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How RFID Can Safeguard Children

Radio frequency identification technology is offering a variety of new ways to protect our most important assets—our kids.
By Yedidia Blonder
Jul 08, 2011Risks and challenges are an inherent part of parenting, but we now have creative and safe methods for diminishing some of the risks and facing the challenges with a smart and safe backup. Take babies, for example. One of the secrets most covered up in hospital maternity wards is the ease with which newborns can be switched or abducted, receive the incorrect medication or food by an overworked nurse, or not have their diapers changed.

An RFID bracelet could prevent all of that, ensuring that only an infant's parent or nurse would be able to remove that child from the ward, and allowing easy and flawless monitoring of feeding and other required care. Needless to say, the radiation emanating from such a bracelet would be minuscule—only 1/100 that of an average cell phone.

In time, that baby will grow, and will quickly begin to explore the world. While the parents will wish to keep their toddler safe and close, the child will strive to push its limits and seek new frontiers. An RFID bracelet would enable him or her that degree of freedom and autonomous exploration, without the risk of the child straying off into danger. Malls and parks would thus become all the more open and accessible for both the parents and the toddler.

As the years go by, the child will have increasingly more independence and space. RFID could be a quiet and unobtrusive companion in a variety of situations, such as on school buses. How can parents ensure that their child boarded the correct bus? How can the bus driver know at which stop to drop off each student? And what if the regular driver is sick or on vacation? RFID system can easily be programmed to alert a driver to exactly who needs to get off at each stop, and at what time.

Imagine the security of knowing that your child's bus driver has airtight information regarding all of his or her transportation needs. And no less important, parents would be able to see, through a real-time Web interface, whether their child got onto the correct bus and off at the right stop—and when that occurred. The user-friendly interface would also enable parents to alter the programmed route if, for instance, their child were going to visit a friend, or attending a sporting event.

In addition, children and adolescents could use RFID tags as a replacement for money or keys, to open smart doors, pay at the school cafeteria, buy a soft drink and more. Such technology could also be utilized to enrich educational experiences. For example, lifting a tagged object could cause its name to show up on a television or computer screen.

Yedidia Blonder is the product manager of Vizbee RFID Solution, a provider of a real-time child-tracking solution platform designed to support all leading RFID technologies, including different types within the same project.
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