Do you remember the feeling when you have to get up in the middle of the night to drink water or go to the bathroom, but you have to turn on the light and then by the time you go back to bed you are awake, and you can’t seem to fall back asleep again? I know right, worst feeling ever!
That is why our smart inventors came up with a brilliant idea – nightlight. Believe it or not, it was first invented in the 1960s because one inventor believed it would help his child to feel more secure. Even though decades have passed since then, many people use it for the same purpose.
Most parents decide to buy it for their little ones who are scared of the dark or being alone. Also, it is very practical when you have guests over because they won’t trip over something or hit their little toe on the corner of the table and we know how painful that is. Even places that are public, like theaters, have built-in lights to ensure that emergency routes are visible.
Since this is something that became a necessity in every household, you can find it in any size or shape from standard plugins to toys which have a light that is built in and projectors. Depending on the model prices might vary but usually, you can find a nightlight which costs below 30 dollars. Although there are many benefits to using this kind of a gadget, you should also pay attention to safety measures due to some risk factors for consumers.
Today we will talk about the best nightlights for kids, giving you our top picks and also providing you with a buyer’s guide to know on what you should pay attention. Firstly, let’s see what the usual designs are.
Nightlight Typical Designs and Features
According to a definition of a nightlight, it should produce a soft and calming glow which will not interfere with your sleep cycle. Studies have shown that nightlight helps kids fall asleep easier and reduces their fear of night or darkness. Also, it is of great help to parents who have a newborn or toddler and have to check on them because they can continue sleeping even if the nightlight was turned on due to its soothing effect.
Nightlights are light fixtures that are made for bulbs that are incandescent, halogen or CFL and LED lights. We will now review the differences between these choices.
- Incandescent bulb – Is an electric light bulb that works by means of incandescent – meaning when the filament gets heated to a specific temperature it emits light. The wattage is 60, and it can last 1000-2000 h, but it’s hot to touch, causing burns on your skin if touched directly. The cost is around 2 dollars or less than that.
- Halogen bulb – Is similar to an incandescent bulb that uses a gas called halogen that makes a chemical reaction with tungsten that has evaporated preventing it from sticking to the glass. The wattage is 60 and it can last 3600 h but it’s very hot to touch, even causing burns on your carpet, that is why it is usually made with quartz. The Cost is from 1 dollar to 3 dollars.
- CFL – is a compact fluorescent light that is made for energy saving and cost-friendly purposes. The light is emitted due to a combination of phosphors that emit one band of color individually that are all in range of ultraviolet light. The wattage is from 13 to 18, and it can last 6000-8000 h. Regarding the heat it is quite similar to an incandescent bulb, it will burn your skin if it is in direct contact. The cost is 2 dollars or less which is quite affordable compared with the strength you get.
- LED – is a light emitting diode that gets the light solely due to electrons that move through a semiconductor material. This kind of system is called electroluminescence. The wattage is 10, and it can last 15 000- 30 000 h but unlike other lights due to a different way of transmitting the light, it doesn’t cause any burns, and the heat is minimal, not to mention the energy saving you’ll get plus it lasts longer than. The cost is from 3 dollars to 6 dollars.
You could already guess that LED exceeds the needs of consumers even though it is a bit more expensive compared to the rest of them, but it is worth it. It doesn’t need as much energy as it is made in a different way. Since the heat is much lower you won’t have to worry about your kids hurting or burning themselves if they get up during the night or if you have to check up on them. It is essential, however, to keep in mind that led lights that are used for nightlight to use smaller diodes so, the strength and their life capacity is lower than average (approximately 1000-3000).
Actually, the nightlights that are electroluminescence based do not contain a light bulb at all. The light is produced when the material reacts to the flow of the electrical current that it is attached to.
In the early production the nightlight had a switch to turn it on and off, but nowadays you can get various types. For example, you can get those that contain sensors that turn on as soon as they sense motion or the ones that have a built-in timer so you can set up the time you want it to turn on and off automatically.
We should also mention that most nightlights are not bed-friendly so it is not recommendable to let kids sleep with them.
