Buying Guide for Night Lights for Kids
Why buy a children’s night light?
Night lights are fantastic whether you’re a parent to an infant, toddler, or older child. Especially during the baby stage, overnight feedings are a routine part of life for quite a while. So, a soft light that allows you to see what you’re doing without disturbing your little one is critical. Meanwhile, once you have a toddler ready to sleep in their own bed, they might find a night light comforting—especially if they have reservations about sleeping alone. And we can’t ignore that everyone benefits from soft lighting for those late-night bathroom runs. Ultimately, night lights are great products to have for several years and several reasons.
What should you look for in a night light?
- Safety: Anytime you buy children’s products, safety should be your top concern. Always ensure that any gadget or toy you buy isn’t on recall lists with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Likewise, modern night lights that rely on LEDs should be cool to the touch, especially if they’re marketed as night lights your child can keep in their bed. Also, ensure that your preferred night light has safety features to prevent overheating. Note that if you invest in a night light that plays music or sounds, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended maximum sound output is 50 decibels.
- Color and Brightness: These days, many night lights come with adjustable colors and brightness settings. This can even include toggle features to rotate through colors. As a general rule, you should avoid blue or green light settings for bedtime because these can delay sleep and impact natural sleep rhythms. Red lighting is considered the best option because it’s not known to impact our circadian rhythms. But don’t forget to look for brightness adjustments. When you’re attempting to build a sleep schedule with a baby, having a mostly dark room is preferred to a bright room that signals they should still be awake.
- Sounds, Music, and Smells: Unlike adult night lights for reading or working that are made for function only, children’s night lights often come packed with add-on features that an adult might not think would matter. But white noise functions, lullabies, and even aromatherapy are all upgrades you can find. Some children struggle to sleep in a completely quiet room, so music or white noise can be a good distraction to help them unwind. Similarly, diffuser or aromatherapy features can be nice to create a calming environment. Again, make sure that if you’re using an aromatherapy-based night light, it’s designed with safety features to prevent burns and fire or to prevent little hands from accessing critical electrical components that could cause injury.
- Power: These days, night lights can be battery-powered, USB rechargeable, or plug-in models. Regardless of the model, make sure that ports are secured and not easily accessible or that if traditional batteries are used, children can’t easily open the case.
- Design: There are traditional models that plug into walls or sit on tables to softer versions that can be in your child’s bed. There are even 3D night light options to entertain and soothe your kids. The choice is ultimately yours. However, for infants up to 12 months of age, please follow the AAP’s safe sleep ABC guidelines—Alone, on their Back, and in the Crib. Never leave anything in your baby’s crib while they’re sleeping, including blankets, stuffed animals, crib bumpers, and yes, night lights. While crib-safe night lights can be attached to the railing on the exterior of the crib, leaving anything besides a fitted sheet on your child’s mattress inside the crib can pose a suffocation risk.
Should you gradually reduce exposure to a child’s night light?
Over time, night lights can affect your child’s production of melatonin and negatively affect their sleep. This can lead to other health and behavioral issues. That’s why it’s best to reduce the exposure over time by dimming lights, moving them farther away, or using hallway lights until your child is comfortable sleeping without a night light.
Our Picks for the Best Night Lights for Kids
Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine and Night Light
The ultimate device in nighttime baby gear.
Pros: Unless you no longer have babies in your home, you know that the Hatch night light and sleep machine is an award-winning solution that parents, baby experts, and everyone in between rave about. This Bluetooth-enabled device allows you to control settings remotely, meaning you don’t have to be in your child’s room to create the perfect light and color environment inside. This LED-powered night light also includes a sound machine, time to rise alert, brightness and color controls, and a volume level. And it has the companion Hatch app that works on iPhones and Androids.
Cons: If you’re not a fan of fancy contraptions, you may find the functionality in this night light a bit overwhelming, along with the associated price tag. And while this isn’t a deal-breaker, it relies on corded power versus USB recharging.
Bottom Line: Create a nighttime routine that sends your little ones off to dreamland with this high-tech night light that doubles as a sound machine and morning alarm. Little ones love the calming glow. And this light is great for nighttime safety as well.
AUVON Plug-in LED Motion Sensor Night Light
This energy-saving night light can help kids ease down to sleep without having a light blaring all night.
Pros: This automatic night light uses smart sensors to detect movement in the darkness, switching on automatically and lighting your way for a total of 60 seconds after the last movement has been registered. Then it turns off again, reducing unnecessary power consumption. These motion-sensor night lights can save up to 84% on your energy consumption compared to those without motion sensors. And they come in three different colors: cool white, warm white, and E green. Each light comes with two brightness levels that you can set according to your needs. And you can even choose to keep them on with their on, off, or auto switch. Plus, they’re durable, safe, and come with long-lasting bulbs.
