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Swedish preschools use GPS to avoid losing kids

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Swedish preschools use GPS to avoid losing kids
11:39 CEST+02:00
Toddlers adorned with GPS transmitters are becoming an increasingly common sight at Swedish daycares and preschools in an effort to make it easier for staff to find tots who are hiding or have gone astray.

At the Humlan preschool in Borlänge in central Sweden, children's reflective vests are equipped with a transmitter which emits a sound if the children wander beyond the school's boundaries.

“The transmitter is a form of extra security. But we still stand and count the children all the time,” the school's Pernilla Rundqvist told the TT news agency.

In the two years since the vests came into use at the school, a child has never strayed too far from the rest of the group.

However, the GPS alarms have been known to go off even if a child wanders close to the edge of the school zone.

In Malmö in southern Sweden, the Kronprinsen preschool is carrying out a trial whereby children are equipped with GPS transmitters to make it easier for staff to find kids, forgotten or lost during class outings, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reports.

The children have been issued a GPS unit which sends a signal to a smartphone.

If a child wanders beyond a set radius, the telephone issues alerts the bearer that the child is missing, at the same time providing information about the child's whereabouts.

School officials emphasíse, however, that new tech gadgets never will fully replace the watchful eye of preschool staff.

Traffic safety company Momenta has equipped between 100 and 150 preschools across the country with signal-emitting reflective vests.

If a child strays beyond a set area, the vest sends an alert to a staff member's portable monitor.

“The alarm means that kids never manage to disappear far away from the group,” said Momenta's Sven-Erik Karlsson.

The radio signal has a range of up to 1,500 metres and can be detected by any sensor picking up the signal.

“GPS has its advantages. If a child is in the woods you can see almost exactly where the child is. The drawback, as we see it, is that children don't only disappear outdoors. They can hide in a building and there it's not always a certainty that the GPS signal will get through,” said Karlsson.

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