Here are the types of nightlights that consumers found the most practical:
- The ones that are portable – Like the title already says, the practicality of this source of light is that you can take it anywhere and everywhere since it runs on batteries so, it can be recharged easily. On the downside, the availability is limited, and the price is a bit higher than average. The lowest price is around 10 dollars, and it can go up to 40 dollars.
- The ones that are plug-in based – Usually the association with a nightlight is this system, and logically we should ‘plug it’ into some electrical outlet. The great thing about this type is that it is highly accessible meaning that more often than not you can find it in your local shop and at an affordable price (up to 10 dollars or lower). On the downside, it is necessary to be connected to an outlet, and if you use an incandescent type of light, it might damage textile materials due to high heat.
- The ones that are tabletop models – These are great if you want a light to stand on your nightstand or close to your bed. You can get ones that come with their own stand, lampshade, and pullcord or the ones that just stand alone. It can be connected to an electrical outlet or draw energy from batteries, depending on your needs/preferences. Due to these factors, it could be a great choice of reading light for kids instead of a typical tabletop lamp. Also, the price and availability are consumer friendly since the price can be found for less than 20 dollars and you can easily buy it in the usual shops. On the downside, depending on the softness of light, it can disrupt your or child’s sleep cycle, and it might be necessary to use electric outlet depending on the model.
- The ones that work as a projector – This system is great if your kids like to fall asleep with soothing images since it provides just that. The images can be chosen depending on the model, and it can be projected on the ceiling or wall. Also, you can find baby nightlight projector with soothing music to help your little ones fall asleep easier and faster. The price range is lower than 20 dollars. The only downside is that sometimes images might not be visible if the projector is located too close or too far.
- The ones that are built in toys – The big perk of this nightlight is the security. Since the light is built in the stuffed toy, it gives kids who are scared of dark maximum comfort so they can get a good night sleep. Guess what? It is the only model that is made especially for newborns and infants, so, it is bed friendly, and it runs on batteries. Of course, with this kind of advantage, there is a price to be paid. So, the downside is that the cost is higher compared to others ranging from 20 dollars to 40 dollars and the availability is limited.
Our Picks for Best Nightlights
Multi – Color Nightlight by Maxxima – The Best Value
The great thing about this product is that it has multi-functions as well as the price range that is pretty affordable. They offer two products for around 11 dollars. Also, what makes it practical is that it uses LED bulbs and it can last around 100 000 h. Maxxima’s Multi-Color Nightlight produces light in white colors, red and blue and it’s very easy to use because, on the front of the nightlight, you have a switch that can be used for turning the light on and off as well as changing the colors.
Some research says that the most soothing light is the red one and it doesn’t give any negative impact. It is light that is soft enough for your kids but bright enough for you to be able to move around, but it might be a problem if you prefer to have more light. That is why you have other colors to solve this problem.
Also, what is cool about it is that it offers sensors that are automatic and unless another source of light appears it will stay turned on. Due to its practical size, it is an excellent choice for people who want to use it in hallways. You can be assured that all three options for color, would help your kids feel less scared and more comfortable to fall asleep.
Maxxima offers a warranty of one year in case something happens to your nightlight.
- People who have newborns and toddlers
- People whose house has hallways that are really dark
- People who have someone in their family who is scared of the dark
- One year warranty
- Uses plugin system
- Variety of light choices
- Automatic sensor nightlight
Gummy Bear Nightlight by Gummygoods – Best portable nightlight
This light will excite your inner child. I don’t know about you but I was a big fan of gummy bear sweets as a kid, and I think kids still love them. So, I was happy to know that somebody else shared that joy and made a gummy bear that you can have and not be tempted to eat them. This light not only is a fun and creative way to embellish your room but it is practical in many ways.
Firstly, it is portable and bed friendly, that means it is completely safe for your kid to carry it around and snuggle with it during the night. It contains a LED light that is built inside of this bear made of rubber, so with the squeeze of his little tummy the light will be activated, and the light is ambient only but that works great cause the bear comes in five colors to choose from – pink, red, purple, blue and green.
Also, if you wish you can hang it on the wall or just put it to stand on your night table.
Secondly, it contains a timer that works in two ways -a timer that is infinite meaning it will stay on unless you squeeze it to turn off, and a timer that lasts 1h and then automatically turns off. These options will work with any needs that your child has.