Cons: The off switch is not conveniently located on the night light.
Bottom Line: These automatic night lights offer just enough light for safety in hallways, restrooms, or kids’ bedrooms. They work as intended, and they don’t overheat or cause safety issues. They’re overall a great product for the price.
Munchkin Shhh Portable Baby Sleep Soother Sound Machine and Night Light
This portable night light and sound machine combo is perfect for families on the go.
Pros: This adorable night light and sound machine is battery-powered, so it can travel with you anywhere. It helps to calm little ones with shushing, heartbeat, or white noise sounds that babies love. Easy 3D icon buttons make it easy to find and adjust sound, volume, and light controls, even in the dark. This night light can glow solid or pulse in sync with your baby’s favorite sound effects. It has a shut-off timer for 10, 20, or 30 minutes to conserve battery life. It takes two A.A. batteries that lock away for safety yet are easy enough for parents to change when needed.
Cons: There is only one choice for the light color. Also, it does not continually run, so you need to check it and turn it back on after 30 minutes.
Bottom Line: This shushing sound machine helps babies calm and fall asleep. And because it’s portable, you can use it to calm your little ones anywhere. Unlike some other shushing machines, this one offers a light and is easy to turn on with one hand.
LittleHippo Mella Ready to Rise Children's Sleep Trainer
This adorable night light and alarm clock duo is perfect for teaching young children how to get enough sleep.
Pros: It can be frustrating when your child won’t stay in bed at night, so this night light and sleep timer combo can be a total game changer. It is the #1 most backed kid’s clock, and it’s designed to keep your kid in bed longer. It’s a sleep trainer, alarm clock, sleep sounds machine, night light, and nap timer rolled into one adorable package. It comes in a variety of fun colors, and the lights and facial expressions change to express appropriate sleep time and playtime. It has an alarm, a clock face, a night light, and sleep sounds to help your kiddo sleep.
Cons: The light may be a bit too bright for some.
Bottom Line: This alarm clock is a great tool for helping little ones understand when they should be sleeping and when they should be awake. The night light portion lets off plenty of light, perfect for kids who are afraid of the dark, but perhaps a bit too bright for troubled sleepers. Overall, it’s a great product with a ton of useful functions for frustrated parents.
LumiPets Puppy Dog, Kids Night Light
With color changing lights, this adorable puppy night light can help soothe your child to sleep.
Pros: This chargeable night light offers nine different soft colors that change with a remote or by tapping the pet, and it also offers a carousel effect of different colored lights that your child will love. It’s easy to charge with a USB plug, and one charge can last up to 12 hours, so your child can fall asleep with their pet and wake up with their light still lit. The outer layer “pet” is squishy and perfect for cuddling. And if you prefer to save the battery, there are auto-off options on the easy-to-use remote.
Cons: It’s easy for kids to separate the outer pet layer from the light. Also, it’s fairly easy for little ones to break the remote.
Bottom Line: This night light (though it can separate) is pretty unbreakable, though it’s probably best to keep the remote away from very small children. Overall, it’s great. It’s cute, cuddly, colorful, and completely portable.
GE Color-Changing LED Night Light
Perfect for hallways and bathrooms, this night light has an auto-off function.
Pros: With a dusk-to-dawn sensor, this plug-in night light is perfect for illuminating dark rooms or hallways at night while saving you money on your electric bills. This light features eight vibrant colors to choose from: red, green, blue, pink, orange, purple, yellow, and teal. And there are three lighting modes that allow you to choose a solid color, a cycle of changing colors, or a soft white light. Sleek and compact, this light is designed to save space and keep your second outlet available for use. Plus, this night light is certified as safe, cool to the touch, UL-Certified, designed in the U.S., and offered by a trusted brand name.
Cons: Since this night light is on the brighter side, it’s probably better for a larger room or area than for a smaller one. It does not have a motion sensor.
Bottom Line: This bright and sleek night light comes in a few different, fun designs that kids and adults will love. The castle and tree designs are unique and match popular kid’s room decor. And this light is long-lasting, safe, and durable.
It’s no secret that night lights are a popular addition to a child’s room. From complex models that allow for remote Bluetooth operation to simple tap-to-change-color models that are truly kid-friendly, there’s no reason to interrupt bedtime because a little one is afraid of the dark.