well-designed app. It was created by Doron Somer, whose son has autism; and while the AngelSense was designed with special needs families in mind, I see no reason the average child couldn't benefit from wearing one.

AngelSense GPS TrackerThe device is a specially programmed smartphone that can be attached to a child's clothes or secured around the waist via a strap. The pins that attach the phone to clothing or secure the belt can only be removed by a special tool, much like the anti-theft buttons cashiers remove at the checkout.

The number of ways AngelSense keeps you in touch with your child is impressive. It can alert you when the child is at a new location (and pulls the address's Street View from Google to help identify it); it can tell you where your kid has been and how fast he got there (i.e. if he's gotten in a car, you'll know); it allows you to listen in and talk to your child via the phone's speakerphone function; AngelSense GPS Trackerand it has a Runner Mode that updates the GPS every 10 seconds—great for tracking down a child who has wandered too far from the ballfield.

For the parent who struggles to keep tabs on a little one, worries about bullying at their child's school, or is concerned about how their non-verbal child might be treated at daycare, the AngelSense could be a literal lifesaver. My only complaint is that my kids weren't crazy about feeling the weight of the little phone hanging off their clothes or around their waist. I'm sure they could get used to it, though.

Plans start at $39.99 per month after purchasing the device itself for a one-time fee of $119 or $199, depending on which plan you select. While not the cheapest option I've seen, AngelSense is definitely the most robust.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_4KF_62tsc?controls=0&w=740&h=416]

KidsConnect

My kids (7 and 3) love the KidsConnect. Yes, it allows me to track their whereabouts, listen in to their surroundings, and set up geofences, but it's also an actual phone they can use to call any contacts I choose to program in.

KidsConnect TrackerThere are four speed dial buttons and an SOS button, which calls each emergency contact a parent has programmed in until someone answers. The interface is simple enough that my 3-year-old picked it up almost immediately, and I don't struggle to get them to keep it on them because they love having their own phone. The device is small, rounded, and made of slick plastic, so I don't trust it to stay put in my kids' pockets, but they've never resisted wearing it on the included lanyard.

My kids definitely preferred KidsConnect over the AngelSense simply because what kid doesn't want to have their own phone? But the parent interface—both via the app and the web portal—felt very foreign to me. It seems that the menus and dialogs have been (somewhat awkwardly) translated from another language, so programming the features and settings was a little confusing. But hey, it's a tracker my kids love, and the price is reasonable: an initial payment of $79.95 for the phone, and plans that start at $12.95 per month for 100 minutes of talk time.

For parents looking for a nearly-tamper-proof way to keep tabs on their little ones, AngelSense would definitely be worth the investment. But if the kids are old enough to be tasked with keeping a phone on their person and undamaged, the KidsConnect might be a good alternative.

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