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We understand that when it comes to the safety of your child, there’s little room for unknowns.
A GPS watch can not only function to give you peace of mind and act as an invaluable tool should the worst happen, it can also offer a range of features to make your child’s day to day easier.
However, it can get easy to get mired down in the technology market.
It moves so fast and is only picking up speed, that sometimes it can seem like trying to read another language. Fortunately for you, we’ve canvassed the market and picked out our five favorite GPS watches for children.
We’ve not only listed them below but have also included a short buyers’ guide for you to read if you want to learn about these watches and what makes them tick.
In a hurry?
This is our Winner!
Why is it our top pick?
Got a school trip coming up soon? If you want an extra eye on your child in their misadventures as soon as possible, then we’ve got our top product here.
We chose the Verizon GizmoWatch since it’s a neutral-looking GPS watch from a well-known company with the specs to match.
See exactly why we chose it below:
- This product works with the Gizmo app that allows you to keep track of the location of your child. It even has geofencing capabilities where a range is set so that if the GPS crosses out of the boundary, an alert is sent to your app.
- Verizon is the largest 4G LTE network in America, and this watch has unmatched, built-in compatibility with it, having voice call and messaging capabilities. It can keep up to ten trusted contacts for your child to call in casual or emergency situations.
- Includes accessory features like fitness step count trackers and calendar schedules to organize your upcoming events. It also looks stylish and subtle, not looking like a child’s watch.
Best GPS Watches for Kids - Comparison Table
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Best GPS Watches for Kids - Reviews
The first watch on the list is from a company you’re sure to recognize, it’s the GizmoWatch from Verizon. Its GPS connects to your smartphone via the Gizmo app that’s available on most app stores and enables you to remotely check the location of the watch. It not only tracks the watch but is capable of setting up geofences which set boundaries for your child and alerts your smartphone when those boundaries are crossed.
Being backed by the United States’ largest 4G LTE network, this watch has built-in compatibility with the cellular and messaging services of Verizon and can keep up to ten contacts to call and message. This is useful for both general communication and emergency situations.
This isn’t just a standard GPS watch, however, as it has other accessory features that can help improve your child’s lifestyle. The foremost two of these are its fitness and calendar systems that count steps or allow you to set reminders, perfect for motivating children to get more physical activity or for remedying a particularly forgetful child.
It also doesn’t look that much like a child’s watch. The so-called ‘timepiece’ itself looks like any other smartwatch that you’ll see adults wearing, and so it’s more likely to pass the distinguished style requirements that your child may have.
The great cellular capabilities of this watch carry a downside, that being that it requires a Verizon plan to access all of its features.
The second watch we liked was the TickTalk 3 Universal Kids Smart Watch. This watch goes above and beyond in its abilities to keep in contact with your child, having two-way video calling where you can talk to your child face to face.
Its instant message center also allows for group chats to be set up, and in them you can send texts, voice, and photograph messages for more elaborate communications.
As for the GPS tracking itself, the TickTalk 3 is 50% faster than previous models since it uses 4G reception to locate the watch. It’s even capable of tracking more than one watch at a time on the same map, and even backtrack a watch’s previous movements.
The physical watch itself is pretty impressive too, being rated water resistant to IP67 meaning it should withstand a meter or water for a half hour, though colloquially we’d just say its splash-proof.
If your child is fussy or you’re wary of them not liking how the watch looks, this model has a replaceable band that can be customized so that it fits any child’s tastes. It also serves a practical purpose should the band get damaged by your child’s antics.
Our third product is the DUIWOIM Smart Watch for Kids, which sounds perfect for what we want from the product. The watch uses AGPS triple positioning systems that allow for tracking in real time.
It’s capable of storing three emergency numbers that, in the event of an SOS signal, will cycle between the three until someone answers. If you call this watch with a certain number, you can discreetly listen to what your child is getting up to as well.
During certain periods where the distraction of the smartwatch’s other functions is unproductive, such as in the classroom, this smartwatch can limit its function. This doesn’t change the SOS system though, so rest assured.
This watch is also waterproof rated to IP67 meaning that it’s splash-proof and can even withstand short submersions into water, like the kind that’d happen during bathing.
A downside to this watch is that it looks like a child’s watch, and so may not pass the style standards of older children. We’d say this is designed for younger children.
Our next watch is one that stands out against the other options. Not only is it a watch from a titan in the smartwatch market, it’s a fitness running watch. This means that it’s GPS is a very versatile one that can also track the distance and speed at which your child moves.
This fitness-oriented GPS can help you keep tabs on your child if you connect it to your phone, since it’s compatible with iPhone and Android phones. It also has heart rate monitoring that can be 24/7, but we doubt your child will wear it for every hour of every day.
