You don’t want your kid to walk through life tuning the world out, but you also refuse to drive them anywhere with Kidz Bop 32 on repeat. This is why kids headphones are a vital piece of parenting tech. Unlike adult headphones, however, these pint-sized versions are designed to protect young ears from the potential damage of loud music by limiting volume to around 85 decibels — the recommended listening level according to health experts. Many are also foldable, come in fun colors or adorned with graphics, and boast kid-friendly features like inputs that allow them to share what they’re listening to with friends. While there are plenty of wireless headphones for kids, Bluetooth headphones for kids, and noise-canceling headphones for kids on the market, and these are eight of the most highly reviewed.
Puro Sound Labs BT2200
Between the “studio-grade audio quality” and the noise-canceling headphones design that drowns out 82 percent of background sounds, get ready to be frustrated every time you call your kids 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. They also fit little ears as young as two-and-a half.
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 kids headphones come in five 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?
JLab Audio JBuddies Studio
Designed for older kids age 6 to 16, the foldable JBuddies Studio feature a tangle-free braided cord with in-line mic, padded headband and “Eco Leather” cushions, and built-in 85db volume regulator. They’re available in blue and purple (no bright toddler colors here) and also come in a wireless Bluetooth version if the kids would rather cut the cord.
JVC Kids Tinyphones
Turns out, not everybody on Flight 1383 wants to listen to five episodes 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 quite. Plus, when they run out of shows to watch, it comes with four pages of colorful stickers just waiting to decorate that tray table.
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 as young as 3-years-old to gather around/plug up to four pairs into the same music device.
KitSound Levellers Kid Headphones
For the hipster kid who plays synth and just got home from DJ camp, these retro English kids headphones 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.
Smiggle Snaps Play 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 come in five colors with different themed graphics like hearts, cats, skateboards, and stars.
Urbanears Humlan Washable Headphones
Designed to keep you from ruining your kids’ expensive headphones in the washing machine (check those pockets), these Urbanears kids headphones also include a shareable plug to keep multiple kids occupied at once listening to the soundtrack from Frozen. When they get dirty (and they will), just take the headband and ear covers off and can toss them in the hamper.