Why are the 7 best night lights for kids essential for a restful night's sleep?

The 7 best night lights for children!

Daycare with bright night light

Night lights have been around for almost a century, and they're not just for soothing children's nighttime fears. When you first bring your baby home, you will feed and change your newborn around the clock. It's hard enough on your sleep schedule, but turning on a bright light to go about your business late at night is not only confusing, it can disrupt your entire sleep cycle. That's where kids' night lights come in, which illuminate the room with a soft, delicate glow so you can see what you're doing without straining your eyes at night.

A few years later, you might find that your little one is moving around - whether it's to go to the bathroom, get a glass of water, or climb into your bed if he's afraid of the dark. Fortunately, the monsters in the closet or under the bed are no match for a comforting night light for children . Keep reading for expert advice on what to look for in a kids' night light , plus some of our favorite recommendations on the market.

What to look for in a Children's Night Light

There are many night lights for children on the market today, but before we move on to our recommendations for the best of the best, we wanted to offer some quick tips for navigating the purchase of a night light , pediatric sleep consultant, doctor in clinical and forensic psychology and future mother of three children.

“As a sleep consultant, I recommend total darkness for optimal, restful sleep,” says DeBear . "Bright lights are more distracting than helpful, and artificial lights can interfere with natural melatonin production. So, I always recommend avoiding baby night lights for sleep, especially for babies!" That being said, when the toddler years come, fears associated with the dark may materialize, and if your child is asking for a night light to help ease their worries, this may very well be a good idea.

Just make sure you don't use a night light as a crutch to temporarily solve the problem. “Again, if a child is afraid of the dark and asks for a night light , then go for it!” DeBear said. “But understanding the root of fear and discussing worries and concerns are usually more helpful steps, because it helps us better understand what our children are actually afraid of (perhaps a show they watched or from a book they read)." This also goes for separation anxiety, which can occur much earlier than nighttime fears, sometimes as repeated episodes after 9 months of age, DeBear says. Promoting a consistent bedtime ritual (a bath, a bedtime story, a lullaby, cuddles, etc.) and maintaining a calm, nighttime environment generally helps calm separation anxiety in babies. In other words, approach the need for a night light with caution.

night light planet gif

Here are a few other things to keep in mind if you want to add a kids' night light to their bedtime routine.

The night light must be:

  • Safe . Safety is always important, but especially "if your child is out of the crib," DeBear cautions. “The entire room – and house – needs to be toddler-proof now that they have full access.” So, when it comes to a night light , you'll definitely want to consider cords (which pose the risk of strangulation or injury if pulled down) and heat. The best options are cordless, cordless, and temperature-neutral to the touch.
  • Conducive to sleep . When DeBear meets new parents who want better, more substantial sleep, she is quick to say that "newborns will sleep (and wake) whether the night light is on or not, but it can really interfere with parents getting these restful bits of sleep when possible." Understandably, for those exhausting, sleep-deprived first months, she recommends getting a portable night light that can be tapped, providing a soothing glow when needed (like during nighttime feedings or diaper changes) and turned off when needed. it's not the case.
  • Well positioned . The "purpose of the night light is to provide some illumination for a child who might be afraid of the dark, so we don't want it to be somewhere that might actually wake them up from a sleep cycle," says DeBear. This means that it should not be placed/positioned anywhere it might shine directly into their eyes or wake them from a deep sleep.
  • Soothing (non-stimulating) . Dark red and yellow light bulbs that don't disrupt our natural production of melatonin (the hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycles) are best, while blue and green light are extremely disruptive, notes DeBear. And you'll want to "keep the lights dim, because when one of us is in light sleep and transitioning into a new sleep cycle, we don't want the light to pull us out of that transition."

plush unicorn projector

Should you buy a night light projector?

If the night light is used to allay fears of the dark, it "should not be the focal point of the room and should not add stimulation to the bedtime process," notes DeBear. She recommends refraining from twinkling lights or stars projected on the ceiling, as the distraction/stimulation can keep your little one awake even longer, or worse, "kids may fixate on what they see in the dark , and shadows can cause even more distress or worry."

On the other hand, a great 2-in-1 product that combines a soft, non-harsh glow with white/brown noise to "keep distracting noises out of the room so your little one can stay asleep" can be a game-changer.

Best Night Lights for Kids

While DeBear isn't convinced that night lights for kids are always "the ultimate best answer," she thinks they can be a great idea if your child has been asking for one and wants to try! We've rounded up some of our favorites to match his pediatric sleep best practices. Whether you need one to get around in the middle of the night or to relax your little one who is resistant to falling asleep, these picks are cute, innovative, and sleep-friendly. Your entire family is about to enjoy the best rest ever - in style, of course!

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How We Chose the Best Night Lights for Kids

These days, there are so many toys, stuffed animals, and sleep solutions marketed as "comfort items" for young children that it can be really difficult to choose which among them is the best - the true when it comes to calming their nerves and promoting the best possible sleep patterns for their health. To simplify your purchasing decisions with night lights for kids , we do most of the research for you, so you don't have to spend hours scrolling through online retailers. We considered the size, portability, light color, sound offerings, price, and most importantly, safety of each light competitor, comparing notes with a pediatric sleep expert. We also read user reviews to get insight into how well these night lights work for families, never considering anything less than an average four-star rating.

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