We do a lot of air travel and as our daughter is now 14 months old she is getting more challenging to entertain on flights. She loves interacting with other passengers and, as she is an engaging child with a gorgeous smile, she laps up all the attention she can get. But we can’t do that for the whole flight ( it wouldn’t be fair on the other passengers 🙂 ) and, after rifling through the pictures in the airline emergency instructions there’s nothing else to. We didn’t want her addicted to technology this early in life but it really has been impossible as we both use our laptops for our livelihood and our little one loves to push buttons and get in on the action. So in order to get any work done we have recently purchased her her own cheap (but great value) tablet for watching videos.
Up until now she would pull off anything we put on her head. She dislikes having sun hats on or having a hoodie over her head, and she will only keep our favorite Sennheizer headphones on for a few seconds. But I think she has got to the age where we could introduce her to some toddler headphones and she’d quickly grasp the benefit of pairing sound with her video while flying with background engine noise.
So what features make the best headphones for toddlers?
They need to be noise limited so that the child’s hearing is not damaged by turning up the sound to maximum.
They need to fit comfortably on a young child. Headphones are strictly speaking not recommended for children under 3 years of age because of potential hearing damage with loud noise, so you’ll never see a manufacturer claiming that their product will fit a one year old. However reviews of most of the products below do state that they will generally fit adequately from about 14 months.
They need to be relatively inexpensive. We all know how chaotic it can be traveling with young children and how much “stuff” we have to take in our carry on for them – toys, comforters, snacks, bottles etc. That on top of all our essentials too. It is very easy to me mislay items so losing a $20 pair of toddler head phones is much less distressing than a $99 pair. Hell, I’ve already left my on cell phone on a plane within the last year. Fortunately I realized it before we exited security so was able to dash back to the gate and a flight attendant kindly retrieved it for me.
Everything reviewed below has a 4 or 4+ average rating on Amazon and, after reading lots of reviews and answers to FAQs, they are the best toddler headphones that I found.
- 1 AmazonBasics Volume Limited On-Ear Headphones for Kids – Blue/Green
- 2 LilGadgets Connect+ Premium Volume Limited Wired Headphones with SharePort for Children
- 3 CozyPhones Kids Headphones Volume Limited with Ultra-Thin Speakers & Super Comfortable Soft Fleece Headband – Perfect Children’s Earphones for Home and Travel
- 4 Kidz Gear Wired Headphones For Kids – Ltd. Edition White
- 5 LilGadgets Untangled Pro Premium Children’s Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with SharePort – Blue
- 6 GranVela X2 Foldable On-Ear Wireless Headphones Support Bluetooth Micro SD Card Player, FM Radio with Built-in Microphone Calls for Kids Earphones, gift, Smartphones
At only $15 these are great value for money. They are noise limited (94DB) and most reviewers thought this was excellent and gave them real piece of mind. A few people thought the volume was too low when taking into account background airplane noise but this is the case with all the noise limiting headphones.
They come in 2 vibrant colours but they do not fold. They will fit a 2 year old so I’m confident they’d be OK for our nearly 15 month old daughter.
For a little extra you can get these folding headphones that come with a soft storage pouch which makes them easier to travel with. There are 5 bright colors to chose from and they have their max volume limited to 93db. I really like that they come with an extra port which allows 2 headphones to be joined together so that two people can share the same device. They are compatible with 3.5mm audio jacks which are standard on most devices and airline entertainment systems. They are made to fit 2-8 year old, but depending on the size of your child’s head they can be fine from 1 year anywhere up to a 12 year old.
CozyPhones Kids Headphones Volume Limited with Ultra-Thin Speakers & Super Comfortable Soft Fleece Headband – Perfect Children’s Earphones for Home and Travel
These themed head phones are a lot of fun and are popular with the young ones. As well as Green Froggy above, there is a purple froggy, fox, panda, unicorn, cat, smiley face and monster to chose from. As you can see they come in the form of a headband made from fleece. The thin soft speaker pads can be removed so the headband can be washed, and the cord is braided so less likely to kink. The max volume level is 83db and children generally find them very comfortable. The headband is quite stretchy and fit anywhere between 13 months and a young teenager, depending on head circumference. Reviews are mostly very positive with only a few small criticisms such as that the speakers can move in their pockets and therefore sometimes need to be adjusted. Also the wish that the headband could be adjustable with Velcro which would allow them to be taken on and off without mussing up the child’s hair. They look like a good option as I can imagine many toddlers finding traditional headphones or earbuds uncomfortable. Also I like the fact that, being in a headband, these headphones fold and take up very little room when traveling. My only concern is that the headband could be too hot in Summer months, especially if you live somewhere where it’s hot and/or humid. At least it’s not an issue when flying, as the environment is very controlled.
These comfortable over ear headphones are very popular for good reason. In addition to being sturdy, well made and having a volume controller on the main cord, the actual max volume limiting safety feature is a separate removable cable that joins onto the end of main cord and then fits into device. Why is it useful to be able to remove the volume limiting feature?
For two reasons:
– sometimes the background engine noise is too loud to hear properly if the noise reduction control is on.
– sometimes the underlying volume of the music/video being played is too low to hear otherwise.
When on, the volume is played at 80% of normal (Max 80-90db).
They are available in 6 vibrant colors and adjust to fit children from about 14 months up to teenager. The main cord is an ample 4.5 feet. You can buy an inexpensive Kidz Gear Stereo Headphone Splitter Adapter Cable if you want to share a device between two headsets. It’s only a shame they aren’t foldable.
If you’re prepared to splash out a bit more (approx US$45 or less on sale) you can get these wireless Bluetooth headphones. The beauty of these is the lack of the usual wear and tear that occurs with the cords on wired headsets. Also you don’t have to worry about you child strangling themselves with the cord if they fall asleep with them on and aren’t supervised. Other than the price the downside is that you need to charge up these headphones (separate charging cable included). At least they hold their charge for up to 12 hours when in use, or 180 on standby. Noise limiting is set at 93db. Unfortunately they don’t fold. These headphones come in 6 different colors, have a microfiber carry pouch, and a cable that allows you to join it too another headset for shared enjoyment of a device. Also you can use them as a wired headset if they run out of battery or you want save your battery. The Bluetooth range is 30 feet. Will fit a 2 year old up to an adult with a small head 🙂 Another Plus is that Lilgadgets has excellent customer service.
GranVela X2 Foldable On-Ear Wireless Headphones Support Bluetooth Micro SD Card Player, FM Radio with Built-in Microphone Calls for Kids Earphones, gift, Smartphones
It seems you can’t have everything! These attractive headphones for young children are wireless and foldable BUT do not have the maximum noise limiting feature that the others above have. Some people prefer not to have it anyway because they find that airplane engine noise makes the 94db and under ones inaudible.
These people obvious don’t mind setting the volume level at the outset and then checking in on their children’s volume levels from time to time. These headsets have enough charge for 6-8 hours playing time and 240 hours standby. They are charged via USB cable which normally takes 2-3 hours to get a full charge but you can do a quick charge for 3 minutes that’ll give you an hour playing time). If you need to use a non-Bluetooth device or your headset’s battery is flat, these come with a normal cord with 3.5 mm jack also so you can use them as a regular set of headphones. Purchasers report that these can be worn from 2 years up, and I could see that they were used by quite a few adults (with small heads 🙂 too. There are 10 lovely colours to choose from and they come with the added features of FM radio and a micro SD player.
I like foldable headphones so I’d probably go for the Lilgadget wired or the Granvela wireless headphones.