Traffic, crowds, and water. These are the places parents are on high alert to keep track of their children. However, despite keen eyes and your best effort, have you ever been separated from your child? Do you have a toddler compelled to run into crowds or play hide-and-seek at the grocery store? Or a kindergartner who yearns to explore the boundaries of their freedom? Anti-lost wristbands may be the solution to keep your child close.
Losing a child in a crowded place can cause panic. Anti-lost wristbands are designed to keep your child close.
Different styles can accommodate developmental stages and levels of cooperation.
Sensory-seeking kids or those with a tendency to wander may benefit from these devices.
Some products use a leash or harness, while others utilize GPS.
What are anti-lost wristbands?
Children have unique thoughts and motivations, and, as any parent knows, there will inevitably be situations where it is challenging to keep them in sight. Anti-lost wristbands are designed to keep children in proximity to their family members. There are several varieties — some consist of wrist straps for parent and child with a tether in between, while others utilize GPS to track a child’s whereabouts.
2 main types of anti-lost wristbands:
While there is little research on the impact of these anti-lost devices, they spark controversy for some who refer to these “leashes” with skepticism out of concern that they impede kids’ independence or sense of security. However, some families’ circumstances may necessitate one of these products — such as for a toddler who tends to walk into oncoming traffic or for a sensory-seeking child. So while it may be a debatable topic, some families feel there is a time and place to use a child anti-lost device. Let’s explore some options.
There are all kinds of harness leashes available. For example, Travel Bug makes harnesses that double as plush toy animals. Additionally, Skip Hop and AGSDON make backpack leashes, so you can keep your child close while they tote around their essentials. Other brands like Mommy’s Helper make a padded harness that secures over the shoulders and around the chest, avoiding pressure on sensitive areas.
The introduction of Airtags and other similar Bluetooth tracking devices has brought peace of mind to those frequently losing their keys and wallet. So perhaps it's only natural that some parents have applied the idea to their children by attaching Airtags to them, too. However, Apple has advised parents to only use their product to track items since they rely on Bluetooth and, thus, require the proximity of nearby devices to alert them of tracking locations.
Jiobit makes wrist location trackers that use GPS. This means it doesn’t rely on proximity to internet-connected devices and has a secure connection of its own. In addition, it allows for multiple people to share location information, so parents, grandparents, and babysitters are all on the same page if you want them to be. It’s also COPPA certified, so rest assured that your child’s information is safe and protected.
AngelSense is another GPS tracking option that is specifically marketed to parents with kids with autism or special needs. It includes a 2-way speaker and an SOS button so you can communicate with your child if they are lost or in danger. A survey study in Pediatrics found that 49% of children with autism spectrum disorder have gone missing long enough to cause parental concern at least once.
Things to consider
If you do opt to use a child safety wristband or anti-lost device of some kind, keep these in mind to find the right fit for your child.
- Material. For wrist bracelets, consider the material. Is there adequate padding to protect while pulling? Is the material breathable to prevent rashes? Does your child have certain fabric allergies?
- Personality. Is your child willing to be tethered to you, or does wearing a wristband escalate their running tendencies? Do they understand the purpose of wearing a GPS tracker? Let them have input.
- Removal method. Some anti-lost wristbands secure to children using magnets or locks requiring keys. Are they nimble enough to wriggle out of it?
- Contact information. Some child safety wristbands accommodate space for parents’ phone numbers or other contact information. There are even temporary tattoos you can write a phone number on before applying to your child!
- Have a plan. Losing track of a child can cause panic for both parents and kids. Even if your family uses an anti-lost device, communicate a plan to your child. Should they stay in one spot until you find them? Or look for the nearest safe adult? Or press an SOS button on a device?
- Keep a photo with you. Whether on your phone or a physical photo kept in your wallet, having an easily accessible photo of your child will help in the event that you need to recruit help looking for your child.
Using an anti-lost device for your child is a personal choice based on your child’s personality, perception of safety, and comfort level with your surroundings. An array of options are available, from budget-friendly to high-end products with all the bells and whistles.