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How A Pittsburgh Company Is Trying To Keep Kids From Getting Lost On Way To And From School

Margaret Sun
90.5 WESA

For a parent or guardian, having a child get on the wrong school bus or end up at the wrong stop can be a nightmare. But local company Keeping Your Kids Safe is giving parents peace of mind that their child is in the right place.

The issue is very close to Founder and CEO Tabatha Barron's heart.

"My niece got put on the wrong school bus twice in the same year at Pittsburgh Public Schools," she said.

In one of these instances, Barron said then-6-year-old Destini wasn't located for nearly an hour.

Every child in a school that uses the company's software gets a credit card-sized device attached to their backback. That card is scanned by the bus driver when the child gets on and off the bus. The child's parent or guardian is then notified that their little one is where they're supposed to be.

"And if they're not, the message is sent to the driver to redirect the child," Barron said. "At the same time, the parents are getting a text message every step of the way."

The device doesn't use GPS, so Barron said parents don't have to worry that the wrong person could track their child's location.

"The tags we use are passive; they don't track," she said. "The only way that you know where they are is from access points," such as the entry of the bus.

The system has been dispached in six Texas schools. Barron said she's tried to work with administrators in the Pittsburgh region to deploy the technology locally.

While kids are notoriously curious, Barron said there have been very few instances of children breaking or losing their identification devices.

"A lot of the kids like being able to scan something," Barron said. "They feel important."