And lastly (although I’m sure you’ll find many benefits than stated) it comes with a battery – low indicator. Gummy Bear Nightlight will blink twice, and after 30 seconds, you can replace batteries. Since it is a portable nightlight, it runs on two AA batteries only. It is safe for your kids as you need a coin-shaped tool or the coin itself to open the battery compartment. If you want, you can get a port for charging on the wall, but it depends on the model.
Gummygoods offer a warranty of 90 days.
- Kids who prefer a toy-like huggable nightlight
- Newborns and toddlers
- Children who need a bit more time to fall asleep
- Variety of body color choices
- A portable nightlight
- Warranty of 90 days
Slumber Buddies by Summer Infant – The Best Projector Nightlight
The advantage of Slumber Buddies Projector Nightlight is that it doesn’t look like a nightlight at all so you can rest assured that your kids will feel safe next to it. Why do we say that? The design looks just like an ordinary plush toy, but it is not.
It has a plastic shell on the back that has starry shapes engraved, and it projects them when it’s turned on. You have various models like a hippo, bee, elephant, lamb and a butterfly and you can choose between amber nightlight colors, green or blue light. Pretty great range of choices.
In addition to all of that, you have recorded nature sounds and five lullabies: Heart beats, Hush little baby, Frolic Rhodes, Brahm’s lullaby and Babbling Brook. They will make your little ones feel calm even if the outside world is a bit noisy. You also have an option to choose your preferred volume level from the three levels that are available.
If your kid still doesn’t have a fixed sleeping pattern and needs more time before he/she hits the dreamland, no need to worry this projector nightlight contains an automatic shut off program that will shut down in 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes or 60 minutes.
Unfortunately, the lights cannot be manually changed if they stop working, but you don’t have to worry as Summer Infant offers one year warranty. It is portable, bed-friendly, and it uses three AAA batteries. This plush nightlight weighs only one pound, so it is pretty light to any child (of course newborns are the exception).
- Newborns and toddlers who have trouble falling asleep
- Active kids who want to play in the middle of the night (it will be entertaining enough for them to fall asleep to)
- Children who like to listen to lullabies before sleep
- Variety of models and light choices
- Variety of lullabies
- One year warranty
- Portable nightlight
The Rest by Hatch Baby – The Most Innovative Nightlight
If you are interested in a new gadget and find typical nightlights boring, look no further this nightlight can be controlled by –wait for it- your phone and you don’t need to be in the room to do it. It is a great way to adjust settings how you want without disrupting your kids’ sleep while you enter their room.
They understand that most parents of very young children can’t get enough of sleep so that is why they designed a nightlight that will promote healthy circadian rhythm and production of melatonin. The best thing about this product is how customizable it is. There are a variety of colors, patterns and sounds to choose from and you can adjust all of it from brightness to hues and the volume. Also, you get a free app to do all that with. If you feel like you need a decorative nightlight, it is good to know that you can even accessorize it how you want with coverlets that have interesting and creative patterns and they are sold in the set of three. If you suddenly want to make some additional changes after you finish accessorizing but worry that everything you did will be lost, you will be glad to hear that you can save multiple favorite settings.
One consumer recommended that you should try to help kids learn which color is their cue to get up, as it will save you the trouble of going to their room. It is not only good for parents who have older children to help them gain the sleep and morning routine, but also for new moms who struggle with breastfeeding, providing soothing sounds to help your little ones feel safe and more comfortable during their feeding time.
Because Hatch Baby Rest uses high technology, this would be a good choice for people who are willing to expand their budget to enjoy the privileges that go with it, and they offer one year warranty.
- Newborns and toddlers
- Kids who are scared of the dark
- Kids who like to fall asleep to the sound of the white noise machine
- High-tech system and design
- Unique nightlight with an app control system
- Warranty of one year
VAVA Baby Nightlight by VAVA – Our Editor’s Choice
Is a cute egg-shaped nightlight that produces very soft light and it is very convenient, especially for babies. But don’t let that simple design fool you, it uses just as much of high technology as the previous model, in a different way. The use is pretty simple – if you wish to adjust the softness tap at the top and hold it to change, to change the light color click on the logo and to turn it off just double tap on it. VAVA Baby Nightlight also contains a one-hour timer that you can activate by tapping twice on the logo.
