Tracking Devices Don’t Work if Batteries are Not Charged

GPS watch A child who has autism wandered away from his home in Illinois. His parents were using a tracking device called Life Trak as a precautionary measure. The boy was found, and was unharmed, but the search took longer than expected because the batteries in the device were not charged.

It has been said that almost half of all children who have autism wander. This tendency is one that can be especially frightening for parents of autistic children. Some of the children who have autism are non-verbal. This means that if the child gets lost, and someone calls out his or her name, the child is not necessarily going to be able to answer.

An eleven year old boy who has autism wandered away from his home in Illinois. He left his home around 9:30 on a Sunday night, and was not located until around 4:00 on Monday morning. When the eleven year old wandered off, he was wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and socks. He was cold, tired, and hungry, but otherwise fine.

Police say he went missing over the Memorial Day weekend as well. When police went to turn on the boy’s GPS device that weekend, they noticed that the battery was dead. The boy’s parents are now facing criminal charges due to this particular incident because the dead batteries prevented police from using the GPS device to find their son.

The search might have taken less time if the batteries in the boy’s GPS tracking device had been charged at the time he wandered off. Police say that the device was functioning, and giving off a signal, until around 2:00 in the morning. Then, it stopped, leaving police to search without being able to use the data from the GPS device.

The device in question is called Life Trak. It is a GPS, (or global positioning system), that has a transmitter that is about the size of a wrist watch. Parents can have their autistic child wear the device, and it is supposed to help searchers to quickly locate the child if he or she has wandered away. This cannot be done if the batteries have died, though.

The Life Trak device comes from a company called Care Trak International. The company says that the device should function properly unless it is entirely surrounded by metal, or if the batteries have died.

Parents who purchase a Life Trak transmitter for their children are given a testing device so that they can know, for certain, that the battery is still charged. They are required to do this twice a day, and keep a log to show that they have done it. It has been suggested that the parents of the eleven year old had not been checking the batteries.

Image by Peter Morville on Flickr