Allow your child to listen to their own devices knowing that their hearing is safe
Whether you’re still sitting on the fence whether it’s right to give your young tot their own electronic device or you’re simply sick of the sound of Peppa Pig snorting her way through your car journey, there are several reasons why you might be looking to invest in a good quality set of toddler headphones.
Unlike headphones designed for adults and older children, toddler headphones come with several unique features that make them safe and suitable for a younger user. Not just the size of the headphones, but the volume they transmit and quality of how they are made are essential when making a purchase.
We most frequently use our toddler headphones when traveling, so an essential feature we also look for is durability and the option to either use a headphone splitter – so two children can share a device – or cordless so we don’t end up in an utter tangle!
Let’s take a deep dive into each of these important features, as well as looking in detail at the leading headphone brands designed particularly for your littlest ones.
This post is part of our tried & tested travel product series
What to look for in great set of toddler headphones
We know how important it is to make sure that your toddler has a safe and enjoyable experience with using headphones. Remember it’s not a case of simply set and forget; adult supervision is required and you need to model responsible use for them, as well as buying brands with built-in safety features to protect your little one’s hearing.
Here are several important factors you should consider when buying toddler headphones:
Did you know that according to WHO, prolonged exposure to sounds higher than 85 dB is dangerous? Experts say that sounds below 70 dB are safe – but we know that when there’s a lot of background noise to deal with too you may be tempted to push the volume higher.
Ideally, pick a toddler headphone that has a volume limit of 85 dB – though many do come in as high as 93dB. If you’ll frequently be travelling by plane, you may want to consider the slightly higher volume but be warned about prolonged use. It should also be a trustworthy brand that maintains the exact volume it promises.
Earphones not Earbuds
For your toddler’s safety, you should avoid earbuds. That’s because you have to insert the earbuds into their little ears, so the sound is too close to the eardrums, which can be damaging.
Instead, go for over-ear headphones with large cups that sit on the ears and provide a soft cushion. Adult brands will be too large to sit comfortably, so it’s essential to choose a brand specifically made for a smaller child’s head with an adjustable headband.
The best types of toddler headphone offer noise cancellation. Background noise and other disruptions are undoubtedly the reason most tots want to crank the volume as high as they can, so noise-cancelling headphones for toddlers are a great choice, though few truly offer this feature.
Does your kid love to throw everything at hand? Their teeny-tiny hands often lose control and drop things by mistake, sit on them, tangle them. Such is life with a tot. It is, therefore, essential to pick headphones with a durable framework. It’s also important to check if the wire is made of a long-lasting material like nylon, and look at the folding mechanism, how easy are they to snap?
Transportation rather than rough use is where most of our toddler headphones have met their demise. Headphones that can neatly fold and the cord neatly wrap in a bag last best.
If your little one has started talking, headphones with a built-in mic can be helpful. You can attach them to the phone when they want to have a cute little chat with Nanna or take an online class! Using headphones while talking on the phone is always better than holding the device too close to your child’s face and ears. Headphones with this feature undoubtedly add to the cost.
Adjustable Head Sizing
For complete comfort, your toddler needs adjustable headphones. You know how fussy children are about the slightest sensations of discomfort, right? An adjustable headband will allow the headphones to fit your toddler’s head perfectly. Plus, you won’t have to throw them away as your child continues to grow – if they survive that far!!
Wireless headphones are perfect for active toddlers, and we’ve found work best when we’re in the car or on a plane. However, your child will get better sound directly from the music/video device with wired headphones.
The other thing to bear in mind with wireless headphones is limited battery life. We’ve had the problem after long journeys of literally everything needing a charge, from iPads to phones, and all the headphones! Definitely have the wire with you as a backup.
If you are choosing a wired brand, look for those described as tangle-resistant – yet there are no guarantees on this one!!
Only got one device that needs to be shared? A splitter can be ideal for shared use. Many headphones come with an extra sharing interface that plus one set of headphones into the next so a separate splitter part is not needed.
A pair of super-cheap headphones are unlikely to last long. Not only will they likely be made of cheaper materials that easily break, but you also may not get the quality volume control functions. However, remember that your toddler will soon grow out of very small headphones too.
Headphones really are one of those electronic products that you get what you pay for; the more features, the higher the price but longer they should last. Most good-quality toddler headphones fall in the $20 to $30 range.
Best toddler headphones
|LilGadgets Kids Premium Volume Limited Wired Headphones||Foldable wired||Max volume 93dB
|Mpow CH1 Kids Headphones||Wired||Max volume 85dB
|Nenos Bluetooth Kids Headphones||Foldable Wireless Bluetooth & wired option||Max volume 93dB
10 hours play time
|YUSONIC Kids Wireless Headphones||Foldable Wireless Bluetooth & wired option||Max volume 93dB
15 hour play time
|Califone 2810-PA Listening First Kids Stereo Headphones||Wired||Max volume 93dB|
|Snuggly Rascals (v2) Kids Headphones||Wired headband||Max volume 85dB|
|KidMoments K13 Kids Headphones||Wired||Max volume 85dB|
|Kidrox Tiger-Ear Kids Headphones||Wired||Max volume 85dB|
The LilGadgets Kids Premium Headphones are one of the best toddler headphones for children and toddlers as young as 3 years old. Your little one will enjoy using this device as it has a light, comfortable, and adjustable design. It allows sharing with the help of SharePort so you won’t need a separate splitter.
