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The best GPS trackers for kids, according to parents who use them

The top GPS trackers and devices for kids offer real-time tracking, alerts, and long battery life so you can have peace of mind. Here's what parents recommend.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer and  Sherin Shibu, Contributor on
Reviewed by Nina Raemont

Kids manage to wander off no matter how much we keep an eye on them. Whether you're at the grocery store, park, or airport, a GPS tracker can help you keep tabs on your child's location and grant peace of mind when it comes to your child's safety. 

 "When it comes to tech ethics, GPS tracking raises valid concerns," acknowledged Dr. Kaitlyn Siu, a child neurologist as well as founder and CEO of Teach Your Kids Code

"As a mother, ensuring the safety and well-being of my child is of utmost importance. However, I would balance the need for safety with respecting [my child's] privacy and autonomy, using the tracker as a tool for peace of mind rather than for constant surveillance."

These GPS tracking tools and devices are equipped with long-lasting batteries, smartphone integration, and portable designs that make them easy to clip onto a child's backpack or slip into their pocket

Also: The best smartwatches for kids

While there are many different options on the market, we've rounded up the best GPS trackers and devices for kids, including our top pick, the Jiobit Smart Tag. We spoke to experts like Siu as well as parents to determine our top picks that include devices from Apple, Garmin, and more so you can protect your child while they're out and about this summer. 

The best GPS trackers and devices for kids in 2023

Pros & Cons
  • Real-time tracking
  • Designed specifically for kids
  • Monthly subscription fee
More Details

Jiobit Smart Tag features: Price: $130 Battery life: One week | Real-time tracking: Yes | Monthly cost: $8.33 to $16.99 per month | Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Cellular, GPS 

Jiobit's Smart Tag is our pick for the best GPS tracker for kids thanks to its ability to simply clip on a belt or bag, comprehensive tracking features, and subtle yet effective alert system. The device comes with a charging cradle for powering the battery, which typically lasts around a week per full charge depending on your settings and use. 

In addition to the device price, the smart tag requires a monthly subscription with three different plans to choose from. The one-year prepaid plan costs $8.99 and the no contract plan comes at $16.99 per month. Each plan includes always-on connectivity and real-time location tracking, along with navigational directions to the Smart Tag's location.   

The front of the tracker contains a small emergency button that when pressed, sends an alert with the child's live location to their parent or guardian's smartphone. If needed, this feature can even dispatch emergency services by dialing 911. Note however, that the alert feature is only available under the Protect plan. 

The Jiobit Smart Tag is designed specifically for kids and includes ample features to help you keep tabs on your child at all times. However, with the monthly subscription, it's one of the most expensive tracking devices included on this list. 

Also: The best Bluetooth trackers

Pros & Cons
  • Inexpensive
  • Battery lasts for one year
  • Only works with Apple products
  • Problems with Apple's Find My network
More Details

Apple AirTag specs: Price: $29 or four for $85 | Battery life: One year | Real-time tracking: No | Monthly cost: None | Connectivity: Bluetooth, Apple's Find My Network 

Apple's AirTags are about the size of a quarter, and there are countless accessories you can use to attach the small tracker to a jacket or backpack -- or you can even slip it into a pocket. There's no monthly fee, and the battery lasts around a year -- after which you can replace the CR2032 battery. 

As far as performance goes, the AirTag does a solid job. The problem is that an AirTag requires another Apple device to be nearby and connected to the internet in order for its location to be shared with Apple's Find My network. 

For example, if your child doesn't have an Apple device with cellular capabilities, tracking a young child on the school bus requires someone -- most likely another student or the bus driver -- on the bus to have an iPhone or cellular Apple Watch. If there aren't any Apple devices on the bus, the location can't update. 

Another potential drawback to AirTags is that you need another Apple device to view the location. That means you'll need an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch for the initial setup. After that, you can use a Mac to view the AirTag's location. If you use a Windows or Android device, AirTags just won't work for you. 

An AirTag is better suited for tracking a lost backpack, keys, or another random item that require (somewhat) less urgency about tracking down. 

