Had you told me months ago that I would be frantically typing into google ‘best headphones for toddlers and kids’, I would have called you crazy. I am a firm believer that we can do with less, that kids do not need half of the ‘absolutely necessary things’ that marketing campaigns make us believe are the fundamentals of good parenting but on this one, I was wrong. Toddlers headphones have reason to exist and, when travelling, are a life saver.

I learned my lesson the hard way: we were on a plane, patiently waiting for the runaway to start disappearing under us, the aircraft humming steadily with the sound of its powerful engines.

I thought I had all the necessities and niceties that make flying with kids that little bit easier, but I was fighting and losing a battle with the plane entertainment system: the system itself worked, it had loads of movies and games for the kids, but it was for them impossible to hear what was going on because the free headphone would not stay in the ears!

They kids had been over excited to find complimentary earbuds for them, but they fiddled with them, tied them in elaborate knots around their ear pavilion, they put the volume up to a crazy extent just to be able to hear without even wearing them and, of course, it all failed. Frustration rose and turned into self-deprecation (for me) when I looked up towards the kids in the rows beside us, all geared up with kids headphones and happily taken by the latest instalment of Ice Age. I felt defeated and the worst mother in the world: my minimalist ideology meant my kids would have a boring fight and we would all pay the price for that.

That flight somehow passed (it was 5 hour, the food and the toys we had with us were more that enough) but for the following long haul flight I was ready: there was no chance I would take 9 hours of ‘spot the difference’! Amazon came to my rescue: a good search later and a click of a button and the kids were geared up.

This search taught me more than I thought I needed to know about children headphones (and baby headphones too) and since I now advocate buying kids headphones as a great aid to family travel, I am sharing my best picks and some interesting info.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and the information provided in this article is based on internet research, personal experience of some of the products and parents reviews. I have collated information to the best of my ability but I cannot guarantee its reliability and accuracy: this article is meant as a general overview only. Please always check with your medical practitioner about the suitability of kids toys, gadgets and travel gear and do double check the specs of the specific product you are interested in before purchasing. 

What are the best headphones for kids? These are my kids testing out two colourful pair of kids headphones. Also in this post, tips and advice on how to choose the beast headphones for kids and the best noise cancelling headphones for toddlers.

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Why headphones for kids

I got to research kids headphone while looking for an easy entertainment option for kids on a plane, but there are other reasons to invest in a good pair of kids earphones.

The selfish reason if of course peace for my very own ears: listening to kids music and tv is quickly headache inducing so to be able to get the kids to watch Peppa pig without having her oinking voice drill into my brain is in itself a great advantage (other people on the plane will thank you too).

The less selfish reason and the medical one to get kids headphones is that good ones usually allow the children to listen with a  lower volume: background noise and high music/entertainment volume can be very damaging to kids’ ears (I recently discovered kids hear noises up to 20 times louder than us!) and kids headphones able to block out some of the outside noise and allow for an overall lower level of decibels.

A word of warning: kids headphones must be used with caution and improper use can cause damage rather than limit it. Health guidelines recommend the use of headphones for no more than 2 hours per day and at a maximum volume of 85 decibels (ideally a lot less).

What to look for when selecting the best headphones for kids

When selecting the best kids headphones, I looked at 3 criteria:

  1. Comfort and fit:  the whole point of buying kids headphones, instead of sharing adult ones, is for the kids not to have to fiddle with small earbuds. When selecting yours, check the size of the ear muff and how tight the headband is around the head to make sure they are not too loose/tight
  2. Volume control: kids and toddler headphones come in all shapes and sizes and many include volume control. This can come as a built-in volume limit or as switch kids can control themselves.
  3. Colours: the market of toddlers and kids headphones knows how important looks are for kids and they have come up with incredible colours and design that are sure to catch the attention of your children. Actually, they might catch their attention a little too much and you might find yourself buying many more sets of headphones that you had bargained for! My kids selected plain blue and pink headphones but you also find some in the shape of animals or crowns.

In the paragraph below I am reporting reviews of some of the best selling headphone for toddlers and kids on Amazon, all scoring high on safety too. Please note: the following are affiliate links and will redirect you to the amazon US website.