The light contains a bulb that is an eye-friendly LED of three-watt, that way it won’t have a blue light effect and it will not disrupt your kids’ sleep. If you charge the battery for three hours, it can last 80h, and since it uses the rechargeable battery, it comes with charging base and USB cable. Baby nightlight is made of a material that is resistant to shock and waterproof so you can even take it when camping and hang it somewhere and adjust the light that is to your liking.
- Newborns, young kids, and toddlers
- Parents who like camping
- Mothers who are breastfeeding
- The light that is yellow
- Mode for breastfeeding and a timer
- People who like tabletop types
- Controls that are touch sensitive
Now that we covered those aspects, we should not forget these few tips:
Safety Measures and Nightlights
How to avoid the risk of fire – If the model that you use contains bulb that is CFL or incandescent it can cause a fire if it is close to something that is flammable due to the production of high heat. It is not common, but the best way to prevent it is to:
- set your nightlight somewhere that is not close to carpet, curtains or touching the bed.
- not put a material that is flammable over the nightlight
- avoid overheating by using bulbs that have a lower wattage
How to avoid poisoning – Inform yourself if the nightlight that you are using contains a toxic material called methylene chloride, so in case it breaks you should throw it away in a manner that is safe to prevent fatal consequences if it is in direct contact with the skin or inhaled.
How to avoid electric shock – In case it is not specified otherwise on the model, most nightlights are not intended to stay outdoors due to the risk of them getting wet that applies to closed damped areas like a patio with pool or hot tubs, even garages and it should never be plugged on electricity when outdoors.
Important factors to consider before your purchase:
Before making any decision, it would be very useful to check out these tips when you are comparing models and brands to make sure you get the best deal for your needs.
- Cost – Make sure you determine a budget before searching and inform yourself what would be the most reasonable cost that you would pay for a bulb or nightlight because some nightlights can cost up to 40 dollars or lower.
- Nightlight bulb types – This pretty much depends on your budget if you want a lower price option or a safer option. The CFL and incandescent bulbs are cheap, but they heat up quickly and may cause damage if you are not careful. On the other hand, LED bulbs are very safe and last longer, but they are pricy. If you are looking for a compromise, nightlights that are electroluminescence are the right choice since the price is fair and they don’t contain bulbs at all.
- The size of the nightlight – General information of the nightlight dimensions, including the weigh and shape, will help you determine if it will work well with the space that you envisioned it with but also pay attention to the position of the outlets.
- Nightlight lifespan – On average most night lights last from 7-10 years depending on the price of the model and their warranty. Usually, the models that have higher price use materials that make the nightlight more durable so if you decide to buy the cheapest model you might have to replace it often, and the total cost would surpass the cost of a higher quality nightlight. So, think twice before you make a purchase.
- Charging methods of a nightlight – Depends on a model but here is an important thing to consider. Go to your child’s room and check for the outlet locations. If you find that the only outlet location is next to the bed, it might not be very wise to use the plugin night light since it has a higher chance of setting a fire. A safer choice would be to use the nightlight that requires batteries.
- Nightlight and sensor – Nowadays most of them are motion sensor nightlights that get activated as a person enters a room and they have an automatic on and off daylight sensor that is activated and deactivated depending on the day. If you prefer a manual setup, you can still find some of them although they are not as common as they were in the past.
- Light emission – The most recommended choice is a nightlight that has a red light emission because the white and the blue light even though brighter interrupt the production of melatonin that helps your child sleep better.
- Warranty coverage – Most depend on the model some doesn’t have a warranty at all while others can go up to ten years, but the usual warranty is no longer than one year.
The Good and the Bad Sides of Nightlight
Most products have pros and cons and after a long time of comparing and doing research to give you the latest information we concluded that there are many benefits to using nightlight and there is only one downside to its usage. We encourage you to compare and decide for yourself.
