From time to time I get email from parents asking me if I knew of any device they could tag their kids with that would alert them if the kid started to wander off. I always figured something like that existed, but I never had a chance to play with anything like that until I came across the Loc8tor.
The Loc8tor is geared more as a direction finding system that lets you home in on tagged items/kids, but it also has an alert feature that can monitor tags and set off an alarm if one or more tags goes out of range. That system is marketed as something you can use to keep track of kids, pets, wallets, etc. but there are a few down sides. The first problem is battery life, which stinks. You’d be lucky to get a month out of the tags and a few months out of the hand held unit, even if you never actually got around to using them. Second, it’s expensive. On the plus side though, it can monitor more than one tag’s range at a time.
But, if all you want to do is make sure something/someone stays close to you, for the price of the Loc8tor you could buy two or three TagAlert systems. This thing is dead simple, works great, and the batteries last a good 4-6 months, depending on use.
What comes in the package is very simple. There is a very small monitor device that clips on to your pants or belt, and an even smaller tag. The monitor has a simple slider button and an LED. The button has three settings; off, short range, and long range. Slide the button to short range and the tag has a very short leash. Slide it over to long range and you get a little more.
Our dog has a habit of every once in a while running out of our yard to roam the neighborhood, and I wanted to use the TagAlert to tell me if he started to go on one of his little adventures. Unfortunately, even though the box says you’ll get up to 100 feet using the long range setting, I was only able to put about 10 to 15 feet between the tag and the monitor before it started chirping. So, unless the batteries that were included with my unit were in bad shape to begin with, I think you’ll probably have similar results. In my opinion though, that’s probably a good thing for parents.
Even though the TagAlert is marketed as an alerting device for everything from iPods to cameras to keys to cell phones, I think the only thing it really makes sense for is kids. I don’t know anyone who would want to have even the smallest tag dangling from their digital camera or cell phone all day. But for parents, having this small monitor let you know if their lil tyke was outside of a 10 to 15 foot “safety zone” sounds ideal to me. Also, the small unobtrusive tag with a 6 month battery life is perfect for attaching to bags or clothes.
Except for the limited range, this is a solid product that does what it says. Also, if you have two kids it’s small enough and inexpensive enough you can easily buy and wear two of them without feeling any discomfort on your belt or in your wallet.