Having trouble getting your little one to sleep at night? Are you looking for something to help?
There are a lot of things that could be keeping your little one awake. As a parent it can seem like the factors and possibilities are endless — from sleep schedules to bedtime routines, finding a solution can seem complicated.
Sometimes, the thing keeping your child up at night can also be as simple as a fear of the dark — and the best way to combat this is with a night light.
However, not all night lights are created equal, so how do you choose the absolute best one?
Quick ComparisonOur Top Baby Night Light Picks of 2020 Read Full Reviews
What Are Night Light Benefits?
So why invest in a night light? You may wonder if putting money down for such a limited-use light is worth it, but there are actually numerous benefits to adding one of these to your nursery or bedroom.
- Comfort: Can comfort your child if they’re afraid of the dark, helping them to fall asleep more easily.
- Practicality: Makes night time feedings and diaper changes easier.
- Security: Allows you to check on your child at night without having to turn on lights, disturbing their slumber — or yours.
- Safety: Creates a safer environment because you can see your surroundings, reducing accidents. The glow of the light ensures you don’t stub your toe on any crib railings, or step on any toys.
- Cost-efficiency: Some parents try to illuminate their child’s room by leaving a closet or hall light on all night. This may get the job done, but it’s not as practical — night lights use little energy and they won’t run up your electric bill (1).
Types of Baby Night Lights
There are a variety of night lights on the market, each with its own pros and cons.
It can be overwhelming to know what kind you want to purchase — but looking at the different kinds and what they’re best for can help you determine where to put down your money.
- Plug-in: This type of night light plugs right into the wall. Many night lights of this type have built-in sensors that cause them to turn on when the room reaches a certain darkness.
- Projection: A projection night light projects an image onto the wall to keep your little one feeling safe and entertained. A struggle with this type of night light is distance. It needs to be placed appropriately or else the images will seem too small or too blurry.
- Soft: A soft night light is a stuffed animal that has a light inside. These types of night lights are designed to be placed in bed with your baby. It’s important your baby is at least 12 months old — old enough to sleep with a stuffed animal — before choosing to use this light (2). You should also note the light emitted from these may not be enough to allow the parent to have a comfortable line of vision in the dark.
- Portable: A portable night light allows the most freedom in placement. It can be placed anywhere within the room and you don’t have to worry about plugging it into the wall. Many portable lights run off of batteries, but some may be rechargeable via a USB cord.
- Lamp and shade: This type of night light is basically a table lamp. Unless you use a dim bulb, the brightness emitted from this light will be too bright for your little one to sleep comfortably.
- Candle: Some parents still want to use a good old-fashioned candle for a night light. This is extremely dangerous, and is not recommended. If you really want the candle effect, you can choose to buy one of the battery operated flameless candles.
Important Night Light Features
Because there are so many night lights available, it’s important to keep several things in mind before making a purchase.
1. Outlet location
You should locate all the power outlets in your baby’s room and consider the distance from the crib. If your only outlet is right beside the crib, the chances are that light is going to be too bright. If the outlet is far from the crib, the light might be too dim.
In this scenario, you can also choose to buy a portable night light rather than one that plugs in.
2. Desired color
Something as simple as the color of a night light can actually impact the way your baby sleeps.
The color blue, for instance, has been proven to stimulate the mind and boost attention.
The best color for a night light is usually red or orange. These are nature’s reminder of bed time approaching, as they’re often present in sunsets.
Some parents want a night light with a timer because they don’t want the light staying on all night. Most night lights that have timers have the option of not using them, but it’s important you double check just in case you don’t want that timer.
4. Bulb type
You should pay extra attention to what type of bulb is in the light you are buying. Not all lights can be replaced once they burn out. If you want long-term use of your night light, you need to be sure the one you buy has a bulb that can easily be replaced.
You don’t want to buy a light that’s too bright, but you don’t want one that’s too dim either. There is a simple method you can use to determine if a light is emitting too much for your child’s bedroom or nursery.
Wait until it’s dark, and plug in the night light. Place your head close to where your child sleeps, and close your eyes. Rotate your head toward the night light — if you can see the night light through closed eyelids, it’s too bright and might interfere with your child’s sleep.
Red is the color of the bulb you want for a night light- it doesn’t disturb circadian rhythm.
Editor's Note:Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC
Extra Night Light Features
Are you gadget-happy or simplistic? Some parents like to keep it low-key, while others want to buy products with all the special features they can find.
Some night lights come with handy additional features you may want to consider, such as:
- Sound machines.
- Color-changing bulbs.
- Motion sensors.
- Phone-controlled night lights.
- Humidifiers with night lights built in.
The Best Night Lights of 2020
Now that you know what to look for in a night light, it’s time to look at the best and brightest ideas in nursery lighting.
