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The best GPS trackers for kids, according to experts

The top GPS trackers for kids offer real-time tracking and alerts to give you peace of mind. Parents and parenting experts recommend these picks.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer
Reviewed by Nina Raemont
Jiobit Smart Tag | Best GPS tracker for kids overall
Jiobit Smart Tag
Best GPS tracker for kids overall
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Apple AirTag | Best iPhone GPS tracker for kids
Apple AirTag
Best iPhone GPS tracker for kids
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Garmin Bounce | Best smartwatch GPS tracker for kids
Garmin Bounce
Best smartwatch GPS tracker for kids
View now View at Garmin
SyncUp Kids Watch | Best T-Mobile GPS tracker for kids
SyncUp Kids Watch
Best T-Mobile GPS tracker for kids
View now View at T-mobile
Verizon Gizmo Watch 3 | Best Verizon GPS tracker for kids
Verizon Gizmo Watch 3
Best Verizon GPS tracker for kids
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Xplora X5 Play | Best GPS tracker for kids for active play
Xplora X5 Play
Best GPS tracker for kids for active play
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Show more (1 item)

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

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

"As a mother, ensuring the safety and well-being of my child is of utmost importance," Dr. Kaitlyn Siu, a child neurologist as well as founder and CEO of Teach Your Kids Code, told ZDNET. "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."

What is the best GPS tracker for kids right now?

ZDNET spoke to professionals like Siu and parents to determine the best GPS trackers and devices on the market to track your child's location. Our pick for the best GPS tracker for kids overall is the Jiobit Smart Tag, which offers real-time tracking and an emergency button, and is designed specifically for kids. Read on for other top GPS trackers for kids, including devices from Apple, Garmin, and more.

The best GPS trackers and devices for kids in 2024

Pros & Cons
  • Real-time tracking
  • Designed specifically for kids
  • Alert button
  • 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 easily clip onto a belt or bag, its comprehensive tracking features, and its 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's price ($130), the smart tag requires a monthly subscription with three different plans to choose from. The one-year prepaid plan costs $8.99 per month and the no-contract plan costs $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.   

Also: The best Bluetooth trackers

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. 

Amazon customers who have bought and reviewed this tracker said that it's a useful tool to help give peace of mind, and that the app is intuitive and works well, especially for knowing when someone is in a designated safe place.

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 simply replace the CR2032 battery. 

As far as performance goes, the AirTag does a solid job. The one caveat 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. 

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

ZDNET contributor Jason Cipriani tested out placing AirTags on his children's backpacks, and found that he was still able to track them during a school day. "One backpack was located about 30 minutes prior, and the other had just had its location reported 2 minutes before I'd checked," he wrote. "Presumably, a teacher walked by their backpack with an iPhone in their pocket, or one of the students' iPads picked up the tag's Bluetooth signal and reported it back Apple, which in turn lets me view the location in somewhat real time."

Overall, 96% of customers who purchased an AirTag at Best Buy said they would recommend it to a friend, and the device's overall review rating is 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Pros & Cons
  • Color touchscreen display
  • Low monthly cost
  • Loaded with features and tracking
  • Battery life isn't great
  • LTE Signal strength goes in and out
More Details

Garmin Bounce specs: Price: $150 | Battery life: Two days | Real-time tracking: Yes | Monthly cost: $10/month | Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi, LTE

Garmin's latest kids smartwatch, the Bounce, offers real-time location tracking, as well as communication features, health and sleep tracking, games, and more. As far as GPS 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. 

Also: The best Garmin watches 

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. 

You can also track health metrics like sleep, steps, and active minutes to keep an eye on your growing child. 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.

Parents who have bought the watch for their kids say on Reddit that the watch does well with notifications and location updates, especially when it comes to school-bound kids.

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 that below). 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, along with real-time location tracking.

Also: The best smartwatches for kids

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.

One T-Mobile reviewer who gave the device five stars said, "The only people allowed to contact the watch are set by you, the parent. It's a good way to have access to your kid when away from each other, but also lets them feel like they are growing up some."

Pros & Cons
  • School mode
  • Real-time tracking
  • Video calling
  • LTE connectivity costs extra
  • Battery life isn't as advertised
More Details

Verizon Gizmo Watch 3 tech specs: Price: $150, plus a $35 activation fee | Battery life: Up to 3.5 days (standby) or 1.5 days constant use  | Real-time tracking: Yes | Monthly cost: No | Connectivity: GPS, Cellular (4G)

The Verizon Gizmo Watch 3 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. 

Also: The best kids' phones for keeping you in touch

"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."

Keep in mind that both GizmoWatch models have a one-time $35 activation fee from Verizon. Another downside is that Verizon customers say that the battery life lasts less than advertised.

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.)

Also: The best fitness trackers 

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. 

More than 70% of Best Buy customers said they would recommend the XPlora X5 Play to someone, calling out the peace of mind that parents get with this device. 

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


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 Apple AirTag or the Garmin Bounce are reliable choices, but 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.

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. 

Factors to consider when choosing the best GPS tracker for kids

If you're buying a GPS tracker for your kids, you should consider the following: 

  • 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. 

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 testing these devices, and advice from experts and parents. We paid attention to customer reviews (both good and bad), competitor analysis, brand recognition and trust, and more when making our final picks.

How do GPS trackers work?

GPS trackers work like this: The device uses a network of satellite to determine its location. A GPS tracker converts these satellite signals into data such as velocity, time, and position so that you can see exactly where the device (and, in turn, your child) is. 

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.

Also: How to find out if an AirTag is tracking you

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

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