The Next Generation of Pedometer Watches for Kids
These are usually marketed as fitness bands. They are slicker, lighter, and more functional than the old-fashioned pendulum type of pedometer. More importantly, these are more accurate than the old pendulum pedometer.
Accelerometer vs. Pendulum Type
There are different types and even brands of pedometer watches for kids. The first thing you need to understand is the type of mechanism used, which greatly affects the accuracy of the steps and distance reading. There is the pendulum type and the accelerometer type.
The older and usually cheaper type of pedometer watch relies on a pendulum. This pendulum capitalizes on the bounce that your body creates every time you walk. The problem with a pendulum type device is that almost any movement that bounces your watch arm generates a step. As a result, the reading is not accurate, and you can be off by hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of steps. Remember, kids tend to bounce a lot. The only advantage of a pendulum type is that it is cheaper.
Tip: Bounce the watch around. Usually, you will feel a pendulum swinging inside the watch, if it is a pendulum type of pedometer. If it is a heart rate and pedometer watch, then you can also shake the heart rate strap to see if there is a pendulum that bounces around inside.
The newer accelerometer type uses a more up-to-date setup in order to measure distance, gait, steps, speed, calories burned, etc. The best types of accelerometers need to be set up based on the wearer’s biometrics (i.e. stride length, height, weight, etc). If done correctly, an accelerometer can even rival GPS-based distance and speed measurements. These are more expensive, but are worth the added cost.
Where to Buy A Pedometer Watch for Kids
You can buy one at your local sporting goods store or at the sporting goods section of Walmart or Target. You can order online through Amazon or eBay. A pedometer watch for kids is easy enough to buy. The problem is: What make and brand should you go for? Below are a few considerations:
- Always buy the accelerometer type pedometer watch for kids. You want accurate readings, not off-the-mark readings. To put it bluntly, pendulum type accelerometers are almost useless.
- Look for brands that make quality pedometer watches for kids. These are a little bit more expensive, but you can be sure that these will last longer, have better functionality, and are more accurate. Personally you are better off buying pedometer watches from Nike, Polar, Fitbit, Garmin, etc. Sportline, Mio, and Oregon Scientific are lesser known brands, but these usually rely on the older pendulum technology.
The Functionality of A Pedometer Watch
As mentioned earlier, a pedometer watch for kids has several tricks up its sleeve. This all stems from the fact that a pedometer is used to measure distance. Added functionality depends on the make and brand that you buy. Below are a few things to consider:
Almost all pedometer watches will measure the distance and/or steps taken.
Speed, calories burned, fat loss, stride, etc., are all added functionalities that are computed based on your weight, height, age, gender, etc.
Heart rate pedometer:
Heart rate pedometer watches are either strapless or come with chest straps. The former usually does not measure your continuous heart rate, unless it says so (e.g. Mio Alpha). The latter is usually more accurate and measures your continuous heart rate.
Not replaceable with professional facilities:
It is not a medical instrument. Bear in mind that a pedometer watch is used for personal health metrics. It cannot take the place of professional medical facilities.
All pedometer watches are unisex. You just have to set the watch for male or female. Of course, some pedometer watches come in different colors.
Pedometer Watch Recommendations and Reviews
A lot of users are raving about this and the reason is that you can actually see all functions directly on the watch. This is opposed to its competitors that only show a fraction of the functionality on the wristwatch itself. The wristband can be changed with different sizes and different colors. The accelerometer is very, very accurate. This watch measures steps taken, speed, distance, calories burned, etc., and even has a sleep monitor. The data can also be transferred online. This allows you to post your data and progress online.
If you are looking for something a bit more expensive, then you might want to check out the VivoSmart. It is lighter, sleeker, and is specifically made to link with your smart device.
This comes a close second to the Garmin. The functionality is almost the same. The only difference is that the distance travelled can only be shown if you upload the data online. There is also the problem about the strap. You must cut it to size. As a result, you cannot let other people borrow your unit. The plus for this unit, however, is that the data is easy to read and the unit is rechargeable.
Fitbit Surge: The Surge is a juiced up version of the Flex. Fitbit was forced to add an onscreen function to its fitness band in response to Nike, Garmin, Polar, etc.
The Fuelband is arguably the best-looking pedometer watch. It also comes with the Nike app. As with all the units in this review, it tells time, measures steps, distance, and can even be connected to your social media accounts. The only problem with the Fuelband is that you cannot swim with it.
Pedometer vs. GPS
A pedometer watch for kids has many selling points. True, a GPS watch has more functions. But frankly speaking, most kids do not need a GPS watch. Think of it this way: A GPS watch is good for a triathlete, but a pedometer is more than enough for children who prefer to run around the house, park, beach, and school all day.
A GPS watch comes with a hefty price tag. A good GPS watch will easily cost $250 to $500. On the other hand, a next generation pedometer watch like the Garmin Vivofit can be bought for around $60 to $90 — a great value if you think of it as a wristwatch with the ability to track the sum total of movement your kid makes.
Don’t Forget to Read The Instructions
Don’t skip reading the manual. The new generation of pedometer watches for kids is highly functional. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to use a pedometer watch. But it will require around 5 to 15 minutes of your time. Below are a few things to look for:
Smart device connectivity:
You can link your pedometer watch to social media via brand-based apps as well as third-party apps. This allows you to post your kid’s progress online.
Some pedometer watches come with sleep and fitness trackers. Others can be linked to additional devices in order to increase functionality (e.g. heart rate monitor).
If you already have existing fitness equipment and trackers, you might want to buy the brand that can link with the same. For example, Garmin links via ANT+, Polar links using their own proprietary bandwidth, while others link via Bluetooth 4.0.