1. Hatch Baby Rest Night Light and Sound Machine
You never know where your adventures with your baby may lead. Having a portable night light makes it much easier for you to quickly adjust to any last-minute changes. If you are on a family vacation, or simply visiting a friend, you will always have the option of keeping some normalcy in your little one’s life with your portable night light.
If you are hoping to find a sound machine that has a lot to offer, this one has many features. This sound machine can be customized and it can even grow with your child.
This night light and sound machine is designed with sleep in mind. It uses light colors that have been scientifically proven to promote healthy circadian rhythms and melatonin production. The combination of these two items help promote uninterrupted sleep.
A great benefit of this nightlight is that it can be fully customized or programmed. Not to mention, you can do all of this using your smartphone.
As your child grows, his or her needs change. You can start using this light to provide a soft glow for middle-of-the-night feedings or diaper changes, and then utilize the feature that alerts your little one when it is okay to get out of bed in the morning.
- Can be programmed to turn on automatically.
- Offers a variety of colors and sounds.
- Includes toddler lock feature.
- Some users believed the light was too bright.
- The app may not load properly on everyone’s phone.
- Some users noted the sound stopped shortly after purchasing.
2. VAVA Lamp for Feeding
If you have been struggling to see when feeding your baby, or if the light you are using is too bright, a feeding night light may be a savior. This type of night light is bright enough for you to see what you are doing, but not too bright that it tricks your body into thinking it is day time.
Night time feedings can be tricky all on their own, but having a subtle light can help make the process a little bit easier.
This VAVA light was designed with breastfeeding in mind. It has simple one-hand touch controls so you can operate it while holding your baby.
There is actually a designated feeding mode that causes the light to brighten just enough for you to see your baby and nurse or bottle feed, without waking the both of you up too much.
This light also can be put into timer mode, so if you are hoping to use this to provide your little one with some light before he or she drifts off to sleep you can do so.
If you need a little more brightness in the room you can toggle between a soft white and a brighter yellow light. This way you can utilize the same light for nightly diaper changes.
- Convenient charging base.
- One-hour timer.
- Indoor and outdoor use.
- Able to provide increased brightness for outdoor use.
- Some users said their product would not hold a charge.
- Only comes with USB cable, not wall outlet.
3. VAVA Nursery Night Light
It may seem strange to buy a night light for a newborn when they have been encapsulated in the darkness of your womb. The truth is, your newborn may find comfort with the light. Not only could you potentially comfort your newborn, but you will benefit from the light.
Newborns are still trying to adapt to the new world around them and sometimes a little bit of light can set them at ease. This nursery night light is great for newborns because the LED lights involved are safe for even the smallest eyes. Some night lights use bulbs that can cause damage to the eyes and the highest brightness of this light is still safe for newborns.
Moms can benefit from this light as well because it can help guide the way for those late night feedings and diaper changes. Newborns require a lot of nightly attention and it always helps a sleepy mom to have a little bit of light in the dark.
You can control the brightness of this light, which is an awesome feature because sometimes you may need more light during a diaper change and less light during a feeding. Bright lights can trick both mom’s and baby’s brains into thinking it is time to get up for the day, so the less light the better.
This light doesn’t have to hit the attic once your child is out of the newborn phase — it is made to be durable and withstand the harsh handling of a toddler.
- Easy control touch.
- Waterproof for outdoor activities.
- Battery can last up to 80 hours on a lower mode.
- Some buyers had trouble charging the product.
4. VTech Baby Critters Soothing Starlight
A night light is great to illuminate the room, but a great night light will also soothe your baby. There are many different strategies you can use to help soothe your little one, but nothing is quite as successful as a night light that uses wall projections and sound.
This little critter is an adorable companion that has a variety of features to help comfort and soothe your little one.
This cuddly hippo can not only serve as a simple night light, but it can also project a starry night upon your baby’s ceiling. It has projection abilities, and it also can play soothing tunes, nature sounds, and more.
This light helps comfort your little one with its combination of lights and sounds. A unique feature of this hippo is that it responds to your baby’s cries and can turn on in response.
The parent-friendly volume and timer controls let you choose how loud and long the sounds play, so you are in control of your baby’s exposure.
- Volume control that can be adjusted to meet your baby’s needs.
- Four colorful lights that project a starry night onto your baby’s ceiling.
- Voice activated to respond to baby’s cry.
- Timer switch that can play 10-, 20-, or 30-minutes.
- Some users noted the music skipped.
- Parents said the sounds skip around between songs rather than playing one entirely.
5. MyBaby Sounds and Projection
Some babies may not be fully comforted by the light projection only. Night lights with the added feature of a sound machine are a great option in helping keep your little one content. The combination of audio-visual stimuli for babies may help soothe them to sleep better than a sound machine or a projection night light alone.
