Headphones for babies?
August 24, 2014 9:44 AM   Subscribe

One year old, first long flight, looking for recommendations for headphones so baby can comfortably watch his favorites (Sesame Street, Super Why, and Adele music videos) if necessary to keep things sane.

I've found great noise cancelling earmuffs for 1-year-olds, but what about headphones? We've got a tablet preloaded with baby games and his favorite shows to help entertain the little guy on the unfortunately necessary 5-hour flight, but we have no way for him to listen.

And just to hopefully and cheerfully preempt the unhelpful answers I've gotten elsewhere: Pretty please, no lectures about screen time, as that's not relevant to this question. We subscribe to the CTFD school of parenting, and kiddo is occasionally allowed to experience a limited selection of appropriate games, educational shows, and delightful music videos. A 5-hour flight is one of those times where this is probably going to be necessary. We're trying to be good parents while also being considerate to everyone on the flight with us!
posted by erst to Shopping (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: When we flew with our 18 month old overseas, our MacGyver-ish solution was to take a diaper, fold it in half, then put it on top of his head, then put the (regular size) headphones on top of that. The extra height from the diaper put the speakers at ear level, it was soft and didn't weigh much and wouldn't hurt him if it fell off.

Bonus: it cracked up the flight attendants.
posted by ambrosia at 9:55 AM on August 24, 2014 [8 favorites]

Best answer: I (and almost every other toddler parent I know) has the Kidz Gear wires headphones. They're about $20 in Amazon and have a sound restrictor and come in a variety of bright colors.
posted by devinemissk at 10:07 AM on August 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

As a frequent traveler with a kid (hey, I'm on an airplane with a 5 year old sleeping on me right now! This has been 19 hours of travel, so 5 sounds like a breeze right now)... Bring it, keep volume low, get the kids gear headphones if you wish... But really 1 year olds aren't predictable enough to know that iPad videos are going to do the job. Bring other stuff for sure.
posted by k8t at 10:09 AM on August 24, 2014

Agreed with k8t; when our kid was 1, we needed way more than the iPad for a three hour flight.
posted by Pacrand at 11:26 AM on August 24, 2014

Response by poster: Please rest assured that I will be bringing a small arsenal of toys, games, snacks, and stuffed animals to entertain kiddo with in addition to the iPad. I will also be bringing diapers, wipes, changes of clothing, kiddo's favorite blankie, a carseat, and have purchased an extra seat just for kid.

Recommendations for headphones are still welcome if you have them!
posted by erst at 12:09 PM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hi, looks like you've heard enough from the well-meaning but slightly off-topic crowd, but I would just caution one thing: the volume of the headphones has to be much louder on an airplane to be heard over the engine noise. I let my two-year old play on my phone with a peekaboo app with the volume turned up so we could ever so slightly hear it (no headphones). When the plane stopped and my son turned it on again, the volume was blaring and the flight attendant rushed over and asked us to turn off the volume. So I'd be careful with the headphones. My two cents. Have a good flight!
posted by JenMarie at 12:51 PM on August 24, 2014

When we took our one-year-old on a long flight, we just brought the iPad with no headphones. Since you're so close to the thing you can have the volume a couple clicks from silent and still hear it a little bit, especially if you sort of cup your hand around the speaker to direct the sound. It can be a lot softer than you'd have it for yourself because a one-year-old doesn't really need to make out the dialog. We had a few Dora episodes and he did watch them for a while on the plane. If your kiddo is into Super Why I can recommend that app too. The letter hunt game is good even for little guys, although you may get a tad sick of hearing the pig chirp "Let's give ourselves a big thumbs up!"

I'm sure you'll be very glad to have an extra seat - we ended up wishing we had done that too!
posted by pocams at 1:21 PM on August 24, 2014

Best answer: We have (and love) the Califone panda headphones - also comes in tiger and I think penguin. They have an additional volume switch on the wire so you can control the volume even when your kid discovers the volume controls on their device.
posted by Mchelly at 1:23 PM on August 24, 2014

Best answer: I got my daughter the headphones you can find on Amazon as "Kids Headphones - KaZoo Frog MyPhones". They're cute, look like a frog and stuff. They seem to work fine.

I bought them for her when she was only 9 months old to go on a 5 hour flight, she really did not get the concept and wouldn't keep them on at all. At 12 months they entertained her for maybe 5-10 minutes at a time. I think now at 18 months she would be pleased as punch to use them for at least a half hour. I would recommend if your baby is not used to wearing them to give some practice time before the flight so baby is used to having things on its head.

Given what I know after getting the KaZoo set, I might spring for the top rated ones (LilGadgets) on Amazon for babies if I wasn't worried about cost and expected to go on other long flights during the toddler years. She loves the cords but is constantly trying to rip them from the headphones (or sometimes seems bent on strangling herself with them), cordless seems like it would be fantastic. Then again, you could buy 2 more intact KaZoos for the price of one cordless LilGadgets.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:12 PM on August 24, 2014

What about a pillow speaker taped or tucked into the childs car seat close to ear level. The child doesn't have to keep anything on their head and sitting quietly in their seat is rewarded by the audio of the show on the ipad. You might just need a longer cord/extension cord to reach to where child is holding/watching the device.

In my experience even an annoyed neighbor on a flight would rather hear soft noise from an ipad/DVD than deal with a restless, angry toddler.

Have a great trip!
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 6:18 AM on August 25, 2014

We also have the Califone headphones, in panda and tiger varieties. They've held up surprisingly well for 3 years.
posted by zsazsa at 11:51 PM on August 25, 2014

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