They're more hazardous than you might think.
We'll be the first to admit: We're obsessed with AirPods (and even more so with AirPods Pro). But just because we think the iconic white earbuds are great for you—assuming you're the average adult—doesn't mean that we think they're great for your kids.
In fact, they could actually be dangerous when placed in the wrong hands. A.k.a. little hands. Just take it from the parents of the 7-year-old boy who was recently rushed to the emergency room because he swallowed a rogue AirPod. Yikes. Below, we dive into all the reasons (and there are plenty!) why you shouldn't give those fancy Apple earbuds to your kids and what you can buy for them instead.
As evidenced by the above news story, AirPods—or any small wireless earbuds—are a serious choking hazard for young kids. And even when used correctly and placed in your child's ears, they can still do damage. "Even with older kids, we don't recommend using standard earbuds with kids," TJ Donegan, our executive editor, explains. "They're just way too loud, often hitting well over 100dB(a)—far above 85dB(a), the maximum level that experts recommend for kids and young adults."
It isn't just about your child's health, either (although that's priority number one!). Giving your kids the tiny white earbuds could also be costly to your wallet. "Even if your kid isn't likely to swallow them, it's incredibly easy for a single earbud to go missing—something that can cost you nearly $100 to replace," TJ cautions.
Out of sight, out of mind is the best advice that TJ has for parents. "As with any small electronic device, you have to be careful about leaving them around where pets and children could find them," he warns. That means keeping your precious AirPods on high counters or shelves where little hands can't reach them. If you do choose to let your child wear your AirPods, make sure you keep the volume to 60% maximum, TJ says.
TJ recommends always opting for kid-specific headphones when you're shopping for your little one. "Standard earbuds are okay if you can keep the volume limited to around 60% of the maximum, but a better choice is a pick from our roundup of the best kids headphones, which includes both wireless, noise-cancelling, and gaming headphones that are all safe for kids," he says.
Our current top pick? The Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet Kids Headphones. Not only are they volume-limiting so you can protect your child's ears, but they're also noise-cancelling (a rare find with kids headphones!) so your child isn't tempted to crank up the volume anyways.