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We've all had the fear of having our children kidnapped. What type of technology can I use to locate my child if they get lost or kidnapped? I'm not necessarily looking for a specific product, but rather a summary and comparison of the types of tracking products that can be used.

The factors that I would consider important are safety, cost, practicality for children ranging from infant age until 6-7 years old, and ease of use for the parent.

Update: I took out 'GPS' from the title to make the question more generic.

Update 2: Another factor that is important is concealability. How easy can the device be hidden on the child without others knowing about it (perhaps including the child themselves).

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3 Answers

  • Someone with malicious intent will remove/destroy/jam the device.
  • Someone with good intent will make sure it is working properly.

Thus, doing something like that gives bad guys the ability to track your child's movements when they are safe, meanwhile you aren't likely to have recourse if they are taken.

It seems like a net loss in security to me.

That said, if you must get such a device, make it a cell phone. GPS tracking, triangulation by tower reception in the absence of a satellite fix, connection (from which to transmit location) anywhere there is a cell tower, and the ability to call out in an emergency.

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I doubt most people would be familiar with a GPS tracking device, at least enough to destroy it... –  PearsonArtPhoto Apr 29 '11 at 3:42
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@Pearsonartphoto: They're familiar enough with those short-range locators, and the hospital anti-theft devices to remove them... you don't think the same would happen within a short time after a different device became even semi-common? –  HedgeMage Apr 29 '11 at 4:02
    
@HedgeMage: I suppose your right. I guess anyone who'd kidnap someone would take the time to become familiar with such things... –  PearsonArtPhoto Apr 29 '11 at 4:05
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I agree: bad guys will known these devices and disable them. Good guys will more likely not know them, and would simply contact the relevant authorities regardless whether a device is used or not. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Apr 29 '11 at 5:21
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If the device is concealed (a watch, shoes, sub-dermal) and only used by a small portion of the population, I don't think it would be an issue. Issues may arise where "bad guys" become aware of these technologies if the devices become pervasive. –  Javid Jamae Apr 29 '11 at 13:04
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Such devices already exist, though mainly to locate and recover stolen cars. They're about the size of a cell phone and work by a combination of GPS and cell triangulation.

Look for "carfinder." In Austria, the local automobile club offer these ad rentals if you're driving to Eastern countries:
http://www.oeamtc.at/carfinder/?id=2500%2C1142696%2C%2C
http://www.oeamtc.at/carfinder/?id=2500%2C1114220%2C%2C
(German)

Also, here's an English link to the manufacturer:
http://www.dolphin-technologies.com/&sprache=en

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If I were to get such a device, it would have the following characteristics:

  1. It should be useful for something else.
  2. It should look like another device, maybe a watch, stopwatch, jewelry, etc.
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Please write this as a comment, not an answer. –  Javid Jamae Apr 29 '11 at 12:56
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I think it's a useful answer. –  Lennart Regebro Apr 29 '11 at 13:16
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