Babies require all kinds of stimulation and sometimes parents are too exhausted to give it. Many babies will respond well to a stimulating environment, and mom and dad aren’t the only ones who have to create it.
The MyBaby SoundSpa Lullaby Sounds and Projection offers your baby a wide variety of stimulation that may just buy you some added zzz’s in the night. The sound spa lets you choose between soothing sounds and classic lullabies for your little one.
Babies actually aren’t very fond of silence, so a little background noise can go a long way.
You can take the auditory stimulation to another level by including some visual stimuli. A traditional night light is intriguing for some babies, but projected images seem to capture their attention longer.
This sound spa also comes with one image disk with three diverse scenes. The device can play music, project images, or simultaneously do both of them.
An auto-off timer is also included so you can determine the duration of the sound spas features.
Many sound machines and projectors can be big and bulky for at-home use only. This device is compact and durable, and small enough to fit into a diaper bag.
- Three soothing sounds and songs.
- Three images for picture projection.
- Timer for 15-, 30- ,45-,or 60-minutes.
- Auto shut off after 3 hours.
- Some users complained that it wasn’t loud enough.
- There is no “off” button.
6. Bubzi Co Baby Sleep Aid Night Light
Some babies respond best to night lights that are disguised as stuffed animals. It is much more fun for your baby to have a night light that can also double as a fluffy companion.
Sometimes your baby needs a trusty sidekick and you unfortunately have too many other things to accomplish before engaging in cuddles. This trusty plush toy can help offer your little one that comfort and support he or she craves — make sure not to put it in your child’s crib because that’s a safety no-no.
You can choose the music your little one listens to whether you want it to be lullabies, white noise, a heartbeat, or a combination of all of these. You simply push the button to initiate the music and 30 minutes later it will automatically shut off so you don’t have to creep in on a sleeping baby.
Your baby might be intrigued by the beautiful and comforting night lights that are projected onto their wall by the Soothing Sleep Owl. With just a press of a button, your baby’s ceiling can turn into a sky constellation that helps captivate your little one.
You can take this hand-washable trusty companion anywhere because it is battery operated. Your little one can enjoy this owl’s company from a stroller, car seat, and pack and play — as long as you are there to supervise.
- Plays 10 different lullabies.
- Five different volume settings.
- Velcro straps secure it in place.
- Money from every purchase is donated to Postpartum Moms International.
- Automatically turns off after 30 minutes.
- The batteries don’t last long.
7. Starry Night Baby Mobile Night Light
Sometimes parents prefer not to keep their babies in a totally dark room. What better way to incorporate a nightlight than through the already sought after baby mobile? This combination makes parents’ job a little easier and provides your baby with a nighttime distraction they can see.
If you are trying to find a sleeping solution for your little one that creates a soothing environment, and not a completely distracting one — this mobile is a good option.
You will get some solid features with this product, including music and a night light. This night light takes it a step further and also allows the possibility of projecting images onto the ceiling.
The universal attachment eases your worry this mobile may not fit on your crib. It is designed to fit almost all modern-day cribs.
Once your child outgrows the need for a mobile, this can become a table lamp or night light. It is great knowing a short-term investment can last much longer.
- It has mobile soother and nightlight modes to grow with baby and help him or her sleep.
- Mobile includes three adorable toys and a removable canopy.
- Plays nine tunes for musical enjoyment up to 30 minutes.
- Projects moon and star images onto the ceiling or the canopy.
- Requires four batteries.
- Toys are made of cloth, so they are difficult to hand wash.
- Toys do not move or spin.
Night Light Safety Precautions
As with all things baby, it’s important you educate yourself on the safety hazards of night lights so you can protect your little one, while still enjoying the benefits.
Here are some tips to ensure everyone in the household stays safe while using night lights.
- Keep out of reach: If your night light has small parts, make sure your little one is not able to reach it. Many night lights contain choking hazards that could pose a threat. Keep it away from the crib.
- Watch for cords: Be extra cautious of cords that could cause suffocation, or cords and outlets that could cause electrocution.
- Remember fire safety: Some night lights tend to get hot, and this could potentially lead to a fire. Keep an eye out for product recalls in case your night light makes the recall list.
The Bottom Line
Our top pick is the – Hatch Baby Night Light and Sound Machine. This night light becomes a great ‘OK to wake’ light for children learning day from night, it helps your child know when it’s ok to get up in the morning by changing the color of the light at a specified time.
It is an investment worth making because it has features that let it adapt and change with your child. You can start using this with your newborn and continue using it once your little one is out of the toddler stage.
The fact that this can be remotely controlled by your phone is also another great plus. You have many color options and sounds to choose from, and they are all conveniently accessible.
There is nothing better than getting two useful products in one, and that is what this night light/sound machine has to offer.
Let us know what night lights you prefer for your little one in the comments section below!