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The best nightlights to comfort little ones

(Image credit: Leap Frog)

Buying a nightlight for your baby’s bedroom can be a tricky purchase. On the one hand, you want something that will appeal to your baby and become an integral, comforting part of your bedtime routine. But on the other hand, you don’t want to end up with a nightlight that overstimulates your little one or gets them so excited that they forget its purpose: to help them drift off to sleep.

Whether you’re buying a nightlight to soothe your baby to sleep or just need something to help light the way to the bathroom when they wake at night, the key is to choose something practical yet calming.

If you choose a light projector, go for one with a soft, sleep-inducing light rather than a dazzling light show. If you choose a nightlight that plays soothing sounds or has musical features, we recommend checking that you can turn them off easily once your child falls asleep – you won’t want to be hunting for the off switch in the dead of night only to risk undoing the magic by disturbing your child.

Equally, make sure the light can be left on all night if you need something to comfort your child when they stir. Some light projectors are great for offering a soothing glow to fall asleep to but if your child is afraid of the dark, you’ll need something that will light up automatically if they stir, like Ewan the Dream Sheep – our favourite nightlight – or a nightlight you can safely leave on all night. Do note, however, that experts recommend sleeping in darkness for the best quality sleep.

(Image credit: Sweet Dreamers)

Sweet Dreamers Ewan The Dream Sheep

The best nightlight for cuddles and comfort

Reasons to buy
+Suitable from birth +Cry-sensor
Reasons to avoid
-Requires batteries

This adorable cuddly sheep emits a soft pink glow and plays actual womb and heartbeat sounds to recreate the comforting sights and sounds that babies associate with being in the womb. It also plays three soothing sounds – rainfall, harp melody music and vacuum cleaner – to help settle restless babies, and these sounds have been shown to help ease colic-induced pain. We like that you can attach this sleep aid to your baby’s cot or to your baby’s pushchair or car seat, so they’ll have a soothing sleep companion wherever they go. We also love that it has a cry sensor so it activates automatically if your baby stirs.

(Image credit: Leapfrog)

Leapfrog Leap Story

The best light projector

Reasons to buy
+Suited to older children
Reasons to avoid
-Requires batteries

This innovative little cube is much more than ‘just’ a nightlight. It’s a storytelling device with four content categories – classic stories and poems; myths, legends and fables; sleepy-time stories and songs. At the same time, it projects soothing stars, hearts and sparkles onto the wall or ceiling to help children relax and drift off. We love that you can personalise it by recording your own voice reading your child’s favourite story, and you can also download 20+ additional stories, poems and songs for free. It has a timer function, too, so you can choose how many stories or songs your little one listens to each night before drifting off to sleep.

(Image credit: Infantino)

Infantino 2 in 1 Musical Soother & Night Light Projector

The best musical nightlight

Reasons to buy
+Musical features
Reasons to avoid
-Stops after 20 minutes

This soothing nightlight plays relaxing musical lullabies at the same time as projecting a colourful light display onto the walls. The cute little fox’s tail moves, adding motion and movement to the light projection of stars and clouds, which creates visual interest for little ones and helps promote focus and eye-tracking. We like that the light display is adjustable so you change the settings to suit your little one’s bedtime routine. The lullabies last for 20 minutes so for older children you might have to pop back into the room to restart them – or show them how to do so themselves! Our favourite feature of this nightlight is the fact that you can remove the little fox cub – he’s the perfect companion to cuddle at night!

(Image credit: Tiny Love)

Tiny Love Tiny Dreamer 3-in-1 Musical Projector

The best portable nightlight

Reasons to buy
+Aids development
Reasons to avoid
-Requires batteries

This cleverly-designed nightlight is also a musical projector and a carry-along lantern. It plays up to 17 soothing melodies and – our favourite feature – has a built-in MP3 so you can set up your own bedtime playlist. The light projector casts sparkling stars onto the walls and is designed to stimulate all these developmental skills: your baby’s emotional intelligence, cognition, language and communication, imagination and creativity, senses, gross motor skills and fine motor skills. We love that it’s designed to be carried like an old-fashioned lantern – perfect for toddlers who wake at night and like to find their way into your bed!

(Image credit: Skip Hop)

Skip Hop Moonlight & Melodies Nightlight Baby Sleep Soother

The best bedside nightlight

Reasons to buy
+Easy to operate
Reasons to avoid
-Uses batteries or AC power

This cute little owl nightlight projects the moon and stars onto your baby’s ceiling or wall, and its belly also emits a soothing night-time glow. We like that it has a dimmer control feature so you can choose how light the room is – perfect for reading bedtime stories together before dimming the light when it’s time for your little one to go to sleep. It also has musical functionality and plays four lullabies and four white noise nature sounds, which are proven to help some babies settle. We love that you can set the lullabies and sounds to play all night – so useful for little ones who sleep better with background noise.

Heidi Scrimgeour

Originally from London, Heidi Scrimgeour is a freelance writer who lives near the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland with her husband and their daughter and two sons.