Before having kids, I swore to myself that I would never be that parent that plopped their kid in the backseat on long drives with a DVD player. I often think back to that time, pre-kids, and chuckle at how naïve I was with my thought process. Silly Tony.
As it stands, I only had to do that once, and that was on a 10 hour drive from the San Francisco Bay Area to San Diego with a 1 year old in the back. I came prepared; I had The Lorax, Up, and Monsters Inc. loaded up on my trusty tablet, which was hooked up in the backseat where my lovely daughter can watch to her heart’s content. Turns out, out of the three movies, the only one she wanted to watch in a non-stop loop was The Lorax and after 10 hours, I just couldn’t handle hearing “How Bad Can I Be?” again. And again. Man I wish I had thought to pack some headphones.
Kidz Gear has created a wonderful solution in their KidzControl Volume Limit Headphones. They are the perfect accessory for keeping kids happy during long trips, and for keeping parents sane. The headset comes in a variety of bright colors that children love, and also have very comfortable, ergonomically designed, soft padded child sized ear cups. How comfortable are they? Let’s just put it this way; my daughter, who hates anything on her head (sunglasses, hats, combs, clips, etc.) kept them on, giggling the whole time.
In addition to the fun colors and comfy ear cups, the headset is also made of a durable, flexible plastic that should survive destructive little hands. I inadvertently tested the headset’s durability when my daughter ripped them off at one point and start twisting them and stretching them. After getting them back, I was relieved to see that it was still in one piece. Another plus for the Volume Limit Headphones.
That brings us to the actual Volume Limit feature. I remember being a kid and listening to my CD player in the car and my mom yelling at me for having the volume too loud. “I can hear it through the headphones! It’s too loud!” I never thought I did; I mean, what other way is there to listen to Judas Priest than on LOUD? The point is, my mom was probably right and most likely, I had that music blasting way too loud. With the Volume Limit Headphones, the maximum volume will be capped between 80-90dB. In layman’s terms, the headset limits the sound to 80% of the maximum audio output. Depending on the device, that’s actually a pretty significant decrease.
My phone doesn’t traditionally have the best audio output; even pumped up all the way to the max, it never got as loud as when I used headphones on my PC or even a dedicated music player like an iPod or Zune. 80% of my phone’s max volume was actually pretty low…almost TOO low. However, on other devices like my tablet and the aforementioned iPod and Zune, the volume limit was a welcome addition. Those devices can get pretty loud, especially the iPod where it’s a bit too easy to accidentally drag a finger across the touch dial and pump the volume up suddenly.
It seems that I’m not the only one that’s enamored with the KidzControl Volume Limit Headphones; Kidz Gear recently was named a 2013 National Parenting Publications Award (NAPPA) Gold Winner. NAPPA’s independent, expert judges and parent testers evaluated hundreds of submissions for their innovation, safety quality and the degree to which they make parenting easier. After the 25 week testing period, 25 products received the Gold Award, 60 received Silver, and 41 were chosen as Honors.
“Each year, the experts and parent testers on our jury dive in and review, play with and meticulously test each entry we receive,” said Julie Kertes, NAPPA General Manager. “The products honored with the NAPPA seal this year stood out because of their innovation, quality, and the creative ways they help make parents’ lives easier.”
I wouldn’t say they make my life any “easier,” but I certainly appreciate the fact that my daughter (and soon, my son) now has a pair of headphones that she actually likes to use, and that has a safety feature that prevents her from accidentally blowing her own eardrums out. Long car trips now seem to be a bit more peaceful, and plane trips seem a bit less daunting.
The Kidz gear KidzControl Volume Limit Headphones are available for $19.99 from retailers such as Target and Brookstone. They are also available on the Kidz Gear website and Amazon.