6 Top-Rated Toddler Headphones

Reduce background noise and keep tots entertained on long flights with these toddler headphones.
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By Martina Garvey, E-Commerce Editor
Updated July 13, 2023
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Popping in earbuds to listen to your favorite playlist or audiobook is second nature for most of us—and at some point you may choose to invest in a pair of headphones for your kiddo too. Headphones for toddlers block out ambient noise and may even keep them occupied during long-haul flights. But don’t rush out and buy any old pair, when it comes to toddler headphones there’s a lot to consider. Regular headphones are too loud for sensitive little ears and may cause permanent hearing loss, plus you’ll need to factor in the fit, design and other technical features.

The best toddler headphones are equipped with audio controls and have noise canceling capabilities designed to protect their developing sense of hearing. To help you understand these features we’ve consulted the experts and selected six options deemed safe for young children. Keep reading to find out more.

Why Should Toddlers Wear Headphones?

According to Michelle Neidleman Kennedy, AUD, an audiologist and tinnitus expert at Treble Health in New Jersey, noise-canceling headphones protect toddlers and young children from “potentially irreversible hearing damage to their auditory systems, as well as teaching them safe listening habits that they will likely continue as they get older.” The best toddler headphones block out ambient noise allowing children to hear the sounds around them at a safer listening level.

When Should Toddlers Wear Headphones?

When people talk about toddler headphones, they may be referring to one of two products: headphones that play audio at a safe decibel level and noise-canceling headphones. To reduce the risk of temporary or permanent hearing loss, toddlers and young children should wear headphones with an appropriate volume limit when using devices, like tablets, telephones, video game systems or computers. Some audio-enabled headphones also have a noise-canceling feature, which reduces background noise so your little one can hear at a safe level. Another product related to toddler headphones are protective ear-mitts, which do not play audio, but cancel out ambient noise so your child can hear clearly without running the risk of damage. Protective ear mitts or noise-canceling headphones should be used in settings where spontaneous or constant noise is likely to occur (think: concerts, firework displays, air travel or sporting events).

According to Alexis Philips, DO, a pediatrician at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Pediatrics in Atascocita, Texas, a safe volume range is 65 to 85 decibels. If noise levels exceed 70 decibels (dBA), parents should consider putting noise-canceling headphones on their child. If you feel you are in a situation that is too loud—or the noise level is at or above 85 dBA—then noise-reducing headphones should absolutely be utilized, says Neidleman Kennedy.

Unsure if the volume is too loud for little ears? Most Apple and Android devices have a sound level monitor that can assess both ambient and headphone decibel levels. Neidleman Kennedy suggests parents utilize this setting to set parameters to ensure that children cannot exceed safe decibel levels. Sound level meter apps are also a helpful tool for parents (Neidleman Kennedy recommends Decibel X, NIOSH or Sound Meter which are available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play)

One point to note is that toddler headphones that play audio should be used sparingly. Philips advises parents to limit use to no more than one hour per day with regular breaks to reduce the risk of hearing loss.

What to Look for in the Best Toddler Headphones

Have your ear to the ground for the best toddler headphones? Below find a few practical and technical features to consider before making a purchase.

  • Volume output: Volume output is the most important feature to consider when purchasing toddler headphones. “Most headphones that are designated for children have a feature called output limitation, which automatically reduces the volume to about 85 decibels,” explains Philips. However, little ears are super-sensitive so you may need to manually adjust the headphones to a lower volume setting. Neidleman Kennedy sets a safe volume range for children under the age of 3 at anything up to 70 dBA, which is the decibel range of a regular conversation.

  • Noise reduction rating: Looking for noise-canceling headphones for a toddler? Be sure to check the noise reduction rating (NNR). This refers to the effectiveness of the headphones at blocking out ambient sounds and background noise. “A good NRR rating is between 20 to 26,” says Neidleman Kennedy.

  • Child-friendly materials. Toddlers are liable to chew and bite all sorts of random objects—including headphones. With this in mind, Philips advises parents to buy toddler headphones made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or polycarbonate (PC) as these types of plastic are non-toxic and durable.

  • Safe construction. With any baby or toddler gear safety comes first. Before you hand over a pair of headphones to your child check for loose parts that may pose a choking hazard. “For younger children, you may also want to consider wireless headphones to reduce the risk of accidental strangulation and to prevent your child from constantly pulling the cord in and out of the headphone jack,” says Neidleman Kennedy.

  • Comfortable fit. The best toddler headphones are lightweight, adjustable and have some cushioning on the ear-pads and headband. After all, if headphones don’t sit right or feel uncomfortable, chances are your child won’t wear them.

The Best Toddler Headphones

Ready to find the best toddler headphones on the market? Below find six pairs that are durable, child-friendly and, most importantly, safe.

Overall best toddler headphones

BuddyPhones CosmosPlus
Image: Walmart

These toddler headphones check every box in terms of style and tech specs. A safe volume output? Check. Noise canceling capabilities? Check. Parental controls? Check. Cute child-friendly design? Double check. Now that you’ve gotten the overview of why these headphones are so great, let's get into the nitty-gritty. First and foremost, these headphones have three audio output settings that can be controlled by parents: a 75 dBA toddler mode, a 85 dBA kids mode and a 94 dBA travel mode. (It’s important to note that anything over 85 dBA is deemed unsafe for children.) Plus, active noise canceling technology reduces background noise so kids can hear clearly in loud environments while maintaining a safe listening level. The headband itself is adjustable and soft ear cushions ensure a comfortable fit for your child. We also like that the headset is foldable and comes with a hard case for easy storage.

