I was desperate to find a reliable GPS tracking device for my child with autism the first time she went to camp. To ease my mind and fears, the GPS tracker should also be able to remotely listen in. This way I could relax, knowing she was well taken care of, having fun, and not afraid. The WorldTracker PLD (covert/personal locator device) from Tracking the World was exactly what I needed to keep my daughter safe.
WorldTracker PLD’s battery life:
One of the selling points of this GPS for me was the long battery life of two weeks. Who wants a GPS for their child that will quit working after only a day if that child is lost in the woods?
The WorldTracker PLD’s battery life never worked right. After only a day, it would go dead and need to be recharged. It was disappointing and frightening to send my child to an overnight camp knowing that it had to be plugged up each night or would not work as it was intended and advertised. I had to have faith the camp counselors would plug it up and hope if my daughter with special needs were lost, she would be found quickly. I did contact Tracking the World about this issue, more on that later.
WorldTracker PLD’s remote listening capabilities:
This feature of the PLD GPS is unique to most GPS devices. It was the only one at the time that I could find that would listen in. It gives me peace of mind that my child is just fine. The GPS does not record voices nor can you play it back. What you can do is listen in to ensure your child is safe.
One problem with the remote listening is when you hear the child, they also hear you. I had to quickly mute my phone and make sure I was in a quiet area before calling the GPS. How it works is I am given a phone number to call and then I hear what is happening where the GPS is.
Another issue for the PLD’s remote listening feature is if there are any noises, it can be hard to understand voices. For example, in the camp cabin, there was a loud fan that made it impossible to hear much else.
The PLD’s panic button:
This feature allows the child to push a button on the GPS if he or she is in trouble or needs help. My special needs child was not able to use the feature, but I can see older children using it. You can have the GPS call 911 or you directly. The child will not be able to dial any number on it (there are no numbers on the unit). It is set up to dial a specific phone number.
The PLD’s walkie talkie feature:
When you call in or your child hits the panic button, you are able to talk to each other just like a walkie talkie. This works even across hundreds of miles away from each other. I can see hikers using this GPS device for many reasons!
How WorldTracker PLD tracks:
When you set up your new PLD, Tracking the World will send you a website link. On this link, you find a map of where the GPS is and has been. I have never had any issues with this. It always works. My main problem is needing the Internet on my simple, cheap phone! I was able to check on it at home with my Internet on the computer and iPad.
The monitoring GPS is pretty accurate; it comes close to pinpointing exactly where your child is. When we are at home, it shows up as one street over. Instead of looking for an autistic child all over the city, you would be within a block to search for him! it also works within buildings, a problem for other trackers we have tried.
There is a breadcrumbs feature too which shows where the GPS has been that day. Click on another day to see where it was yesterday. It keeps track of where your child is and has been and how they got there. This GPS tracker would be great for teenagers! It also tells you how fast the car was going. This device can provide updates every five seconds.
Why would a special needs child need a GPS?
There have been many autistic children who have died recently from drowning after they wandered away from home. A GPS tracker could help parents and authorities locate these children quickly and easily, before disaster occurs. The ability to listen in can prevent abuse and neglect when parents send their special needs child to school or have a babysitter. Some parents will not leave their young child with autism as they fear abuse; an item such as this will give them peace of mind!
Cost of the WorldTracker PLD GPS:
I paid $400 for the unit, but this is not all of the costs associated with this GPS. Not by a long shot! I had to purchase a SIM card from AT&T and need to continue to have voice, data, and texting minutes on it to be usable for this GPS. Tracking the World also charges $20 a month or a yearly fee to keep tracking your PLD GPS unit. It can cost more than this if you want the GPS to update more frequently than every five seconds.
What this GPS looks like:
The WorldTracker PLD is bulky. You will not be able to hide it. It is bigger than the palm of my hand. I purchased a cell phone carrier to attach it to my child’s belt loop as I expected to be able to hear clearer if it was not in her pocket. It does have a clip on it, but I did not want it to get lost. The PLD is not waterproof. No one will know that you can hear remotely by looking at it, unless you tell them.
Tracking the World customer service:
I did contact them again before writing this review. The first few months I had a hard time contacting them after initially setting it up. Setting up the WorldTracker PLD GPS is time-consuming and a headache, and that is with them helping! The PLD should have worked for two weeks straight; that is why I purchased it, but it did not. When I would call in, I would be told that I could only speak to one person (the one who sold it to me at Tracking the World), and he was out for the day, busy, or would be in later. I finally resorted to emailing and still could not get through many times. Nothing was ever done for the battery issue. No matter how many times I called, it was never fixed. I gave up.
So I called a few weeks ago and was able to speak to “one of the owners” finally. He said that the PLD’s warranty had run out and there was nothing he could do about the battery life. I should have called in before now. I explained how frustrating it was to keep calling in only able to speak to one person who was not helping and to get the run around. For the price I paid, the WorldTracker PLD should work the way their website claimed.
Other information that I cannot confirm:
The website says this GPS works worldwide. I would not know this as we have not traveled out of the country. it works from -20C to 60C.
I will be purchasing another type of GPS for my autistic daughter very soon as the WorldTracker PLD unit does not work as the website said it would. I never would have purchased this expensive GPS if I had know the battery would die quickly and never work as it should.
Tracking the World
WorldTracker PLD GPS data sheet
More by this author:
How to Keep a Child with Autism Safe