Left: Joshua Paquin and his daughter at Walt Disney World. Below, a CharlieTag Locket Charm prototype. (Courtesy of CharlieTag)
Joshua Paquin has always considered it his duty to protect children. As the oldest of 17 grandchildren, “I was always that guy helping keep others safe,” he says. Paquin, 36, is now meeting that duty in anew way as the founder of CharlieTag, a small company started by four single dads whose mission is to market and sell devices to help reunite lost
Paquin, who works in sales at a cable company in NH, became a single dad when his daughter, who is on the spectrum and is partially non-verbal, was about 2. “I wanted to take her to Disney recently,” he says, adding that the thought of losing her in a crowd worried him. “Like a lot of people, I don’t always trust crowds.”
The idea to create an identification system began while ordering food at a restaurant a couple of years ago. “I noticed the QR codes and how easy it was to order food,” Paquin says, explaining that later that evening after leaving the restaurant, he was scrolling through Facebook groups looking for information about vacations and how to keep children safe in crowds. What he found were tips from people who were writing their children’s information on their wrists and covering it with a clear varnish. “I don’t know why but I remembered the QR codes, and I thought, ‘this may work.’”
The idea behind CharlieTag is to have a child’s information easily accessible but private at the same time. Each CharlieTag has a unique QR code that will open access to a page with vital information about the wearer. Account holders, Paquin explains, are able to order stickers, locket style charms, and/or keychains for dependents to wear either on clothing and accessories or directly on the dependent themselves.
The information shown is customized by the account holder when they create an account. When the QR code is scanned, a text and/or push notification will be sent to the guardian to let them know the dependent has been found. If an account holder elects to sign up for a premium account, which will cost $5.99 a month, they will gain access to additional features, such as a GPS ping of when and where the scan occurred. So far Paquin has raised nearly $1,000 on Kickstarter and hopes to launch the website on Feb. 14.
“The idea behind the products and service is to help people who cannot speak for themselves. Our primary objective is to help protect children,” Paquin says. “We are committed to helping anyone we can through our products and services.”