You don’t want your kid to walk through life tuning the world out, but you also refuse to drive them anywhere until you can back up over their copy of Kidz Bop 32. This is why headphones made for children are a vital piece of parenting tech. Unlike those ear goggles that you strap to your skull, these mini versions limit the volume to around 85 decibels — the recommended listening level according to health experts — and allow them to share what they’re listening to with friends. Or parents who are concerned that the Micky Mouse Clubhouse is sending subliminal messages.
Puro Children’s Bluetooth Headphones
Between the “studio-grade audio quality” and the noise-canceling design that drowns out 82 percent of background sounds, get ready to be frustrated every time you call them to dinner. There is good news: The volume has that 85 dB restrictor and the battery only lasts 18 hours. So they’ll definitely be down for breakfast.
Puro Children’s Bluetooth Headphones ($80)
LilGadgets Connect+ Headphones
Music is one of the few things that kids actually like to share, and LilGadgets lets them daisy chain headphones together to form one giant kindie conga line. The foldable ‘phones come in 5 colors and have a max volume of 93 dB (still safe, but designed to overcome car and air travel noise). There is one curious feature: An inline mic that let’s your 2 to 7-year-old make important hands-free calls to — grandma?
Ages: 2 – 7
LilGadgets Connect+ Headphones ($21)
Rather than link headphones in a potential choke chain, each pair of the BuddyPhones has an audio splitter built into the headphone jack (dubbed the BuddyCable) that allows kids to gather around/plug up to 4 pairs into the same music device. And then, of course, listen to BuddyHolly.
Onanoff BuddyPhone Headphones ($25)
Snug Play+ Headphones
You don’t want your 4-year-old to have hearing like an aging Metallica fan, which is why like most kid phones these foldable headphones automatically cap the volume. But beyond not blowing their eardrums when Master of Puppets Come On, they’re comfortable enough to wear on long trips. Or one listening of Reload.
Ages: 3 – 8
Snug Play+ Headphones ($18)
JVC Kids Tinyphones
Turns out, not everybody on Flight 1383 wants to listen to three hours of Curious George. Who knew? These Tinyphones for tiny ears (3-years-old and up) ensure that your kids enjoy their favorite iPad programming while everybody else on the plane enjoys some peace and quite. Plus, when they run out of shows to watch, it comes with 4 pages of colorful stickers just waiting to decorate that tray table. Only 2 more hours to go!
JVC Kids Tinyphones ($30)
KitSound Levellers Kid Headphones
For the hipster kid who plays synth and just got home from DJ camp, these retro English imports feature inline volume control and cushioned, adjustable ear cups. If they start calling the school bus a “lorry,” just go ahead and hide them somewhere.
KitSound Levellers Kid Headphones ($61)
Smiggle Play Art Headphones
In addition to all your standard kid headphone features – soft ear pads, volume-limiting technology, tangle-free cord – Play Art headphones from the Australian company Smiggle (it’s smile meets a giggle, not a Lord of the Rings character you forgot). They come in 5 colors with different themed graphics like hearts, monsters, and outer space. It’s controlled creative expression. Like major label punk music!
Smiggle Play Art Headphones ($27)
Urbanears Humlan Washable Headphones
Designed to keep you from ruining your kids’ expensive headphones in the washing machine (check those pockets), these Urbanears also include a shareable plug to keep multiple kids occupied at once listening to the soundtrack from Home. When they get dirty (and they will), just take the headband and ear covers off and can toss them in the hamper, along with everything else in their filthy life.
Urbanears Humlan Washable Headphones ($45)
Phiaton Chord MS 530 Noise-Canceling Headphones (For You)
If anybody in your house deserves a pair of top-flight, noise-canceling headphones to drown out the chaos, it’s your wife. But you’d also appreciate listening to some classic Men at Work (oh, who are you kidding? It’s all classic) while wearing the sleek wireless Phiaton Chords. They keep 98 percent of the outside world at bay for over 30 hours and can be used far beyond that, thanks to the EverPlay-X technology which doesn’t need a battery.
Phiaton Chord MS 530 Noise-Canceling Headphones ($70)
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