Review: Apple AirTags: Tile can't compete with Apple's Find My network

Pros & Cons
  • Schedule location notifications
  • Create alerts
  • Battery life depends on use frequency
More Details

Invoxia Cellular GPS Tracker specs: Price: $129 | Battery life: 4 months | Real-time tracking: Yes | Monthly cost: $29.90/year after first year | Connectivity: Bluetooth, GPS, LTE 

Invoxia's Cellular GPS Tracker looks more like a long USB drive than it does a tracking device. The blank housing has all of the hardware for LTE and GPS connectivity and a battery that can last up to four months.

For $129, you'll get the device and a year's worth of service. After the first year, you'll pay $29.90 for another year's worth of service. 

Also: The best kids phones starting at $99

"The most crucial incident where this tracker proved invaluable was during a family camping trip. Our family's youngest, prone to wanderlust, strayed from our campsite," said Johannes Larsson, a self proclaimed "techie," user, parent, and founder and CEO of Financer

"With the sinking feeling of panic setting in, the Invoxia Tracker proved its worth. Using real-time tracking, we pinpointed his location to a nearby stream, far from the designated trails," Larson explained. 

"Without this technological marvel, the outcome could have been drastically different. The experience underscored how such devices could serve as essential tools in our increasingly interconnected world, providing safety, security, and peace of mind." 

Using the Android or iPhone app, you can create alerts that are triggered whenever the tracker enters or leaves a specific area. For example, you can create an alert that lets you know when your child has arrived at school or got home. However, the timeliness of those alerts will depend on how often you have the tracker reporting its location. 

feature Invoxia added last year is Real-Time Boost, which will report the tracker's location every 30 seconds for the next 30 minutes. This feature only becomes active once your tracker does its next scheduled location update, and that's based on how often you currently have it set to update its location. 

There's also a button on the tracker that a child can press to send their current location. 

If you don't mind charging the device via a microUSB connection, and the 5-minute alert interval is acceptable to you, then the Invoxia Cellular GPS Tracker might make sense. However, due to its size, it's better suited for placement in a backpack. 

Pros & Cons
  • Color touchscreen display
  • Low monthly cost
  • Loaded with features and tracking
  • Battery life isn't great
More Details

Garmin Bounce specs: Price: $140 | Battery life: Two days | Real-time tracking: Yes | Monthly cost: $10/month | Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi, LTE

Garmin released its latest kids smartwatch, the Bounce, last November. Along with real-time location tracking, it includes communication features, health and sleep tracking, games, and much more. As far as tracking goes, parents can use location tracking on the Bounce to view their child's current whereabouts in the Garmin app and be notified when they leave pre-approved areas. 

LTE connectivity (that you can purchase from Garmin for $10/month) lets you have two-way texting and voice messaging with your kid for up to 20 parent-approved contacts. 

There are also great health metrics like sleep, steps, and active minutes to keep an eye on your growing child's health. Plus, Garmin includes activity-related games within the watch so kids can unlock rewards for meeting their active goals, or responsibilities parents set like completing a chore.

Also: The best Garmin watches 

Pros & Cons
  • Camera and task manager included
  • Easy and fun for kids to use
  • Free with service plan
  • $10/month for service
More Details

SyncUp Kids Watch specs: Price: $174 | Battery life: Up to a week | Real-time tracking: Yes | Monthly cost: No | Connectivity: 4G LTE 

For kids who are too young for a smartphone but mature enough to take care of a gadget, there are products like T-Mobile's SyncUp Kids Watch and the Verizon GizmoWatch (more on it in a minute). 

The wrist-worn gadget costs $174. However, if you're adding a line to your account, you can get the watch for free.   

In general, the SyncUp watch has similar functionality to what you'd find on a normal smartwatch. It includes a camera, and your child can use the device to send and receive messages. With the task manager, a parent can add chores or other tasks for their child to focus on after school.   

The interface is playful and easy for a child to use and includes a"School Mode" that disables extra features during class time to limit distraction.