Best-selling headphones for toddlers and kids 2016

  1. Kids headphones by Onanoff.

These kids headphones are among the most sold on Amazon and have several traits that make parents review this product as excellent:

    • Overall rating on Amazon: 5 stars
    • Built in volume control to never exceed 85 decibels
    • Comfortable hypoallergenic ear pads to help reduce outside noise
    • They come with a buddy cable so two kids can listen from the same device
    • Very durable and foldable, they are built to resist tough handling
    • They come in several colours and with stickers so kids can personalise them
    • Age: 2 – 8 years old
Among the best kids headphones on the market, Onanoff headphones for kids

Click on the image to be redirected to Amazon.com where you will find full reviews and latest prices

2. Griffin kazoo

These are super fun kids headphones with earmuffs in the shape of cute animals

  • Overall star rating on amazon: 4.5 stars
  • Built in Volume control not to exceed 85 decibels
  • Comfortable, well fitting ear pads help reduce outside noise
  • They come in several animal shapes including penguins and monkeys
  • Age: 3 years +
  • Cons: a few reviewers have reported their cable as not particularly durable (click on the image to be redirected to Amazon.com and read full reviews)
Super cute toddler headphones with the earmuffs in the shape of penguins

I find the penguin particularly adorable but there are choices to suit most children! Click on the image to be directed to the Amazon.com page listing them all

3. KidzGear

These kids headphones come with a very long cable which gets mixed reviews from parents: some love that it means kids can sit further away from the tv while others find the length a shortcut to tangles, especially in cramped spaces like a plane seat. A good selection of colours and comfortable ear padding, however, make them very popular and this is why the enter this list

  • Overall star rating on amazon: 4 stars
  • Volume control
  • Comfortable, well fitting ear pads help reduce outside noise
  • They come in several colours
  • Age: 2 to 12 years
  • Cons: a few reviewers have reported their cable as not particularly durable. Click on the image below for the full amazing reviews on this product

 

4. Puro sound

This product stands out for its sleek design, something especially older kids can be very fond of. They are closer to an adult headphone set than a kid gadget both in terms of looks and performance

  • Overall star rating on amazon: 4.5 stars
  • Built in Volume control not to exceed 85 decibels
  • Comfortable, well fitting ear pads
  • They have a sleek, non-kiddish design
  • Age: 3 years +
  • They are wireless
  • They have built-in noise reduction technology to  allow kids to keep the overall volume lower


5. JVC tiny headphones

Super colourful and comfortable on the ears, this set of kids headphones is durable and always receives stellar reviews

    • Built in Volume control not to exceed 85 decibels
    • Comfortable, well fitting ear pads but the headband is not padded, which can be uncomfortable for some kids
    • They come in several colours and with stickers so kids can personalise them
    • Age: 3 years plus
JCV tiny headphones for kids are among the best available with excellent reviews from parents

Click on the image to be redirected to the amazon.com website where you will find more kids headphones and a full selection of colour and prices

Baby headphones and noise cancelling headphones

While looking into headphones for children I came across a product I hadn’t considered before but that caught my attention: toddler noise cancelling headphones.

While completely different from a listening device, noise cancelling headphones have a lot of merits, which is why I decided to include them here. Personally, I think they are an excellent idea especially for  younger kids, who might get frustrated and over-agitated if exposed to excessive noise (my son hate loud noises so I speak from experience!).

My kids sometimes use their own headphones, unplugged, to get respite from the outside noise (it does’ work very well!) so I believe there is a reason to make room in your luggage for these ones too.

Best-selling noise cancelling headphones for toddlers and kids 2016

Some baby and kids noise cancelling headphones that came recommended to me are:

Baby Banz

Baby Banz in both under 2 and over 2 kids size. The Baby Babz regularly receive very good reviews from both tech experts and parents: they score high in terms of safety because of their Noice Reduction Rating (NRR) of 31 and because they are light and therefore easy to carry if you are travelling and comfortable for the baby or child. Also, they are recommended because of:

    • Good padding around the ears
    • Good fit around the head, which means they stay put without putting excessive pressure around the ears
    • They come in multiple fun colours
Noise cancelling headphones for kids can be helpful on planes and whenever there are loud noises likely to scare or upset a young child

Click on the image to access Amazon.com where you will find full reviews, full selection of colours and latest priced

Em’s 4 bubs

Fabulous  headphones for babies, design specifically to suit the head of infants

    • Soft stretchy fabric instead of plastic headband makes for extra comfort on very young heads
    • Very soft ear cups
    • Super cute colours
    • Age: up to 18 months

Snug Safe n Sound kid ear defenders

Last but not least, another product with excellent reviews about comfort, durability and portability (they can be folded) as well as safety ratings.

  • Many different colours
  • Big padded ear cups for comfort
  • Flexible wire headband
Noise cancelling headphones for kids, perfect for travel and special events such as concerts and festivals

Click on the image to access the Amazon.com store


I hope my research about the best headphones for kids and noise cancelling headphones comes handy to you. Please remember that this list is put together on the basis of internet search and reflect my personal opinions only. Your kids’ safety is your responsibility: Do consult your specialist and do follow their advice should you have any doubts about product suitability

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