It doesn’t reflect poorly upon your parenting skills if you occasionally let an electronic gadget entertain your kids. Portable DVD players are great for this purpose. You can take them in the car, to the airport and just about anywhere else. But when you’re buying a DVD player for your kid, there are different criteria to pay attention to than you would if you were getting it for yourself. Check out some of these top considerations for kid-friendly DVD players.
Kids break stuff. Especially if they are toddlers, or just plain rowdy. Screens get scratched, marked up with crayons, DVD doors get broken off, crushed Cheerios get funneled into every port, nook and cranny and the whole thing gets dropped, buffeted and stepped on. Chances are, you’re going to have to replace this item at some point, so don’t go for the LX model. This will prevent you from blowing your top when they wreck it within just a few months and allow you to get a new one (after a firm reprimand, of course).
You can easily get a portable DVD player for less than $200.
With all the above said, you should strike a balance between workmanship and affordability. Some budget portable DVD players are built flimsier than a popsicle stick. Because they might not last as much as a model that’s $50 more, you could end up spending more in the long run. Fisher Price makes an excellent “tough” portable DVD player that is spare on the moving parts and heavy on the reinforcements. Thinner portable DVD players may not be as good of a bet.
Easy to Use
Portable DVD players are typically fairly straightforward—there’s the play, stop, and fast forward buttons. But some are easier to operate than others. Look for one that your kid will be able to figure out so they won’t be bugging you for help. Or, look for one where you can lock the controls so you can set it to play and kids can’t interrupt it with accidental button presses.
Screen Size and Viewing Angle
Some LCD screens become nearly invisible when viewed from the side, above or below, which can be a hassle if the DVD player is meant to be shared with a sibling. This one’s harder to measure from the specs, but read some reviews to find one that has a wide viewing angle. Bigger screens are often better in terms of viewing angles, but not always.
Rechargeable batteries are good, as long as you can remember to keep them juiced up and as long as they can be swapped out for long trips. If a DVD player piddles out 2 hours into a 6 hour flight, you’re going to have one antsy kid on your hands. Alternately, look for a DVD player that accepts standard AA batteries and carry plenty of spares.
One last thing that you shouldn’t overlook is how the DVD player looks. As grownups, we like things to look sleek and modern. But colorful and inviting works better for kids. Ask them what they like to look at and avoid getting something that may be viewed as overly feminine or masculine for your child.