Numerous gadgets and smartphone apps have come out in the past decade to help adults monitor every aspect of their health. Dozens of GPS devices can track an individual or vehicle’s location.

But a device that does these tasks for a parent’s young children? Yakima mother and entrepreneur Monica Plath was unable to find one, so she assembled a team of technical experts and advisers to help her create and market such a device.

“We’re the first cellular Bluetooth GPS wearable of its kind for this age group — which is a little bit shocking,” Plath said. “There’s infant wearables and wearables that do different components within this spectrum, but of the 2,500 wearables on the market, less than 1% are aimed toward children.

“So we’re capitalizing on that market vacancy and also on that need. This was driven by my own personal need and the need of other mothers like me with children who are (ages) 1-5, essentially.”

The result is the Littlebird Toddler CareTracker wristband and accompanying app for caregivers and parents. The wristband comes with a removable strap and is designed to be worn passively by children, Plath said.

It tracks a toddler’s location, activity level, heart rate, temperature and other information, with an accompanying app that allows parents to keep tabs on their child’s health, activity and even mood from afar while they are being cared for by someone else.

Preorders for the new product have been taken for the past few weeks at the website littlebird.care, and the first 5,000 devices are expected to ship in the fall, Plath said. The cost is $300, which includes one year of free cellular connectivity.

Plath and her two sons, ages 2 and 3, live in Yakima. She is a University of Washington graduate and Snoqualmie Valley native, and recently met with the Yakima Herald-Republic to answer Five Questions.

What gave you the idea for the Littlebird Toddler CareTracker?

My backstory is that I was a new mother during the pandemic, and I was having some issues with child care. I went online to purchase, essentially, this product and found that it didn’t exist.

I started the process of asking other professionals in technology from Seattle that I knew, and entrepreneurs, about solving this issue. We started with a FitBit — we wanted to just buy existing technology and create software.

We found through that process that the software was not the solution, it had to be implemented in the hardware. We went on a six-month search for a CTO (chief technology officer) and was lucky enough to find the team that took FitBit from idea to their $2 billion exit to Google as my hardware team. They’re in San Francisco and they have essentially helped me incubate this idea and take it to market.

Gadi Amit, my CTO, he’s helped solve some of technology’s bigger issues in terms of FitBit, a Net Gear router, Google Phone — he’s a real technology pioneer. He immediately resonated with this need in the marketplace. So we started working together.

Once we secured him, we were able to raise $2 million in precede funding while in stealth, which means we weren’t talking about our idea publicly. Our velocity within the tech world was such that we were launched by the tech hub in Seattle, GeekWire, last week.

How long has this been on the market, how long has this been available?

We launched (March 22). We did our pre-launch, and we’ll be shipping product this fall. The pre-launch is really just to secure your place in line. We’ve had incredible demand and it’s been resonated through both the investor and parenthood communities. So it’s been a really warm welcome and validation in terms of parents see this need for wanting to know their children are OK while they’re apart.

Do you have any background in business, technology or marketing?

My background was commercial real estate, where I focused on emerging technology companies. I worked with a lot of start-ups early on in Seattle.

It’s really fun now, full-circle, over a decade later, I’m connecting with a lot of those founders and re-igniting the network and the conversation and doing introductions. It’s been a lot of fun, being on the other side of it. We’re parents now — we’re all sort of going into it at the same time.

It’s funny, I see our sales list and a lot of it is friends in tech. They get it. I think it’s not just for moms, it’s for the working parent, feeling connected while you’re apart, knowing that you’re making good care choices for your child. And for date nights.

I think a lot of that is also like, are (your children) doing OK, without having to constantly check with the babysitter.

People don’t often think of high-tech devices coming out of Yakima. Is this a good example of what we can do now, with the internet making opportunities available online anywhere?

That’s one of the almost blessings of COVID. We were able to take so many of the meetings and conversations virtual, and that really facilitated the growth. It didn’t hinder our velocity — things kept moving forward. Which was great for me as a mother of two little boys, being able to spend more time with them and not be on the road. It’s been a real blessing in disguise in many aspects.

I think innovation can happen anywhere — where the need strikes. It’s just whether you act on it or not.

Outside of working on this project and chasing around two young toddlers, what are some of your other interests?

I’m really interested in children’s charities. I’ve worked with Pegasus Project here in town, and also Save the Children. Something that’s really close to my heart that’s also something I was doing back in Seattle was being able to connect children with positive outcomes.

I’m just really thankful for the community here in Yakima and their support. I have a really wonderful group of women and mothers who have really helped shape this idea and bring it to fruition. We were all “think-tanking” together, I guess you could almost call it crowd-sourcing, about this need. I was able to bounce it off them. I think it’s really a collaboration of minds and moms from Yakima.

Contact Joel Donofrio at jdonofrio@yakimaherald.com.