Are Nightlights Good for Children?

Christopher Ogle u1040039

With Bright Starts’s toys ”Fun Comes First” and the Lilypad Lullaby 3-in-1 Projector claims to be no exception. This friendly little frog is sure to become “your little one’s new favorite nighttime pal” with its many convenient features and soothing nighttime qualities. This special nightlight can soothe your child to sleep with its comforting, soft lights and quiet, fun sounds simply by tapping the eyes. When lifted of the base, this frog companion can function as a lantern to navigate a dark room. Parents can also set the lights and sounds to turn off automatically after either 15 or 30 minutes. So if your restless child could benefit from the relaxing qualities of a nightlight, than this Lillypad Lullaby 3-in-1 Projector is just for you!

The page for the toy set age limits at 0 to 36 months but advertised more towards 3 to 4 year old toddlers. For the purpose of this post I will treat the toy as made for the 3 to 4 year old demographic. This, to me, seems the more appropriate age for fully interacting with the toy.

As far as night lights go, this product sounds like an excellent choice; but, the question rises whether or not you should have a night light for your child. I found an article titled Should You Use a Baby Night Light which presented arguments for and against using a night light. The article explained that an infant needs it’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock, to set in a way that promotes more sleep during the night and less during the day. This reflex is greatly affected by light in the environment and excessive light can hinder melatonin production, an essential component of good sleep. At the age of 3 to 4 a toddler typically will be getting most there sleep at night with a nap or two during the day (Bornstein et al. pg.115). A night light can interrupt sleep and have a large impact on the quality of your sleep (National Sleep Foundation). With that information it can be concluded that a nightlight could potentially hinder the quality of sleep for a child.

Although the National Sleep Foundation recommends a dark environment for sleep, it also recommends using a low level light to prepare your brain to settle into sleep. This is where a nightlight, particularly one that can automatically shut itself off, can be very beneficial. Furthermore, a dim light, like the lantern functionality of the Bright Starts toy, can assist a parent with checking on their child without disturbing the child’s sleep. Some children are calmer with a night light and may enjoy the visual stimulation provided by the dim light in the case they wake up (Agadoni).

Now the way I see it, a nightlight has the potential of really helping a child sleep, and although strong light can interrupt healthy sleeping habits, an appropriately dimmed nightlight can avoid such consequence. Nightlights are by no means something I would tell every parent to use, but I think it is an acceptable and useful option. The Lilypad Lullaby 3-in-1 Projector is a great option as a nightlight because of its appropriate level of illumination, automatic shut-off system, and easily intractable system (even if they mistakenly called it a frog and a toad).

Agadoni, L. (2015). Should You Use a Baby Night Light?, Inc.

Bornstein, M.H.; Arterberry, M.E. & Lamb, M.E. (2014) Development in Infancy (5th Edition). Psychology Press







4 thoughts on “Are Nightlights Good for Children?

  1. Greg Stokes (u0381020)
    Interesting post. We had night lights as children and I have never even stopped to consider whether they effected my sleep. I did like the point of having lights available for safety reasons. I also wonder if having a night light as a child creates a habit of falling asleep with some light on and whether this is a difficult habit to break as they grow up.


  2. N. Garg (u0707325)

    Hmm… Thats really interesting. I wonder if a preference is formed for completely dark environments if parents choose not use a nightlight, and I wonder if that preference carries over to adulthood.


  3. Amy Repko u0993337

    I was attracted to this post because I had a nightlight as a child (far longer than I am willing to admit). I think one of the product’s most important features is the automatic shut off system. This allows the child to have a dim light to prepare both the mind and body for sleep. I can personally agree with the statement about a dim light being comforting for a child that wakes up throughout the night. Overall, I think this product, while certainly not necessary, can be beneficial for children with sleep problems by offering a safe, calm source of light. I wonder if the timer system will condition the children to know when the room will become completely dark and, in turn, train them to fall asleep quicker.


  4. Austin Nguyen u0886358

    This is an interesting question, as I never had a night light, but my siblings did. They wanted the lights on for fear of the dark, but I had the same fear but never used one. Do you think that the fear of the dark could also affect a child’s sleep pattern as much as a bright nightlight would? Or since the production of melatonin is uninterrupted, the children who do not use a nightlight at all would benefit more?


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