There are many fears running through the minds of parents, but the biggest fear of any is whether or not their child is safe. With security cameras and home security systems, we put a lot of effort to ensure safe surroundings for our little ones. When our miniature selves begin roaming on their own two legs, the fear of them becoming lost is a never-ending battle. We can’t always keep our eyes on our children, but recent developments with barcodes and RFID tagging have derived some very realistic ways of keeping track of our most valuable possessions even when they’re out of sight.
As RFID tags and barcodes have been wonderfully implemented to track packages across the globe it seems a natural evolution for these tracking devices to be a means of keeping tabs on our children.
- ID bracelets: Bracelets with a QR code ID, contain individualized information about the child wearing the bracelet. The parent/guardian inputs the child’s information online, then if someone finds the missing child, the finder can scan the barcode with their phone.
- Smart watches: Smart watches have a GPS tracker, and the ability to make phone calls or texts are optional, depending on the smart watch.
- Mini GPS: Small key chain tags or sticker-like tags are used to attach to children’s items (i.e. kids’ backpacks, hats or playthings). Though these tags don’t attach to the child, they can still be attached to something the child keeps with them or on them.
Pros and Cons of NFC and Barcode
As is the case with multiple options, there are varying limitations dependent on each form of technology. Take these limitations into consideration before choosing the form of tracking that works best for you and your child.
- Application Integration: Using NFC technology to trace the exact location of these tags can usually be traced with an application on your phone, keeping your child’s position accessible only to those with the application.
- Expensive: RFID tags are a more advanced technology with more advanced options, which means that the price tends to be quite a bit higher for items using this technology.
- Not Durable: Depending on what material the tag is attached to, some forms cannot guarantee the tag will remain usable if wet, bent, or smashed. However, there are are more pricey options that offer water resistance for just such occurrences.
- Waterproof: if a barcode is printed/etched into a metal band, it’s coding is not going to be compromised if a child accidentally gets it wet.
- Inactive Tracking: You won’t know the exact location of your child unless someone else finds and scans the code.
- Cheaper: Barcodes are simply made and are therefore cheaper to make and cheaper to sell.
Depending on the selected form of tag or barcode, and how much you want to invest in a particular tracking device, the tags could be water-resistant, durable, offer additional features (if it’s a smart watch), or even offer multiple tags to track on one device or application. Just remember that you get what you pay for; don’t expect highly advanced technology with a small price tag.