The best argument we've found for using a GPS tracker is in the case of children who have mental or behavioral disabilities. Children with autism, for example, frequently wander away from home or flee their caregivers, leaving these children especially vulnerable to injury, emotional trauma, exposure to the elements and drowning.
The National Autism Association recommends using tracking technologies such as GPS trackers or radio frequency (RF) transmitters to help prevent wandering and to help locate lost individuals, but the organization also warns against relying too heavily on any device to safeguard your child. GPS trackers provide great accuracy and range, and many offer a "geo-fence" feature that alerts parents if the child steps outside a predefined perimeter, but the devices have relatively short battery life and their satellite signal can be obstructed by things like hills, trees, tall buildings and heavy cloud cover.
RF devices have a shorter range, but they are typically waterproof and have a much longer battery life than GPS units. But while GPS trackers allow you to follow the wearer's location on your own PC or smartphone, an RF system requires multiple receivers to pinpoint the transmitter's position. For this reason, RF transmitters are often made available to at-risk children and adults through safety programs facilitated by local law enforcement agencies.
GPS trackers have the potential to be truly lifesaving for children with special needs, but are they necessary for kids who are less likely to roam?