Age rating: Not specified | Volume output limit: 75 dBA (toddler mode); 85 dBA (kids mode); 94 dBA (travel mode) | NNR: 20 dB | Battery life: 24 hours | Weight: 1.23 lbs.

What We Love
  • Parents can set volume output to 75 dBA
  • Headphones cancel out ambient noise
  • Detachable boom mic for older children
Things To Consider
  • Some parent say the headphones run large
  • High price point

Best affordable toddler headphones

Belkin Soundform Mini
Image: Belkin

Our experts top choice when it comes to affordable toddler headphones? The Belkin Soundform Mini. Neidleman Kennedy says this is a great pair of noise-limiting headphones for folks that don’t want to spend a fortune. These wireless Bluetooth headphones easily pair with iOS and Android devices and have a 30 foot range, so your little one still has freedom of movement. Designed for young children, these headphones are made from accident-proof materials and have small cushioned ear pads that won’t weigh down your kid’s head. The sound output is capped at 85 dBA, which is still within a safe range but means that you’ll need to supervise your child to ensure they don’t ramp up the volume to the max.

Age rating: 3+ years | Volume output limit: 85 dBA | NNR: N/A | Battery life: 28 to 30 hours | Weight: 4.8 oz.

What We Love
  • Affordable price point
  • Built-in microphone
  • Durable design
Things To Consider
  • Expert noted that these headphones don’t protect from loud external sounds

Best noise-canceling toddler headphones

PuroQuiets Active Noise Cancelling Headphones-Built in Mic
Image: Puro Sound

Next up on our list of the best toddler headphones is another expert approved option: “PuroQuiets are pricier, but have noise reduction, noise canceling, and noise-limiting features,” says Neidleman Kennedy. Perfect for air travel or children with sound sensitivities, these headphones have an active noise canceling switch that puts the world on mute—meaning your little one can listen clearly in loud environments without having to increase the volume beyond safe audio levels. Better yet one-touch Bluetooth pairing and a 30 foot listening range, means your little one isn’t confined to one spot. And if your kids want to watch a movie together, a unique audio splitter cable allows two headphones to connect to the same device. Genius!

Age rating: 2+ years | Volume output limit: 85 dBA | NNR: 22 dB | Battery life: 23 to 35 hours | Weight: 5.9 oz.

What We Love
  • Noise canceling and sound isolation technology
  • Up to 35 hour battery life
  • Padded headband and cushioned ear pads
Things To Consider
  • High price point

Best wired toddler headphones

Kidrox Toddler Headphones
Image: Amazon
Buying Options

Of course, Bluetooth headphones aren’t your only option. Under strict adult supervision, wired headphones for toddlers are safe to use. KidRox headphones come in three cute cat designs and are flexible and bendable, meaning they’ll withstand even the most rambunctious tot. A sound cap of 85 dBA ensures your child won’t veer into unsafe listening territory, but keep a close eye on the volume just in case. The best part? They’re compatible with all devices, simply plug the cord into the audio jack port and your little one is ready to rock.

Age rating: 2 to 7 years | Volume output limit: 85 dBA | NNR: N/A | Battery life: N/A | Weight: 5.9 oz.

What We Love
  • Affordable price point
  • Flexible headband and cushioned ear pads
  • Colorful cat design
Things To Consider
  • Corded headphones can pose a safety risk

Best customizable toddler headphones

BuddyPhones PlayPlus
Image: Walmart

These toddler headphones have many of the same features as the BuddyPhones Cosmos+ with one exciting add-on: Kids can use the included sticker set to customize their headphones. Each pair comes with four sets of stickers plus name tags, so your budding fashionista can accessorize their gadgets. Meanwhile, three sound cap options give parents greater control of the volume and StudyMode helps isolate voices from other sounds, producing crisper, clearer vocals for at-home schooling.

Age rating: 2 to 10 years | Volume output limit: 75 dBA (toddler mode); 85 dBA (kids mode); 94 dBA (travel mode) | NNR: N/A | Battery life: 20 hours | Weight: 12.3 oz.

What We Love
  • Headset is adjustable
  • Three audio output options
  • Customizable design
Things To Consider
  • No noise-canceling capabilities

Best protective toddler headphones for travel

Alpine Muffy Baby Ear Protection
Image: Amazon
Buying Options

Last up on our list of the best toddler headphones is a pair of protective ear-muffs by Alpine. Designed for travel or noisy events, these headphones don’t play music but block out ambient noise to protect your little one’s hearing. They come in several pastel colors and are super-comfortable to wear thanks to a stretchy elasticated headband.

Age rating: 3 months to 3 years | Volume output limit:N/A | NNR: 23 dB | Battery life: N/A | Weight: 5.8 oz.

What We Love
  • High noise reduction level
  • Soft elastic headband
  • Adjustable design works for babies and toddlers
Things To Consider
  • Protective ear muffs don’t play audio
  • Not suitable for older children

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.


Michelle Neidleman Kennedy, AUD, is a telehealth audiologist based out of northern New Jersey, and a tinnitus expert for Treble Health. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Connecticut and her doctorate in audiology from Montclair State University.

Alexis Phillips, DO, is a pediatrician at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Pediatrics in Atascocita, Texas. She earned her medical degree at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens.

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