What are they?
If you've got a child who loves their tablet there's a chance you might be getting bored of hearing the music from Peppa Pig/Topsy and Tim/Frozen (delete as applicable). Of course headphones are the obvious answer, but not always that practical for younger children. So how about these instead?
Snuggly Rascals headphones are a fleece or cotton headband with small speakers built in. Fasten the velcro at the back and your small person can happily sit and watch CBeebies till their heart's content. A simple but effective idea. The sound is limited to 85dB for little ears, the lead is 1.5 metres long and the headband itself is designed for heads between 38cm and 58cm.
What are they like?
Essentially this is a headband with a velcro fastening at the back that has little openings for a pair of small flat speakers to run through. It really is that simple. You can move the speakers to make sure they fit over a child's ears and with a standard 3.5mm audio jack they fit pretty much anything, although if you have a newer iPhone don't forget you'll need the headphone adaptor.
The headband is available in either fleece (which we're testing here) or cotton, the latter being cooler and a lot better in the summer. There are several different designs from the owl we've got to a unicorn - obviously - and a monster, because some boys probably don't want a pair of pink kitten headphones.
You can remove the the headphones to wash the band, which we found useful (thanks Nutella on toast). It washes well too and doesn't need reshaping when dried.
While our chief tester Eden was a little reluctant to wear the Snuggly Rascals at first, once persuaded to try them on (thanks Nutella on toast) she actually likes them, once we'd got the speakers in the right place. As you can see above this took a few attempts. The headband is quite wide and it does have a tendency to slip down her head and she quickly gets hot while wearing them. This is where the cotton ones would be better.
The sound from those little speakers is actually pretty good. Don't expect concert hall quality here for your £15, but the sound is clear enough that we have had no complaints from Eden and rarely have the iPad set to more than half volume. We did test them at maximum volume, which is thankfully not very loud, and there's no distortion.
From the outside, you can still faintly hear what is being listened to, but only if you're sat close. With Eden in the back of the car wearing them, we can't hear anything. When she's fallen asleep wearing them, the fact there's a velcro tab means they're easy to take off without waking her up.
The wire is usefully long at 1.5 metres and is braided rather than plastic, so should prove more durable and less likely to split.
Should I buy them?
At just £15, you're not going to break the bank getting these. The quality of the speakers is what you'd expect for the price, but they do the job while the headband itself is soft and cosy. They're certainly less bulky and awkward than a pair of over ear headphones and less fiddly than in-ear ones.
For younger children they're ideal and the cute design will certainly appeal, although we imagine older kids will want something a bit more 'grown-up' and stylish such as Skullcandy. For many parents, £15 is a small price to pay for a bit of peace and quiet, especially on long car or plane journeys. You may even begin to miss hearing the theme tune to Postman Pat...