ionKids Child Monitor and Locator System

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I recently purchased an ionKids Child
Locator System
. The system is meant to enable parents and
guardians to monitor and locate their children with ease, in the
manufacturer’s own words “to keep an ion what’s important”. I’m
extremely satisfied with my purchase and very impressed by how well
the system works.

bluespan ionkids1

The Start Kit includes everything you need to track one child: a
base unit, bracelet, charger, key, owner’s manual and a one year
warranty. I believe the system allows you to track up to four
children simultaneously, with an additional bracelet costing
$49.95. I was a little apprehensive about installation at first;
but, setup and execution were both easy.

bluespan ionkids3

Upon taking the product out of the box, I immediately set the
base unit monitor and bracelet to charge overnight. The next
morning, I decided to test the product on my son, Nathan. He was
excited to try it on and couldn’t wait for it to be secured and
activated, no lack of enthusiasm there. The bracelet is size
adjustable (thank heavens) and contains a locking mechanism, to
secure the bracelet on the wrist. Additionally, a tamper alarm
sounds if there has been some sort of tampering with the device
while the system is active i.e. the bracelet is no longer on the
child’s wrist or there is a significant distance between the
bracelet and skin sensors work to notify the base unit of
tampering. Ideally, this should work every time. I’ve noticed that
once in a while the tamper alarm fails to sound. This usually
occurs if I didn’t secure the bracelet tight enough and it managed
to slip off his wrist. The term bracelet is probably a little
misleading; the wristag could looks more like a watch. To make it
more attractive the kit comes with a bunch of different colorful
stickers to liven the face (Nathan’s favorite part).

bluespan ionkids2

The base unit, as opposed to the wristag, is to remain in the
parents possession. It operates on a rechargeable battery;
practical but still annoying. I end up just charging it every night
along with my phone. As a side note, the charger is pretty clever
since it lets you plug up to eight devices into one outlet (great
for those with more than one wristag). The maximum range of the
device is 350 feet and an alarms triggers, the monitor flashes red
and emits an extremely loud and disrupting beep, when your child is
out of range or has departed from his/her safety zone. The text on
the monitor instructs you to press the Find button, which resides
under the flip cover, to locate your child. The wristag also beeps
and flashes when the child goes out of range, a nice additional

It’s important to realize that this isn’t a long range
GPS tracking device
, which I was initially interested in when
contacting BrickhouseSecurity. However, they explained that this
would be a much better solution for my needs. With a GPS tracking
device, you don’t know if your child is lost until hours later.
This solution is more about prevention. There has been some debate
over the nature of such a device. Many think that it will take
precedence over old fashioned caring and nurturing and just make
the lives of the self absorbed parent easier. Respectfully
disagreeing with this idea, I found this gadget to be perfect for
parents who, in addition to cuddling and caring for their children,
find that it is much easier and less strenuous to let your child
play in a crowded park or accompany you on an outing, no more
whiplash! The gadget makes loving your child and letting him/her
have fun less risky. Sure there will be those parents willing to
abuse this gadget, so obviously meant for additional security, as a
substitute for old fashioned methods of attentiveness and caring.
But, that is not a necessary by-product of this product.

So, what are the drawbacks? The only real negative of the system
I’ve found is that although splash resistant, it isn’t waterproof.
Hopefully, that will be their next endeavor.


Product Information

  • Allows you to define a range in which your child should remain
  • Tamper proof bracelet
  • Easy to use system
  • Splash resistant, not waterproof
  • The bracelet opens with a key--this may cause potential problems

15 thoughts on “ionKids Child Monitor and Locator System”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. She neglected to comment that when you open the base unit up and push the find button, the lid becomes a directional antenna – not only do get a readout of approximate distance (not in units, but nearer/farther), by sweeping back and forth, you get an idea of direction too.

    The newer wrist tags are splash-proof at a cost of having quieter alarms. (I suggested putting a vibration unit in)

    My (hi-functioning autistic) son has his “safety watch” that he wears for trips to crowded places or new places. He thinks its fun.

  3. This sounds like something that would take a lot of stress out of caring for our youngest, who is known by the nickname of Houdini. He is fine in most situations, but this is one child we can’t have in daycare! You leave him in a nursery with three adults, and he will be outside playing basketball within two minutes, even creating a distraction to facilitate his departure.

    Question about the product: Can you adjust the perimeter? For example, if you wanted to be alerted if they went beyond 100 feet, instead of 350?

  4. Altema–Yes, the range is completely user defined, you can set it to whatever you want.
    However, it’s important to note that the range is not actually measured in feet, the device is capable of up to 350feet but the range is measured according to your comfort zone.
    For example, if you’re standing at your front door and dont want your child to stray past the driveway: You secure the bracelet on your child and have him walk to the driveway, adjusting the dial on the base unit as you go (increasing or decreasing the range).
    Actually, its probably easier if you think of it as the volume buttons of a remote control. You increase and decrease the volume until your comfortable with the decibel level you hear. Similiarly, you increase and decrease the range until you are at a comfortable distance.
    I’m not really sure if I’m explaining it well enough–the website listed on the review has a great customer service department. They’re very helpful and could probably explain it far better than I.
    Hope this helped.

  5. Good, that is what I expected, as the range will be affected by walls, fences, and other objects. What band is the transmitter? (if you are allowed to divulge that information, that is). I’m only asking because our home has a variety of wireless devices including 802.11b/g, baby monitor, wireless video, and a few wireless mics used for work.

