Since the beginning of time, parents have longed for nothing more than to keep their children safe. And though parenting has vastly changed in the last few decades with the introduction of terms like helicopter parenting and technology, safety is still the goal. That's where smartwatch GPS systems for kids come in.
Unlike traditional GPS units that help you navigate a roadway or trail, these GPS trackers are used to keep tabs on your children's whereabouts. These small devices will entice your child with their smartwatch functionality and will allow you to pinpoint where they are without hovering two-feet behind. GPS watches for kids are a great way to start showing your kids how to be independent.
How Kids GPS Watches Work
Kids GPS tracker watches work much like the GPS in your phone does, to allow you to track your child via smartphone in real-time. Many of these watches are paired with a SIM card and cell phone carrier, essentially making them less-functional mobile phones. This allows kids and parents to talk, without the worry of other people contacting them via phone call or text.
Benefits of GPS Watch for Kids
GPS watches for kids have many benefits, especially for the 7-11 age group. I target this group because this is generally the age when children are ready to start going off on their own a bit, but they may not be responsible enough to keep track of a traditional smartphone. A watch has the benefit of being attached to your wrist, so you aren't going to leave it behind accidentally.
Smartwatches will not only allow you to track your child using the Global Positioning System, but most will allow you to communicate with your child via voice calling. The apps for these watches let the parent monitor precisely who your child can communicate with.
Along with the above, smartwatches give children some of the functionality of having a smartphone, such as games and an alarm clock, without giving them access to the entire Internet.
Even if you don't use a smartwatch for everyday use, we still recommend using a GPS tracker for your child when visiting crowded places, like concert venues and theme parks. If you and your child get separated, you will have an easy way to communicate.
Choosing a High-Quality GPS Kids Tracker Watch
Tracking Range & Accuracy
For most parents, the most crucial feature of a GPS smartwatch is the ability to track the location of their child. Some of these units are better at tracking than others. When shopping, look for smartwatches that have dual or triple tracking, as these will be more precise. Also, make sure to read the fine print. Some watches admittedly say that their location data may be as far off as 4 miles (!!!) if a child is indoors or an area with inadequate coverage.
Geofencing is the ability to alert the parent when a child has gone outside a set boundary. For example, school. You can set an alert to tell you when your child has left the school building so that you know that they are on their way home.
Construction & Design
More than just functionality, it's essential to have a smartwatch that your child will actually be happy to wear. Look for fun designs, bright colors, comfortable wristbands, and an easy-to-see screen. Extra features to look for might include shock and abrasion-resistant (shatter-proof screen) and waterproofing.
All the smartwatches on our list have a battery that will need to be recharged via USB. These batteries are usually a custom lithium polymer build, and when they are completely dead, it is generally cheaper to replace the entire unit than just the battery itself. The battery life will depend on the specific watch and how often you use it/have the tracker running. Some of the watches can last for an outing (3-4 hours), and others can last up to 100 hours.
Monthly Cost (SIM)
Smartwatches require a SIM card to function correctly. Most of the games and other functions will work without a SIM card, but to accurately track your child, you will need a SIM card. These can be purchased on Amazon or through your cell phone carrier for $5 to $10 and placed within the watch.
A monthly plan for a smartwatch is also about $5 to $10, but there are a few smartwatches with additional features (like video calling) in which the monthly plan will be higher.
SOS Alerts, Two-Way Calling
Beyond knowing where your child is, it's vital for most parents also to be able to communicate with their child. It is standard for smartwatch GPS trackers to have two-way communication between the watch and the parent or person responsible for the app.
Another great feature is the SOS signal. In most instances, if the child presses the SOS button for a certain length of time (usually 3 seconds), then the watch will automatically start calling the emergency contacts.
Dimensions & Weight
Whereas all of the smartwatches on our list are made for children (and most are specified for ages 4-12), you may want to check the product dimensions and weight to make sure the watch will fit your child appropriately.
The only way for you to actually track your child with a GPS smartwatch is to have a compatible smartphone of your own that can easily use the provided app. Most of the smartwatches we reviewed are compatible with more than one carrier but make sure to double-check before purchasing. For instance, the TickTalk3 cannot be paired with a phone on the Verizon or Sprint network.
Price & Warranty
The cost of these watches generally speaks to what you can expect of the product. There are cheaper watches that have less battery life and features than their more expensive counterparts. Likewise, remember that you will almost always incur an additional monthly cost to run these child trackers. Look for a product with a clear warranty of at least a year to make sure you get the most out of your purchase.
