It's a parent's worst nightmare. You look away for a minute and your child has wandered off.
But now there's new technology that allows parents to track their kids electronically. For children too young to use traditional smartphones, the high-tech devices use GPS and Wifi linked to apps on parents' smartphones.
One device called 'Filip' just hit the market. FOX19 got a demo device of the watch-style wearable GPS tracker.
Filip's creators say that with the touch of a button, kids can get calls from up to five authorized people, as well as receive short text messages. And if a child gets lost in a crowded store, there's a red panic button they can push. The device sends an alert of the child's location and automatically starts calling each authorized number until a grown-up answers.
Another limited-use smartphone device called Trax from a Swedish company works with the same technology.
We took one of the kid GPS trackers to the Blue Ash Police for a closer look.
"I support anything that would help us locate a child," said Blue Ash Police Sgt. Pete Ballauer. "Predators know where children go, if you lose sight of that child for a minute, two minutes, so many things can happen. This is not a parent. This is simply a gadget in case the worst happens."
One mom of two told FOX19 it's a constant struggle to keep an eye on her little ones. She'd welcome a little electronic peace of mind.
"I think some way of keeping track of your child is important and really a necessity, so yes I think that's a good idea," said Colleen Weinkam.
The Filip costs $199, with a $10 monthly AT&T service charge. The Trax device, which will retail soon in the United States, will run about $250 with a monthly charge as well.
The target age for these devices is younger children around 5 to 11-years-old. For older kids with smartphones, many wireless services have mapping programs that locate your children and will send alerts, for example, when they get off the bus or get home.
But police caution the electronic helpers aren't a substitute for parenting.
"Common sense has to rule. Sometimes you have to say no and just slow down," said Ballauer.
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