Pros & Cons
  • School mode
  • Real-time tracking
  • Video calling
  • LTE connectivity costs extra
More Details

Verizon Gizmo Watch Disney Edition specs: Price: $200, plus a $35 activation fee | Battery life: Up to three days (standby) or 1.5 days constant use  | Real-time tracking: Yes | Monthly cost: No | Connectivity: GPS, Cellular 

Verizon's GizmoWatch has been around for years. For my test, I received the Disney version of the GizmoWatch, and it has more features than the Verizon GizmoWatch 2 (it also costs $100 more). This watch features animated characters from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars, creating an interactive user experience. Characters react in lively ways on the home screen when checking the weather and when notifications come in. 

"We bought the Verizon GizmoWatch about two years ago for our kiddos, then ages 6 and 8," said parent Kendra Paulson, Assistant Editor at New England With Love.  "We live on a military base and while it is pretty safe here, we wanted to have a way to communicate with our girls while they were out riding bikes and playing in the neighborhood. I can glance at the Gizmo map and see where my kids are and we can text and call back and forth, so it's like having a starter phone that straps to their wrist."

The watch has a lot of the same features as T-mobile's SyncUp Kids watch. That is, you can send and receive messages, take calls, and it even has a built-in camera. You can add up to 10 trusted contacts for your child to communicate with while wearing the watch. 

You'll also get real-time tracking and geofence support, so you can receive alerts when your child leaves or arrives at a certain location. Similarly to the SyncUp Kids watch, you can create tasks for your child, set up school mode to keep them from using the watch at school and in other activities. 

Keep in mind that both GizmoWatch models have a one-time $35 activation fee from Verizon.

Also: The best tablets for kids 

Pros & Cons
  • Camera
  • SOS button
  • Three different color options
  • SIM card sold separately
  • Battery life drains quickly
More Details

Xplora X5 Play specs: Price: $150 | Battery life: 72 hours (on standby) | Real-time tracking: Yes | Monthly cost: $7.99/month | Connectivity: Cellular, Wi-Fi, GPS

The Xplora X5 Play watch uses a GPS, active Wi-Fi, and GSM triangulation to provide real-time location tracking. The watch also offers geofencing, so you can set up safety zones around key locations like home and school. If your child wanders out of these pre-marked areas, you will be notified. 

It comes in three color options (blue, black, and pink) and has other features: Voice calling from pre-saved numbers, text messaging, emojis, an SOS mode, and a camera with 4GB of storage space. 

The watch itself doesn't have any games, but there are games involved via the GoPlay app. For every 1,000 steps that your child takes, they will earn one Xcoin, which can be saved up and redeemed for real prizes in the GoPlay store. (For this experience, you'll need to use a smartphone or a tablet.)

You'll also need a SIM card to use the cellular functions of the watch, which is included with the watch and works with most mobile carriers except Verizon. 

Keep in mind that the watch does require a minimum one-year $7.99 subscription. 

Also: The best parental control apps to keep your kids safe

What is the best GPS tracker for kids?

Our recommendation for the best GPS tracker for kids is the Jiobit Smart Tag. It comes with many accessories to clip onto anything, and it's made specifically for kids. However, any of the options on this list would make good GPS trackers and devices for kids. It just depends on what you want, and which features are a priority to you. 

GPS tracker device



Real-time tracking?

Jiobit Smart Tag


One week


Apple AirTag


One year


Invoxia Cellular GPS Tracker 


Four months


Garmin Bounce


Two days


SyncUp Kids Watch


One week


Verizon GizmoWatch


Up to three days (standby) or 1.5 days of constant use


Xplora X5 Play


72 hours (on standby)


Which GPS tracker is right for you?

If money isn't a concern, the Jiobit seems like the best option. Not only is it small and easy for your kid to tote around, but there are also plenty of options that tie into the service it provides. However, the monthly fee may be a deterrent for some.

In that case, the Invoxia tracker is a reliable choice. You'll just have to settle for placing it in a backpack and not in your kid's pocket. 

Lastly, all of the smartwatch options on this list offer a robust set of features and options for both littler kids and older kids. 

Choose this GPS tracker...

If you want...

Jiobit Smart Tag

The best overall option designed specifically for kids. The Protect plan allows the child to press a button to alert a guardian of their location.

Apple AirTag

An Apple-friendly product. There's no monthly fee, and the battery lasts around a year.

Invoxia Cellular GPS Tracker 

A discreet-looking tracker. For $129, you'll get the device and a year's worth of service.