7 Best GPS Kids Tracker Watches Reviewed
1. Jsbaby (Boys)
Best GPS Tracker Watch for Boys
Unlimited within US/Canada
Plan or Cost Per Month
Compatible with T-Mobile Data Plan (estimated $10/month)
Stores up to 10 Numbers
Yes IP68 Waterproof
Yes – 1 Year Warranty
If you already use T-Mobile as your cell phone provider, then this Jsbaby smartwatch tracker is the best GPS tracker watch for boys on the go. The watch comes relatively cheap at under $40, but you’ll need to see your T-Mobile provider for a SIM card with data, voice and text plan. It might sound like that would all begin to add up, but most users have reported an average of $10/month for this invaluable service of keeping their kiddos safe.
Your kids will love this watch as much as you do because it is so much more than a GPS tracker. Equipped with games, a camera, a high-definition color screen, and an alarm, your child will think that this is the coolest gadget. That's not even to mention our favorite feature – this watch is entirely waterproof. You need not worry about it losing power because your son is splashing in puddles or getting it wet while washing his hands.
Along with GPS tracking, this smartwatch allows you to store up to 10 phone numbers for voice communication. You can also text with your child through the JSbaby app. There is even an SOS feature. If your child ever needs you immediately, they can activate the SOS function, which will automatically cycle through your 3 emergency numbers until there is an answer.
The only downside to this Jsbaby smartwatch is that in indoor areas without a strong cell signal or poor GPS satellite locations, your child's actual location may be inaccurate by 0.5 to a full 4 miles. For the watchful parent, this inaccuracy might be enough to cause a panic. Rest assured, though; you should still be able to communicate with your child even when GPS location is off.
2. Themoemoe Kids
Best GPS Tracker Watch for Girls
Plan or Cost Per Month
Compatible with 2G Networks (estimated $5/month)
Stores 3 Contacts
Yes – 1 Year Warranty
This smartwatch by Themoemoe Kids is the best GPS tracker watch for girls. We love its all-pink design for the little princess that wants to look just like mommy. One of the best features of this smartwatch is that it uses double positioning with both AGPS and LBS, so you can always count on an accurate real-time reading of where your child is.
A 2G SIM card is required for GPS locating, but you don’t need to be on any specific carrier’s plan. Themoemoe suggests using a SpeedTalk Mobile 2G SIM card, which is part of the T-Mobile network, and will get you up and running for about $5 a month. Then, to track your child, you simply need to set up the app "Setracker 2” for iOs or Android.
Another fantastic feature that parents love about this smartwatch is the ability to access the camera and microphone via the app secretly. This feature literally lets you be the eyes and ears around your child so that you can see what they are doing is safe. Parent controls also allow you to lock down features such as games in a "do not disturb" mode, so your child can still wear their watch in class and not get distracted.
The only complaint we saw time and again was that the Themoemoe Kids is not waterproof, or in many cases, water-resistant at all, and can incur damage easily.
Best Mid-Priced GPS Watch for Kids
Plan or Cost Per Month
Compatible with 3G Networks (estimated $10/month)
Yes IP65 Waterproof
This smartwatch by Autopmall fits the bill as the best mid-priced GPS watch for kids. It’s more expensive than the first two products on our list, but for the older child, the difference in features is worth the price.
The Autopmall model can connect to any 3G network so that in itself is a huge upsell, though the company claims that they are most compatible with AT&T. You can rest assured that your child is where the watch claims they are because the Autopmall supports GPS+WIFI+LBS triple positioning.
It should be noted, though, that the standard preset on the watch is to track location every hour. This is a function made to extend the battery life for a full 24-48 hours. You can change the settings to track location every minute, but this will be at the expense of the battery life.
This watch comes with a waterproof rating, so there is no need for your child to take it off when playing in and around water. It also might serve as the best GPS running watch for kids, because it has a built-in pedometer and health assistant. Other fun features include compatibility with Wechat, the ability to connect with other friends with the same watch, and a camera.
This watch is currently only available via Amazon, and unfortunately, the warranty information is not clear, which is the only downside.
Top of the Range
Plan or Cost Per Month
Compatible with 4G Networks (estimated $10 per month)
Stores up to 53 Contacts
Yes - IP67
Yes – 1 Year Warranty
If you’re looking for a more top of the range model of GPS smartwatch, then look no further than the TickTalk3; the first GPS smartwatch for kids that has incorporated video conferencing onto their device.
This watch uses 800x480 dpi resolution so that you can not only hear your child but see them and their surroundings. Its instant messaging center allows you also to text, send voice messages, and share pictures and emojis. It even has preset one-touch text responses, such as “Just arrived” and “I’m on the school bus.”
