We've gathered the latest rear-seat entertainment options for the car -- including budget-friendly options and ones that will wow!
LilGadgets Untangled Pro Children's Wireless Bluetooth Headphones. These appropriately youth-sized headphones in kid-cool colors are so sweet you'll wish you could snag a pair for yourself. Developed by a husband-and-wife team when they couldn't find great-fitting audio for their daughter, their simple and practical design comes with a soft headband, ear pads for comfort, Bluetooth for convenience, an old-school auxiliary jack if you run out of juice on the 10-hour battery life (USB charger included), and quality speakers for clear audio, which the makers wisely limited to 100db to protect those sweet little ears. ($50, amazon.com).
Roadtrippers app. Get your backseat travelers involved with the journey using this companion app to the trip-planning site roadtrippers.com, which allows your Apple or Android device to create maps using route-planning features with a cool interface -- a single swipe and your kid can call out offbeat attractions, diners and drive-ins, and more. (Free; Roadtrippers app).
PlayStation Vita. The brand-spankin' new version of this all-time favorite handheld gaming system is even more packable than ever -- thin, light, and comfy to hold. A longer battery life and built-in memory are great upgrades, as are many cool gaming bundles for the whole family. You can download full games directly to the system with a Wi-Fi connection, so there is no such thing as running out of back-seat fun. (From $199; PlayStation Vita).
TFY Headrest Mount Holder. Yes, there are more expensive and gadgety headrest mounts out there, but really all you need is something to hold a device at eye level or higher for a DIY video console. This adjustable universal number is really all you need for your Kindle, Nexus, or Apple device. Pair it with an inexpensive HBO Go account, or similar video cloud viewing service, and the kids can watch movies or YouTube without having to take along videos. Add some wireless headphones so everyone can hear (see next). ($30; amazon.com).
AV7900 Headrest Replacement Series. Rosen does a nice job with these factory-look replacement headrests with awesome built-in media centers. Visit the website to find one of Rosen's models to match your vehicle (the database is huge). Then simply install these tablet-look headrest systems made for Apple devices and DVDs. They come equipped with a Hi-Res LCD display and touch controls, media sharing between the two displays, easily personalized configurations, two gaming controllers and built-in games, a vehicle sound system, and fold-flat headphones plus storage. ($1,299; find a dealer at Rosen Electronics).
Field Trip app. This app for Android or Apple devices opens up a whole new dimension of road-trip reality. Imagine your kid looking out the window at a strange roadside sculpture and opening Field Trip, which reads your location then opens up a page that tells the whole history of Carhenge. It's all thanks to a partnership with hundreds of guidebook publishers, providing travelers with updates and alerts when they're near interesting points of history, art, food, architecture, traveler reviews, and more. It's like those sci-fi bad-guy glasses that show him all the pertinent information about whoever he's talking to … except applied to vacation. It also works with Google Glass. (Free; Field Tripper).
2014 Cadillac SRX Crossover (left). Bring in several connected devices to view photos, access music and media files, or watch the Blu-ray player with upgraded content, using headphones and independently controlled screens. The simplified remote control that kids can use without grown-up assistance comes thanks to the mom engineer behind it. "We spoke with children continuously throughout the design process to garner helpful (and honest) feedback," says Shannon Chiarcos, General Motors Human Factors Engineer and Interaction Designer for the Cadillac SRX. "Those oftentimes funny pieces of feedback helped inform our team and ultimately allowed us to create an interface and a remote that we knew they'd enjoy using." (MSRP starts at $37,605; Cadillac SRX Crossover).