Garmin Bounce

A smartwatch loaded with features and real-time tracking. Parents can use location tracking on the Bounce to view their child's current whereabouts in the Garmin app,                 

SyncUp Kids Watch

A wearable watch for kids under T-Mobile. The wrist-worn gadget costs $174, but you can get the watch for free if you're adding a line to your account.

Verizon GizmoWatch

A wearable watch for kids under Verizon. You can create tasks for your child and set up school mode to keep them from using the watch at school.

Xplora X5 Play

A GPS watch that encourages kids to play outside. You can set up safety zones around key locations, like home and school, with geofencing. 

How did we choose these GPS trackers and devices?

We chose these GPS trackers and devices for kids through a mix of research, personal experience, and speaking to experts and parents. We also took the following into consideration when making our top picks. 

  • Privacy: Keeping your child's information and data is of the utmost importance with any tech device, so we looked at trackers and devices with privacy features like encryption, parental controls, and two-way communication so you can contact your child if need be. 
  • Real-time tracking: We made sure to include trackers and devices that have real-time GPS tracking, meaning it uses satellite signals to determine the precise location of the device so you know exactly where you child is at any given moment. 
  • Battery life: A tracking device serves little purpose if it's out of battery, so we looked at devices with long battery lives so you don't have to constantly recharge. 
  • Price: These tracking devices can range dramatically in price, but we tried to keep all products under at least $200. 

What is the smallest GPS tracker for kids?

In our guide, the Jiobit Smart Tag is one of the smallest options. It can clip onto a belt, and there's a button on the front of the tracker that a child can press to send an alert to a parent of their location.

Does Fitbit have a GPS tracker for kids?

No, Fitbit makes GPS-enabled activity trackers for kids, but not location trackers with real-time location tracking.

What about privacy concerns?

Privacy concerns and ethics are a main concern when it comes to GPS tracking devices in general, especially when it comes to tracking your children. ZDNET turned to parents to ask how they felt. 

"As my daughters grow older and eventually head off into the world on their own, it will cross my mind wanting to know where they're at and whether they're safe," said parent and Ling App co-founder, Kanyarat Nuchangpuek.

"On the other hand, it bothers me that I could be crossing a line peeking into their private lives. It's similar to finding out that your mother read your diary. It's an invasion of privacy and may also deter my children from experiencing life in their own way. Having to wonder "is mommy watching" shouldn't be a natural thought." 

Regardless of which option you choose, it's a good idea to take measures to protect your data, especially when it involves your child's location.

For example, when signing up for an account, use a unique and complicated password -- preferably stored in a password manager -- to add a layer of protection to your account. 

If you're unsure about a product or service, read through the company's privacy policy. For example, Jiobit is owned by Life360, which reportedly sells some of its customers' location data to third parties. However, on the Jiobit website, the company promises none of the data associated with the tracker will be sold. 

Do you have to pay a monthly fee for a GPS tracker?

Unfortunately, many GPS trackers and devices for kids require some kind of additional subscription payment. This is especially true if the device requires an app with advanced features, or a wearable that provides LTE connectivity. 

Be sure to factor this extra cost in when making your final decision. 

Are there alternative GPS trackers and devices for kids to consider?

There are many devices you can use to track your children, but not all are worth the financial investment. When you buy a GPS tracker for your kid, you need it to work efficiently for a reasonable price. 

If these seven options aren't what you're looking for, here are a few other GPS tracker options to consider:

A smartwatch with its display screen showing a call from mom

Best budget-friendly alternative

Gabb Watch

The Gabb Watch is a kid-friendly smartwatch designed for communication and safety, with features like GPS tracking, an SOS button, and parental controls.

View at Amazon

Best waterproof alternative

Tracki GPS Tracker

This small, affordable mini tracker is waterproof and has up to five days of battery life.

View at Amazon

Best alternative for emergency use

AngelSense Personal GPS Tracker

The AngelSense has a continuous all-day monitoring GPS for the most accurate location possible.

View at Walmart

Best wearable alternative

TickTalk 4

This smartphone watch for kids is durable, with IP67 water resistance, and has accurate GPS location tracking and emergency SOS.

View at Amazon

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