The TickTalk3 comes with a sturdy nylon wristband that will stand up to any sports or water activities that your child participates in. Its Velcro makes it the most versatile kids' GPS watch too. The bands are also interchangeable and come in a variety of different colors and styles, so your child can accessorize in style – they make great stocking stuffers too!
This smartwatch for kids uses a regular cell phone plan. The company estimates that $10 per month should be able to get you 500 minutes, 500 SMS, and 500MB data. And if your child is connected to WiFi, then no data will be used at all.
Happy mom Lisa-Raquel tells us on that TickTalk website that,
“My son is 8 years old and I wanted something that would make it easier for us to touch base when he goes to his afterschool program or if he needs to get in touch with us in an emergency. I wanted an option other than a cell phone and did a lot of research. I loved the Tick Talk 3 option and also loved that it has a location device and an app that I can set up and use from my phone. We are very happy with this purchase!”
Within North America
Plan or Cost Per Month
Works on 2G networks (estimated $5-$10 per month)
Stores up to 10 contacts
Yes but no rating
Yes – 1 Year Warranty
Karaforna creates a smartwatch GPS tracker for kids that is one of the best rated kids’ devices on Amazon. Why do so many people like this watch? Primarily for its ease of use. With straightforward features, kids can call mom and dad, play math games, use a camera, and have a flashlight.
There is even a function that allows you to listen in on your kids via the microphone discreetly, but we're still on the fence about whether or not this is a good thing because technically anyone who hacked into the app could accomplish the same thing.
At first glance, it's evident that this watch looks like a mini-version of the Apple watch most of us are wearing these days, only kiddie size (and in more fun colors). Kids can choose from black, blue, pink, and purple.
The Karaforna kids' smartwatch works with 2G networks, but it should be noted that it is not compatible with AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint. Likewise, many places in the US have begun shutting down their 2G networks, so you will need to make sure that your locality has one before purchasing for this watch to work.
Karaforna says that their watch is fully waterproof, but we could not find an exact waterproofing rating to verify this.
Plan or Cost Per Month
Compatible with 2G networks (estimated $5-$10 per month)
Save up to 10 contacts
Yes - 1P68
Yes – 1 Year Warranty
The SZBXD is the most comfortable model kids’ smartwatch on our list, with a rugged design that will hold up to any of the rough-housing your child may get into. It also has an IP68 waterproof rating, which is only one mark off the highest-possible rating. This means that this watch will not only stand up to water activities from swimming to diving to splashing but that it's also entirely dust-resistant. Trust us when we say that it is the Jeep of kids' smartwatches.
Another watch built for 2G networks, the SZBXD is an affordable option for families on the T-Mobile network. The only downside is that when your child goes indoors, the GPS can sometimes be thrown off by up to 4 miles. Given that most children don’t travel that far at all, this is definitely something to consider.
Parents have enjoyed the "Class in Mode," which allows you to set up to three different time ranges in which nothing on the watch will work except for the SOS mode. Many users have also noted the excellent battery life, with the need to charge only every couple of days. We have found that with these watches, though, the more you use them, the faster the battery drains.
Mini GPS Tracker for Kids
Plan or Cost Per Month
$9 or $13 options
Up to 1 week
Not waterproof, but water-resistant
Yes or no, if yes, how long
The last item on our list isn’t a smartwatch, but it is still a mini GPS tracker for kids that is worth noting. The Jiobit is a GPS tracker that works must like Tile does to help keep your keys or phone located, only with kids in mind and an unlimited range distance.
The Bluetooth enabled device is about the size of a cracker and can be discreetly clipped onto clothing or shoes. You won't be able to communicate with your child, but you will know precisely where they are at all times.
This is a great option for parents who are ready to give their children more independence and responsibility while also keeping them safe. The Jiobit can also be used for senior citizens who have a tendency to wander off, and even pets.
Jiobit is a US-based company that takes data extremely seriously, and they equip their devices with COPPA certified encryption so that you won’t need to worry about anyone else knowing where your child is but you.
Many families have shared their positive testimonials with Jiobit; in a series, they call "Jiobit Stories." The primary goal is the peace of mind knowing where your child is, and that's a win for every parent. The company is even in the works of developing a magnetic-pin lock that will attach the Jiobit to your child's clothing and require a unique key for removal – a great idea for kids who tend to misplace things or absently remove them.
GPS Kids Watch vs. Other Kid’s Tracking Devices
Although GPS kid's watches and tracking devices have the same goal in mind – to keep tabs on your child – there are obviously some vast differences. Mainly, tracking devices like the Jiobit are just locators. They do not provide you with any more information.