Features we love:
- Thick padding in the ear cups for comfort and noise reduction
- High-quality band of polycarbonates making it safe and snug
- Easy to control volume with a maximum level of 93 dB
- Foldable and easy to carry
- External noise cancellation of up to 13 dB
- Available in several bright colours
- 4ft/1.2m premium braided nylon cable
- Recommended for ages 3 to 7 years
The Mpow CH1 headphones are ideal for babies, toddlers, and children. This wired headset is easy to connect with other headphones. So your child will get to enjoy their favourite shows and games with friends and siblings. Its food-grade material, twistable and bendable with volume limiting making it a safe option for your tiny tot!
Features we love:
- Volume restrictor to 85dB to prevent exposing toddlers to loud sounds
- Sharing interface that allows easy connection with other headphones
- Bendable headband and 1.2m tangle-free cord to survive a toddler’s wrath
- Food-grade material that’s free from toxins and safe for children
- Thickly padded ear cups and adjustable headband for comfort
- Available in blue/yellow, pink and pink/white
To introduce your tiny tot to the magic of music and sound, Nenos’ Wireless Kids Headphones for toddlers and children are a great option. They are excellent for children of around 3 years. Because of their long battery life, they are one of the best wireless headphones for toddlers on planes and other long trips to keep them busy.
Features we love:
- Noise limited to 93 dB
- Battery life of 10 hours
- Comes with a 2.5ft gold-plated cable to connect to devices while on low battery or when BlueTooth isn’t working
- Lightweight, adjustable, and foldable, making it easily portable
- Simple and stylish design in pink and blue
- Perfect for children as young as 3 years
If you want to find the best headphones for toddlers, you can give YUSONIC Kids Wireless Headphones a try. They are ideal for every situation, be it online nursery classes or a rerun of Moana, these headphones will be perfect for your youngster. They are light and comfy, which is exactly what the little need.
Features we love:
- 93dB volume-limiting to protect sensitive toddler ears
- 15 hours of playtime + 200 hours of standby
- Soft, cushioned cups that are comfortable and protective
- Adjustable headband for a snug fit for children of different age groups
- Sharing port, wired and wireless
- Comes with a carry pouch and detachable audio cable
A great choice for ambient noise-cancelling, this simple but effective toddler headphone set provides a snug and comfortable fit for small heads.
Features we love:
- One of the best noise-cancelling headphones for toddlers
- Perfect design to fit the small heads and ears of babies
- 5.5ft cord allows them to move around a little while listening
- Preferred by parents of kids as young as 1 year old as first headphones
- Available in cute panda, bear and tiger motifs
The Snuggly Rascals Kids Headphones are perfect for kids as young as 3 years, though they are also safe for younger children under your supervision. They have a unique wired design that looks like a sweat headband instead of a bulky band that sits on the head. These headphones are safe for young ears – and oh-so-comfy!
Features we love:
- Volume limit of 85 dB to protect your child’s ears
- Flat speakers inside a thick fleece band for comfort and insulation
- Compatible with all devices, including children’s laptops
- “One size fits all” design 38 to 57cm (14.9″ to 22.8″) adjustable and washable headband
- Unique forehead band design instead of a bulky band on top of the head
- Wide range of funny, animated designs available
- Fun packaging with stickers and puzzles sure to please
KidMoments’ K13 Kids Headphones are among the best toddler earphones to protect young ears. The thick-padded cups sit snugly on the little ears. It is compatible with all types of devices. It is perfectly suitable for children as young as 2 years, with an adjustable headband that makes it a good fit for kids of up to 16 years.
Features we love:
- Volume limited to 85 dB for the safety of children
- Lightweight and adjustable for a snug fit for toddlers
- Made of food-grade material keeping in mind the chewing habits of toddlers
- Foldable design for better portability, tested 20,000 times
- Sturdy nylon cable cord to prevent tangles
- Cute look that’s perfect for children – Comes in Sky cat blue, red ladybug, brown bear and pink and white cat
The Kiddox headphones are one of the best wired headphones for babies, toddlers, and children. With soft cup padding, tangle-free wire, and volume cancelling, you can relax while your kid enjoys “Let it Go” for the 300th time. It also has a fun design that will make your kid fall in love!
Features we love:
- Durable and flexible material that’s ideal for kids
- Adjustable headband to fit the head children between 1 and 8 years
- Volume limit to 85dB to protect your child’s ears
- Cute tiger-head design that both boys and girls will love instantly
- 3.5mm audio jack that’s compatible with all devices
So as you can see there’s quite a wide range of specialised toddler headphones – never just assume your own adult headphones will ‘do the job’ and accept no matter how robust a pair you buy for your child, you are likely to need to replace them fairly regularly!
Older kids? Pop over here to see our top headphone choices for tweens and teens
More useful toddler travel product reviews
Before taking off with your toddler this year, you may also want to take a look at the toddler travel advice section of our website. We have a bumper collection of travel tips and product reviews to help you on your way, including:
- 20 toddler travel essentials for every journey
- Engaging toddler travel toys for long road trips
- What we pack in our toddlers plane bag
- The best educational apps to download for toddlers
- The best toddler backpacks with harness
- Hiking with toddlers; How to make it fun!
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