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Technology for parents to help them keep their kids from wandering off

Posted at 10:42 PM, Apr 29, 2019

GILBERT, AZ — There were heart-stopping moments for two sets of valley parents Sunday after their toddlers wandered off.

The separations were fortunately temporary and ended with the children unharmed. The threat of danger is real though, with the summer heat, nearby pools, and potential abductors.

Parents do have options; however, to keep track of their little ones.

In the past, most parents had to resort to a double deadbolt on doors. That is no longer the case, with technology that can track a child's location and alert parents when doors or windows open.

In Gilbert, police say a three-year-old girl pushed a chair away from a door and even typed in the door alarm lock code before wandering three blocks away in the family neighborhood.

Fortunately, the girl was stopped by a friendly person who called the police.

A two-year-old was found near a Walmart in Phoenix just hours earlier on Sunday morning. That toddler is in the custody of the Arizona Department of Child Services pending an investigation.

The incidents are far from isolated.

"I think that some parents go through the criminal system because their children got out again and again and again, and the local law-enforcement talk to them about putting things like alarms on their home, and they didn't want to do it," said Melissa Van Hook.

Van Hook knows about alarms on doors; she had them for years.

"They were escape artists. They wanted to get out, they wanted to explore," said Van Hook, who has two sons, both living with autism. "I added a lock and chain at the top of the door. That wasn't enough; I added double key deadbolts. They were so determined to get out, that I resorted to an alarm system, which is what I really recommend for parents."

There are several options for parents; from GPS wristbands to alarms on doors, to double deadbolt locks.

"A lot of parents of young children will buy a security door just as a deterrent for their kids to wander out and not get out of the house," said Jeff Bell, CEO of Titan Security.

"The parents have to balance keeping the children safe, keeping the house safe. They also have to balance the need to get out of the house if an emergency exists," said Sgt. Mark Marino with the Gilbert Police Department.

The solutions vary depending on how much parents want to spend, but whether its 30 dollars or 300, parents say it is worth it.

"When you compare that to the price of losing your child, either to a stranger abduction or an accidental death. It's a small price to pay," said Van Hook.