GPS kids' watches, on the other hand, are designed to be fun and keep your child entertained as well. They also work more like a walkie-talkie or cell phone and allow two-way communication between child and guardian.
Kids GPS Locator Apps
Some of the smartwatches we've looked at in this review can connect with additional apps outside of their built-in features. Check to see if your phone or watch is compatible with these great apps that include extra tracking features.
Compatible with your child's smartphone or many smartwatches, Find My Kids app is the best GPS tracker app available for iOS. We loved that this app allows you to set alerts for when children leave or enter a location, whether it be home, school, or a friend's home. It can even alert you when your child's battery is running low, so there isn't panic if you lose contact. Find My Kids isn't free, but you can get an entire year of tracking for around $30.
Step by Step was explicitly designed for Smart Baby Watches, but it is compatible as a phone & GPS watch tracker for many brands and carriers. It is basically the Android version of Find My Kids. It provides and safe way to keep tabs on your kids without being too invasive. Some users have noted that the GPS for this tracker is often slightly off (by a few houses or even blocks), so that’s just something to be aware of.
One more kids GPS smartwatch-compatible location tracker app is SeTracker2. This app allows you to use an intercom function to talk to your child. It can also set up a geofence, to alert you if your child had gone outside of a specified location. Most parents' favorite feature of this watch, though, it the alarm that helps you find the watch. Kids often take their watches off at the end of the day and can't remember where they set it down. This app will ensure you don't spend too much time digging between the couch cushions.
Setting up a Kids GPS Watch
All kids GPS watches will come with their own instruction manual, but the necessary setup steps are relatively similar:
- 1Purchase a compatible SIM card for your watch.
- 2Make sure that the watch is fully charged before you begin.
- 3Download the recommended phone app to connect with your child’s smartwatch.
- 4Insert the SIM card into the correct slot.
- 5Turn the smartwatch to ON and follow the on-screen prompts to connect the watch to your smartphone.
In addition to the steps above, make sure that you check all your settings to your preferences. This includes how often you want the GPS to track. Most watches have options for monitoring every hour and tracking every minute. Newer watches can track in real-time.
Tracking GPS Devices: Common Issues & Fixes
When right out of the box, the chief complaint about kids’ smartwatches is that the parent can't get it to locate via GPS correctly. Unfortunately, this is usually of no fault to the watch and is often a network issue.
This is why it is imperative that you check to make sure that your cell phone carrier is compatible with the network that you are on. We can not stress it enough – not all SIM cards are compatible with every carrier, and not every smartwatch can be accessed on every smartphone.
Another common issue with these watches is the battery frequently dying. Most of these watches have custom lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries, and like smartphones, the more you use the functions, the faster the battery will drain.
If this means that your child can't make it through the day without their battery dying, it might mean he/she needs to cut back on the game and camera mode. Over-charging your battery can also harm its lifespan. When your battery does eventually die, it will likely be easier and more cost-effective to purchase a new watch than a new battery.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Geofencing?
In the traditional sense, geofencing is location-based targeting (usually with ads) that helps companies to market to a specific group of people based on their physical location. In terms of smartwatches for kids, geofencing is more of an actual boundary. Parents can see where their children are located within a specific region, and if they go outside the set boundaries, the parents will receive an alert or notification.
How accurate are these Kids GPS watches?
GPS watches are incredibly accurate, using the same technology that your iPad or tablet uses to "find my device." There are times, of course, when the location might be slightly off due to satellite interference, but for the most part, these devices are very accurate. (Please note in our reviews the instances when we mention some watches do not locate well indoors.)
Will these devices help keep my children safe?
GPS trackers for kids are becoming increasingly popular, as moms and dads want to keep tabs on their kids without being a helicopter parent. Together with your smartphone’s technology, a GPS watch can absolutely keep your child safe. These watches are especially popular for use by parents of children with special needs (some of whom are non-verbal and may have tendencies to wander) and for families on vacation in very busy places (like Disney World).
Where is the best place to buy GPS watches for kids?
Amazon is hands-down the best place to purchase a GPS smartwatch for kids. Not only do they have awesome customer support and fast shipping, but they also have the most comprehensive selection to choose from.
For better or worse, technology keeps advancing every day. And now that we live in a day and age where it's not safe to let your kids wander the neighborhood alone, smartwatch GPS trackers are here to help.
Most all of these trackers provide the same essential functions; it's up to you to decide how many bells and whistles you want to include. For a top of the range model that provides everything, including video calling, we recommend the TickTalk3. If you're looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Jsbaby is a great choice.
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