  6. I don’t think it’s illegal to give that information. Now that you mention it, you’re right it does experience interference but only from buildings and the like in the sense that the signal gets lighter–I have yet to see it lose signal altogether. I only have cordless phones in my house on the 2.4GHz channel and i also have an 802.11b/g router and it doesn’t seem to affect my signal at all. Hope this helps.

  7. Thanks for this review! I would have loved something like this when Sarah was little. She was famous for “hiding”, and I can recall several complete freak-outs (mine) because she wanted to “surprise mommy”. <sigh>

    And now she is 16 and those days seem so long ago… 🙁

  8. Thanks for writing this review. With four little ones in my house, I’ve been thinking about this gadget for a few weeks now and so glad to see it reviewed.

    A few questions/comments for you:

    – Did you notice about how long the batteries were good for before needing a recharge? I know you said you charged it every night, but did it really need that? Hoping especially the watches can go longer than a day.

    – The ionkids website seems to sell waterproof versions of the watches in addition to splashproof versions. Perhaps that’s newer than your review, otherwise, sounds like your wish was granted!

    – You mentioned that the watches could fall off and the alarm did not sound- that seems a bit disconcerting to me! I read another review where they said they were hard to get on tight enough without being too tight. Did you find that.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback!

  9. I have had the Ion Kids system for about 8 months and find the wristags last anywere from 6 hours to 20 hours depending on the battery condition and how long you charge them. During a Disneyland trip I used two wristags per child, one they wear and one left charging in the car or back in the motel room. Bluespan states the units “fully charge” in two hours but that’s incorrect, they need at least an 8-12 hour charge. The wristags also are claimed to have a low battery warning which rarely works. The units just go dead which the base unit picks up quickly, 2-3 seconds, and alarms with an out of range alarm, not a low battery alarm. The tamper alarm is buggy in that due to the wrist strap locking buckles breaking too easily you don’t want to keep adjusting the strap to make the anti-tamper work right. On younger kids I find pining the tag to a shirt better. Overall I like the Ion Kids but for the price it’s been one of those I not all that sure it’s worth the money. Bluespan needs to fix the breaking buckles and battery problems and make a larger wriststrap for older kids. Right now this is a one-of-a-kind product so if you need this type of product then I would recommend it with caution. Buy the water proof wristags as you know kids just love to dunk their hands into water every chance they get and this destroys the tag and voids the warranty. READ the small print, the $49 tags are not splash proof in any way, just the strap is.

  10. We trialed IonKids at work to see if they could help us monitor adults with confusion, poor impulse control, etc. If they would have worked, it would have really helped us use our manpower better.

    What we found in our actual use was that the ranges fluctuated wildly, probably being interfered with by our metal-framed buildings and all of the wireless, infrared, RF, and other signals used on our campus.

    We had a ton of false signals, what seemed like an endless series of reprogrammings, and so on. In the end, it did not work for our needs.

    This does not necessarily mean anything for anyone else- just that it is not a perfect solution in all situations.

    It should also be noted that the support we got fom the company was WONDERFUL!

  11. Thank you for all the great reviews!!! We have a moderately-autistic little boy who has started leaving the house, despite locks to supposedly prevent this from happening. A door or house alarm is impractical since he would enjoy the game of setting it off purposely. After reading the reviews, most of my questions are answered and this looks like an excellent product to help keep this little boy safe.

  12. We purchased two units, and neither has worked. Had to replace a watch, then one unit wouldnt charge. Then BOTH watches wouldnt hold a charge. Then a metal pin inside the charging receptible BROKE OFF inside the charging plug. Then the other unit wouldnt even power up at all….
    $200.00 ea for these units that have never worked.
    Better to go with the brickhouse locator tags.

  13. I purchased the ion kids product last may and had to wait almost 5 months because it was on back order and that was fine because I had heard endless great comments about this product, so I figured that it was worth it. When I finally got the product and took it out of the package, it was very easy to undertand and use, but the wristbands were not what I expected. They were very hard material and big and the wedsite said that this one size fit ages 2-10, when I put it on my son, who is 5 and normal weight for his age, there is no way it would fit until age 10. Then after only wearing the first one a couple times the third time the material above the pins let loose and broke and the whole clip fell off, so then I pulled out the second one and after a couple times that clip broke as well. My son was not rough with it, he did not pull on it and they both broke the exact same way and in the exact same spot. I was very disappointed because of all the reviews that I got about the product and how great it is. The product for its purpose is a great thing, but they need to make some major improvements on the wristbands. I cant afford to keep buying expensive wristbands, so I have decided to try another product for my autistic child that has tags, and an adjustable wristband with a better locking system. I am not saying that the product is a bad product, the wristbands just need some work. I would not buy them again, but will not tell others not to, that has to be there decision.

  14. Hi. We tried this product for the first time today, and it seems promising. We have an 8-year-old child with autism who tends to wander. Today, we played at a large playground, and decided to try the product. My husband still followed our boy to ensure his safety, and we’ll continue to do that, using this product merely as back-up. I did find that even with the range set at it’s greatest distance, he was not able to go very far without the alarm going off. For us, this is not an issue since it’s merely being used as a back-up system; our child’s not ready to be allowed out of our sight anyway. However, we have lost track of him before, so we wanted something to alert us if he left the area when we were not aware. The “find” part of this device was relatively accurate. If I told the base to find my son, I was pointed in the correct direction.
    My son enjoyed wearing the watch, and was unable to get it off on his own. It seemed comfortable to him.
    I’m not sure if this is helpful to anyone, but as a parent with two children on the autism spectrum, I have had a difficult time finding affordable safety products and assume there must be many other familes in similar situations.
    For the price, this seems like a good product.

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