Before you had kids, you probably didn’t give the nighttime light levels in your home a second thought, other than perhaps a bathroom nightlight for the occasional 3 a.m. visit. But unfortunately babies, toddlers and even older kids often need your attention well into the evening, and stumbling around in the dark can just make the whole situation more stressful. Plus, some kids need some form of light before they can relax enough to drift off.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, newborns need 14-17 hours of sleep. Infants require 12-15 hours of sleep, toddlers should get 11-14 hours of sleep, and pre-schoolers should load up on 10-13 hours of sleep.
See more: Best Sleep Training Clocks
A well-placed nightlight can help ease fears of falling asleep, or cast just the right amount of glow for a feeding session or diaper change. These are the best night lights out there.
This reptile pal projects the night sky on the ceiling for 45 minutes (with a choice of blue, green or amber lighting) before shutting off automatically.
Pros: It’s cute, soothing and even big kids and grown-ups enjoy it. (One parent said her 11-year–old begged for one after seeing her little brother’s.)
Cons: The 45-minute shut-off may frighten some kids—parents wished there was an option to leave it on all night. And there’s also the problem that it’s so cool and fun, your little one may be overly excited in his bed, rather than relaxed.
This smartphone-compatible option from Hatch is a white noise machine, nightlight and OK to wake clock rolled into one gadget.
Pros: Not only is it sleek and attractive, you can change the color, white-noise sound option and volume level all from the app, and even set it to turn, say, blue at 7 am, letting your toddler know she can get out of bed. And speaking of toddlers, there’s a lock function, so your little one can’t mess with the settings you’ve chosen.
Cons: All of this functionality doesn’t come cheap. Some parents also reported that it can easily become unplugged, and that the app can be wonky.
One Fatherly editor swears by this night light, which lights up your toilet. It has a built-in motion sensor that illuminates the room when you enter and shuts off when you leave.
Pros: Kids who are potty-trained may need a little extra illumination when they go to the bathroom during the night. This motion-activated toilet night light has 16 colors, so kids can pick their favorite one.
Cons: Well, it goes into your toilet, which isn’t for everyone.
The basic plug-in nightlight has gotten jujed up with the addition of 16 color choices, as well as the carousel setting, which cycles through each hue. Thanks to a smart sensor, the lights turn on and off automatically based on the available light in the room.
Pros: Parents reported that kids loved selecting their favorite color, and also found the carousel option soothing. And the design leaves the other half of the outlet available for another plug.
Cons: Overall there were very few negative reviews, but some buyers complained that they stopped working or buzzed while plugged in, and others said they weren’t bright enough for, say, walking down a dark hallway.
Like the Night Buds, these plug-in lights have built-in sensors that enables them to turn on in the dark.
Pros: With more than 3,000 five-star reviews, these lights got props for being affordable and reliable. People raved about their “minimalist lines,” “compact design” (which left the other half of the outlet available for another device) and “nice,
Cons: Some customers mentioned that their lights either arrived defective, or stopped working after a few months.
Dimmable, rechargeable and (obviously) adorable, this light has a lot going for it.
Pros: The light is made from toy-grade silicone and can be recharged using the included USB cable. The manufacturer claims that the battery life ranges from 8 hours (on the brightest setting) to 300 (at the dimmest). Bonus: There’s nothing like a super-cute baby animal to help ease nighttime anxiety.
Cons: There might be some lemons in the batch—some parents reported nightlights that randomly went from dim to bright, turned off unexpectedly during the night (thus freaking out their child) or wouldn’t hold a charge.
Amber bulbs are all the rage these days, and according to manufacturer Lighting Science, these can support the body's production of the sleep hormone melatonin, thus helping your little one stay asleep longer. (Everybody wins!)
Pros: You’ve already bought about 10,000 things for your new baby—this bulb is affordable and works with the lamp you already have.
Cons: It’s bright enough to read by, so some parents felt it was too jarring for a middle-of-the-night diaper change. Some reviewers also said the bulb started flickering after a short time.
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