All those years writing parenting articles and raising four, count-em (hang on, where’s the little one?!), four children have taught me an important lesson: there are just two kinds of kids, clingers and bolters.
I had four bolters. At one stage there, I had three children under the age of three who would each attempt a nine-minute mile towards three different compass points whenever I looked like I was thinking of standing still for a second.
If you’ve got one of those clingy kids, a permanent whining attachment to one or both of your legs – you can stop whining yourself, you really don’t know how lucky you are!
For the rest of us, for any parent who has run panic-stricken towards every unfenced water feature in a large park when their toddler has disappeared, for all those parents who were on first-name terms with the local police from when their kid could stagger – have I got a gadget for you!
It’s overpriced, it’s over there (the USA, where else!), it’s over-the-top – but as a bolter-parent, I have a sneaking fondness for it.
The Amber Alert GPS 2G is a small (child tracking device that allows you to keep track of your child via GPS. It’s quite small – less than 5 x 5 x 2cm.
It’s got fancy-schmancy website access with voice monitoring, info on the speed of travel, and instant location feedback with street address, latitude and longitude.
You can program ‘safe zone’ boundaries (like child’s room, or every room but his brother’s room, or the house and yard – you get the picture) and then, parents get an alert (email, SMS, whatever) when the device leaves the boundaries.
And herein lies a problem – unless your child remains attached to the device, all you’ll get is info about the device remaining stuffed in the bottom of the sock drawer for many hours. The makers suggest attaching to a wrist, ankle or boot. I suggest superglue to shin.
The device is US-focused but claims to work in any of 120 countries, provided there is a GPS signal and cell phone reception.
Bottom line: A leash is cheaper …
How much : US $ 379 plus US $10 per month subscription