It has the durability of a fitness watch, being waterproof to 5 ATM and so quite capable of lingering in water without sustaining any long-term damage. It also comes in a variety of colors, some of which are neutral and so more likely to appeal to your child, though it does risk going too far in the other direction and looking too mature. Overall, this seems like a good watch that your child can grow into.
The app that this product syncs with is invaluable for keeping an eye on your child, but since it’ll be on your phone you should know that the app is intrusive. This means that it’s always running in the background, which many will be fine with, but this can eat up phone performance.
The final product in the list is a somewhat older product that we think can stand up today for those on a budget. It’s the Owl Cole GPS Smart Phone Watch, which uses 2G and 3G data traffic to get in contact with your child via voice messages sent out to up to fifteen contacts. A downside to this is the fact that it’s only 3G where many market options are 4G, but this should still be enough for most calls in most areas.
The watch also features an SOS emergency call system as well as a remote camera so you can check in on your child via video link. It also has additional features like the ability to set alarms and a fitness tracker that counts both steps and estimated burnt calories.
The watch itself is also waterproof to a modest but respectable IP67 rating. Your children won’t wear this watch diving anytime soon, but it’ll handle any puddles they could drop it in. The phone watch does look like a child’s watch, though, and so you’ll need your child to be okay with that if you expect them to wear it regularly.
Best GPS Watches for Kids - Buyers Guide
How to find the best GPS watches
We’ve written this buyers’ guide to help you find the best GPS watches, particularly the best ones for kids. You’ll want your child’s watch to have several features that will keep them safe through the long periods they may be away from home. As such, we’ll be covering the importance of GPS tracking, parental controls, SOS call capability, durability, battery life, and last but certainly not least, the style.
GPS tracking enables you to know the whereabouts of your child in a way that wasn’t feasible a few decades ago. Now watches can feature GPS trackers that work with apps that allow you to find lost children with a few swipes of your smartphone. More advanced GPS trackers may even allow for geofencing, where you set a boundary and you can be alerted if the boundary gets crossed.
Parental controls are just provisions put in place so that you can have control over when the smartwatch is functioning, such as in school where distracting devices like smartwatches are best deactivated. This doesn’t deactivate the main features of the watch, like the GPS tracking, but instead limits any recreational activities that child may seek distractions in.
This is self-explanatory, being a button or some other easily accessed mechanism that can put out a range of alerts to different emergency contacts, often the parents or even 911. When these multi-directed calls get triggered, the smartwatch should cycle between the contacts until one answer.
Calling and Camera
Not all smartwatches are equipped with two-way calling, so if that’s what you want in a smartwatch, you’ll need to make sure your chosen product supports calling. These will require SIM cards and cell phone plans usually, though if your child already has a cell phone it can be connected to the smartwatch to allow for calls and messaging from the watch itself. A step up from that would be the use of a camera on the smartwatch itself. This has no real safety applications except for the ability to facetime your child during calls.
The last thing you want is your child’s GPS watch taking enough punishment that the tracking chip breaks. This is why you should seek out GPS watches made from durable materials like shatter-proof glass. This will enable the watch to take on daily wear and tear, including any sports activities they may end up participating in.
Waterproofing is also something to look for, especially if your child is likely to get into rough and tumble situations. An IP67 rating is good but if you can get higher than that for a reasonable price then it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Charging most smartwatches is simple since most take lithium batteries that get charged with USB cords, which can be found in almost every household nowadays. If your child is planning on using the smartwatch a lot then you’ll want a smartwatch with as much battery life as possible.
The more features a watch has, the less time they can last while those features are in use. This means you’ll want one with plenty of life if you’re planning on using this for calls with your child. A reasonable capacity for a battery to have, when worn for regularly, anywhere between 400 and 500 mAH, though higher is even better.
No matter how teched out your child’s smartwatch is, it won’t have much use as a safety device if your child doesn’t like to wear it. This is why it’s best to run the watch by your child first so that they can have some input in how the watch looks, or what color it is. If it’s uncomfortable they can also refuse to wear it, so aim for adjustable strapped smartwatches so that it’ll fit comfortably. It should also not be too complicated so that children can find it easier to use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are kids’ GPS watches safe?
The decision to get a GPS watch to ensure the safety of your child is one that needs to be weighed against the potential risk. Just like any piece of technology in your home, for example built-in cell phone cameras or internet routers, there’s the risk of it being hacked by wrongdoers.
The security of the GPS apps’ connection to the watch itself seems worse with the lower priced options, hence why the products above are on the mid to high mid end of the market. Many of the apps didn’t encrypt their communications, which makes them easy to hijack.
How much data does a kid’s GPS watch use?
Questions like these are best answered with averages since the answer can vary depending on the type and duration of use that the smartwatch sees. With average daily use the smartwatch will probably burn through somewhere between 20-30 megabytes a month.