Toddlers can be rough and tough on their toys, so it’s not surprising when moms have near panic attacks when their children try to take over their expensive smart phones and tablets. "How many five year olds lose their own jackets? We really want to trust them with a gadget worth hundreds of dollars?" says Heather L., expressing concern over giving kindergarteners iPads.
Though, moms don't have to worry that typical toddler bumps and spills will damage their gadgets any more, because there's now a plethora of protective gear on the market that help make these items easier to use for kids, but also safer from injury. Here are four kid-tested options, depending on your needs.
An Interactive Gear Case
The people at Fisher-Price are clearly not strangers to how destructive kids can be. Their Laugh and Learn Apptivity Case ($13 at Target.com) is designed to provide a sturdy case for Apple products, meaning there’s no reason for moms like LaCi to keep everything of value out of her son’s reach, even though he broke her cell phone in half!
This case is designed to protect iPhones, iPods and iPads from unwanted call-making, dribbles and drool. For more typical baby play, the case also includes beads and a mirror. And, the case is compatible with Laugh & Learn apps, available for free download on the Apple App Store.
Cases That are Easy to Hang Onto
Because toddlers’ motor skills are still developing, they sometimes can have clumsy hands. So, the Big Grips ($50 at Biggrips.com) for iPad is designed with foam cushioning to make your tablet easy to grab — and hold on to — while providing a buffer against accidental drops. With the matching stand, moms can prop up their portable devices, making it easy for children to view videos hands-free.
When your iPad is "dressed" up in your anthropomorphic iGuy ($29 at TigerDirect.com) case with squeezable hands, your preschooler may never want to put the tablet down. But just in case your child accidentally drops your device, the case’s foam construction provides cushioning. For hands-free viewing, just stand your iGuy on his own two legs.
The Headcase Etch A Sketch case ($31 at Amazon.com) is made from impact-resistant ABS plastic, and has rubber feet and a felt backing to cradle your electronic device. A retractable kick stand allows you to either lay your iPad flat, or angle it to make using the keyboard easy.
iBallz ($20 at MG Direct) offers 360-degree drop protection for your tablet, by using a shock-absorbing cushion on all four corners to ensure your device never touches the floor. The cushions are held in place by an adjustable elastic cord, which also can be used to hang your tablet. Satchels and sleeves are also available from the company.
Heavy Duty Protection
Sometimes, moms need protection that is especially durable. For instance, Vera T. recalls that even her nine year-old has thrown something. "[This] is why she's not getting a iPod Touch any time with in the next few years."
For moms that need extra protection against drops and impacts to their smart phones or tablets, Trident Case ($15-$50 at Tridentcase.com) offers several types of cases made from two materials — a hardened polycarbonate shell plus a shock-absorbing silicone cover. Designed to fit a variety of smart phone and tablet brands and models, most cases in the company's product line also come with a built-in screen protector, as well as silicon plugs to keep debris and dust out of your device’s ports and audio jacks.
Otterbox (from $14 at Amazon.com) also offers a multi-material case to protect tablets and smart phones. The three-layer case features a clear, polycarbonate membrane to prevent scratches to the screen, a solid polycarbonate inner shell to protect against drops and damage and a silicone exterior layer to withstand heavy use and random accidents. Additionally, silicone plug covers block dust and lint from collecting and damaging ports and jacks.
Sometimes it’s not sticky or clumsy hands that ruin a mobile device, but water.
Mom Lisa S. shares that her son slobbered on her mobile phone so bad that there was saliva running around and behind the screen.
Meanwhile, Jenny "the Commie Canadian" says her son went as far as to throw her daughter’s brand new iPod in the fish tank.
For moms facing similar instances, it might be helpful to have a DryCase ($27 at Amazon.com) for their smart phones or tablets. Although the case looks akin to sticking your device in a Zip Loc bag, it offers complete waterproof protection using a vacuum technique. Because the case is clear on both sides, you can still use your touch screen to take photos, listen to music or make phone calls.
*Prices are current on the original date of this article's publication, but are subject to change.
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