For children, Halloween is all about having fun, dressing up in a fun costume and eating entirely too much candy. Unfortunately for parents, it’s also one of the deadliest days of the year for child pedestrian fatalities. The safety of our children is always more important than tricks or treats, and modern location technologies — and wearable safety devices — let us pinpoint our children’s whereabouts with great accuracy.
How do you choose the right option for your child if you aren’t ready to invest in an expensive device with a monthly cell plan? What about parents who are on a budget and only need to locate their children for one-day events like Halloween?
6 affordable child location devices to keep your little ghouls and ghosts safe this Hallow’s Eve:
The MyBuddyTag is a great option for parents who want a device that can be secured to the wrist, and it has several different types of fun band options. This wearable comes with either a silicone, terry cloth or Velcro wrist band, and is available in black, yellow, green, red, and blue. One of its main advantages is that you can find a comfy fit for any age group and wrist size.
The MyBuddyTag pairs with an Apple and Android compatible app, featuring a proximity alert with a pre-determined safe zone. The Bluetooth device has an 80 to 120 foot range, has an easy-to-use panic button, is water-proof and features a unique water safety alert that notifies you if the device is submerged in water. The My Buddy Tag’s battery can’t be replaced, a feature sacrificed for superior water-proofing, and the battery lasts about a year. While you can assign names to each device for multiple children, you can only tether the locator to one phone at a time, so only one parent or guardian can view location data.
The Guardian wearable comes with a turquoise, grey or pink, BPA-free wrist band, and its app can connect with most Apple and Android devices. It weighs only 20 grams, has a replaceable battery, is water-resistant and has a range of up to 230 feet. Parents set a safety zone, and are notified when a child wanders outside of the safety zone, as with similar products. The Guardian has gotten some negative Amazon reviews in the past, but the company has addressed many of the original, troubling design flaws. For every two Guardians you buy, one is donated to a family in need — that’s a major perk.
$40 to $60
The Mommy I’m Here brand makes two different types of locators, the original Mommy I’m Here, a low-tech option that uses radio frequencies and an alarm, and the Bluetooth-powered Teddy Tag, which connects to Apple and Android devices.
The Mommy I’m Here consists of a bear-shaped radio receiver for the child and keychain radio transmitter for the parent, with a range of around 150 feet. When the child wanders approximately 30 feet from the parent, the transmitter chirps. The parent can choose to activate a 90-decibel alarm to locate the child easily. This device is water-resistant, durable and comes in brown, pink or blue. It could be a simple option for young children, since it is tamper and shock-resistant, though it obviously doesn’t broadcast detailed location data to your smart phone.
The Bluetooth-enabled Teddy Tag also has a range of 150 feet, but it has smaller dimensions and weighs only .04 pounds. While the Teddy Tag still includes the 90-decibel alarm option for quick location, it also features a more advanced location system that allows parents to set a safe zone and view real-time location data. The device has a panic button, is water-resistant, is re-chargeable with a mini USB and includes a tamper alert so that children can’t shut off the device without receiving permission from a parent’s cell phone. It also comes with a 90-day warranty for manufacturing defects.
Another Bluetooth location option is a quarter-sized sticker like the StickNFind, which comes with a keychain mount or can be securely attached to a variety of other surfaces. The sticker weighs only .15 ounces. The accompanying app works with Apple products or Samsung Android devices.
Similar to the Teddy Tag, these handy location stickers allow parents to sound an alarm, buzz or flash a light to assist in locating lost or wandering children within its 100 foot range. The light feature could be especially helpful for trick-or-treating during poorly-lit dusk hours. This device has a long battery life and is powered by an easy-to-replace standard watch battery. Its buzzing feature could also come in handy for older children who simply need a reminder to stay close or check in with parents.
The Bit is smaller than a penny and waterproof. It will even be safe if it ends up going through your washer and dryer. This makes it a perfect option for parents who wish to sew the tracker into clothing, shoes or a jacket. The accompanying app is available for Apple, Android and Windows devices, unlike many competitors. Battery life ranges from 12 to 18 months, and the device can track children up to 656 feet, over 6x the distance of most devices.
While The Bit is a favorite in terms of pricing and functionality, the company is currently so overwhelmed with orders that they aren’t able to fulfill new requests. Despite this production setback, it felt wrong not to mention such an amazing product, so keep this company on your radar for next year!
For older kids who already have cell phones, parents don’t need to buy an additional device. There are plenty of family connector apps available for free download. Life 360, Glympse and Footprints have all gotten great reviews from safety organizations, and they allow you to track your teens’ phone from anywhere. These apps are especially helpful if you’re allowing your older child to take younger siblings out for Halloween festivities while you stay home and give out candy. It’s impossible to be both places at once, but with family connector apps you can stay informed — and supervise.
Trick-or-treating is an iconic part of Halloween, especially for youngsters who are excited for candy and treats. While it’s important to keep basic neighborhood trick-or-treating safety tips in mind, Bluetooth wearables are a great addition to your Halloween safety arsenal. It shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to keep tabs on your kids — unless this is part of your costume! — so keep your child safe this spooky season with one of these six affordable locator options.