Sleep. It's the holy grail for many parents and at the moment Master C is certainly putting us through sleep deprivation training of the sort that I think the SAS must go through before missions. It's tough going and I therefore jumped at the chance to talk to a sleep expert in a recent BritMums Google Hangout on solving children's sleep problems. Baby sleep expert Chireal Shallow was on hand to answer our questions and she certainly gave us some good tips to help Master C.
This hangout was sponsored by the new Philips SoftPal lights and following on from this we were sent a couple of these SoftPal children's night lights for the kids to review.
The lights are quite different from any night light I've seen before in that they're very soft and squidgy (almost asking children to pick them up and play with them) and they sit on a base which charges them up – sort of similar to the way in which an electric toothbrush charges. The lights are also shaped like characters from the Disney film Monsters University – and we were sent two Sulley characters to review.
The first thing which stuck me after unpacking the lights was just how confusing the instructions were!
Philips had decided to include word free instructions – presumably so that they could sell the light anywhere without having to change the instructions sheet into other languages. The only problem with this is that they were damn confusing. Here therefore is my attempt to explain what they really mean!
When it comes to using the lights there were some things about them that I and the children really liked, and a few other things that just didn't seem all that practical.
Firstly the good bits. The lights are very tactile and both children really loved playing with them – both when they were on and off. They're easy to switch on and off (you just tilt Sulley each time) so there's no messing about with little switches and even the youngest children are able to do this on their own. The light they emit is not too bright, but enough to be a comfort to a child without lighting up their room so much that it encourages them to get out of bed and play with their toys.
Little Miss C really loved her light, but does still insist on having her existing nightlight on too – which is a bit brighter – so she can get up on her own in the morning and see to play with her toys (she can't yet reach her own light switch). We struggled to put a light in Master C's existing bedroom as the cable on it is so short that it wouldn't reach from a plug socket to somewhere with enough space to sit the (rather wide) base.
When it comes to the light's practicalities there were a few issues. I've already mentioned the short power cable (probably on health and safety grounds) which is not all that useful. The other thing is the fact that the light only charges on the base if the switch is pressed. When it's finished charging it stops until you press the button again. Added to this the fact that the charge only lasts for about 6 hours and it means that a child can go to bed with the light on and fully charged, but the light will then run down its charge, but unless someone presses the button on the base it won't recharge. So, if a child wakes up after 6 hours the room will be in darkness again. Not ideal. I don't understand why they didn't just design it so that it constantly trickle charges (like a toothbrush does) so that you don't have that problem. This is partly why we've had to keep a second nightlight in LMC's room.
So overall, I think these Philips SoftPal lights are a good idea, especially since they can be operated by young children and are so play friendly, but it just seems to me like they need a little more work on their practical design.
Disclaimer: I was invited by BritMums to take part in the #notsoscary Google Hangout and we were then sent two Philips SoftPal lights to review. This post contains affiliate links.