Disruption of the sleep is minimal – The key to a good quality nightlight is the softness of the light. The best nightlights usually use electroluminescence or LED lights that create the best softness of the light for perfect melatonin stimulation the brighter the light the opposite effect gets stronger. It is not only great for your kids but for you as a parent as well, so you can get right back on the sleep track after you finish checking up on your kid compared to bright lights that make you more awake than you are in the mornings.
High visibility – You might think – “The point of the nightlight is to make the visibility only for the necessary movements, not the other way around” and you do have a point, to some extent. As we talked about in this article, the purpose of the nightlight is for you to be able to move freely without disrupting your sleep pattern on your way to the bed. Also, most of the kids’ rooms are everything but tidy, toys laying everywhere, they somehow ‘magically reappear’ even if you’ve put them back on their place, so if you want to survive back and forth to your room without having Lego stuck under your foot – the nightlight would be a good idea. We recommend to put it where the stairs are for higher safety.
A way to relieve stress – Due to fear of the dark, some kids might feel intense stress and anxiety when they are alone even if the parents are in the room next to theirs. Nightlight will soothe and calm them down and give them a sense of security, so should they wake up during the night, they could return to their dream with ease and in no time.
Expense effective – Since we did discuss the cost of the light bulb and which one would be the best, to understand better how it will affect your financial state, imagine this scenario. Hypothetically, let’s say that your electricity bill is calculated 0.10 dollars per kWh. If you use three light bulbs of seven watts that can last up to 3000h, that would be enough to light up one room for one year. The annual cost would be approximately 20 dollars or less meaning you would spend 6 dollars per bulb.
Light perception – Humans perceive light in wavelengths. The shortest wavelength is violet or purple, longer ones are green, blue, orange, yellow and the longest one is red. The light that is white is a combination of all colors at once since our eye sees all light in wavelength at once.
The production of melatonin– a hormone that helps you have a healthy sleep cycle- is tightly connected to the exposure to light. This hormone is produced when there is little to no light present. Another hormone called cortisol makes you feel alert when your body perceives natural daylight. The light that is colored blue and white trick our brain into thinking it is day time, so our body doesn’t produce enough of melatonin, and naturally that makes falling asleep harder.
The red light, however, was proved to not interfere whatsoever due to its long wavelength. Sadly, most of the nightlights have white or blue light although if the light is soft then it will not cause any trouble for sleep and some models even have adjustable light settings for optimal color and softness. If you have a chance to buy a red nightlight, we strongly encourage you to do so.
+ Bonus Tips for Better Sleep
You could try these tips in addition to using a nightlight, to ensure the best sleep quality for your kids:
- Establish when to go to sleep and when to wake up – On average kids who go to school need around 11h of sleep to feel rested but it is vital to follow natural habits of your child
- Make a routine before bedtime – Kids need to stick to a schedule before it becomes a habit for them. So do the essentials, brush teeth, bathing and other bathroom business. It will help them to prepare mentally that it is bedtime and they should sleep.
- Screening time should be limited – As we mentioned blue light interferes with melatonin production and as we all know most of the electronic devices emit a fair amount of it. If you limit kids time with those devices around two hours before bed and do activities like reading or drawing (paper materials only) it will help them fall asleep faster.
- Regulate room temperature – The temperature of the room should be slightly cooler to help the production of the melatonin.
- No sugar before bed – Avoid food and drinks that contain caffeine and sugar before bed and intake products like dairy, banana, nuts and leafy greens that trigger sleepiness.
- Rocking babies before bed is a no-no – Even though this can have a soothing effect on the child, it can cause a disorder called sleep onset association, later in life. To soothe them it would be a good idea to give them something that will make them feel secure and safe like a doll, plush toy or a blanket (I think we all had our blankie when we were kids so this is a trustworthy method)
Truth to be told, despite all of our efforts some things can be out of our control such as children developing a sleeping disorder, but nothing is lost. Nowadays we have so many articles, researches and studies, so inform and educate yourself about what sleeping disorders are and are not and how to approach them to get the best possible result.
A fashion designer by profession, writer by choice and bookworm – always. As a person struggling with anxiety for years and someone who loves to sleep, I can relate to the struggles of getting a good night’s rest. When I’m not doing sleep research, I enjoy reading books, being involved in creative activities and discovering the best use of my Moka pot.