Is it a Good Idea to Leave a Night Light On for the Baby?

One of the most frequently asked questions in parenting forums is the one as to whether it is a good idea to leave a night light on for the baby. Opinions on this issue vary a great deal. There are those who will tell you that it is a good idea to leave a night light on for the baby. There are others who will tell you that it is a very bad idea to leave the night light on for the baby. It can be very confusing.

For adults, there seems to be consensus in the medical community that we should avoid having artificial lights in the rooms we sleep in. In other words, that we should ideally sleep in pitch dark rooms. We are told that sleeping in pitch dark rooms, without any artificial lights, is associated with better health outcomes. But for babies? That is where we find some controversy.

There are those who feel that if you leave the baby in a pitch dark room, he may develop a feeling of abandonment. The evidence for this is in the loud cry that the baby typically lets out, whenever he is left in a pitch dark room. This can be perturbing, especially for parents who only get a few daytime hours to spend with their babies. Take, for instance, a mother who works at CVS Health (whose HR website is accessible at myhr.cvs.com). This mother may only be able to get a few hours after work to spend with the baby. Naturally, this sort of mother would be keen on avoiding anything that can add to the sense of abandonment that the baby surely experiences whenever the mother leaves for work every morning.

On the other hand, there are those who feel that if they get the baby to be accustomed to having a night light on, it may be very hard to wean him off this ‘addiction’. This argument is not without merit. People who, as babies, always slept with night lights on seem to develop a fear for darkness. And this can actually grow into a full-blown phobia.

Personally, I belong to the school of thought which believes that babies should sleep in semi-dark rooms. Not in pitch darkness, but also not in rooms that are too brightly lit. I think this is the best compromise, between the two extremes – of either letting the baby sleep in pitch darkness or letting him sleep in a brightly lit room.