Monday, October 9th, 2006
Review: Megabrite Color Changing Night Light with Dimmer Feature
At about 20 months, two months after I wrote HOW TO: Get Your Toddler to Sleep Without a Fuss, my daughter’s sleep pattern changed. She began inexplicably waking one or two times each night, wailing her head off.
Little Miss was going to bed in the early evening before sunset (or as we tell her, before "the sun has gone to bed"). We figured that it was normal for a toddler to partially wake up mid-night, then fall back to sleep. We theorized she was opening her eyes, being shocked at the almost complete darkness, and crying because she wasn’t seeing the familiar bedroom in which she had fallen asleep. So, maybe a night light would comfort her.
I bought a 5-pack of Megabrite Color Changing Night Lights by Amerasia Enterprises from Costco for $15. Each is powered by an LED bulb, which likely draws 1 watt or less. The unit doesn’t get hot. An LED is the most efficient form of lighting and lasts longer than fluorescent bulbs. A sensor on the front of the unit turns the light on at dusk and off at dawn.
The beauty of this device is that its single unimpressive LED casts light up onto a oval-shaped piece of hard, clear plastic which then gets illuminated. The plastic spreads a wide arc of color onto your wall.
The unit can be set to display one of seven colors, or to slowly cycle through all of themâ€”red, green, blue, yellow, teal, purple and white. Our house has a certain Christmas-tree-like feel with these lights spread throughout it.
In less than a year, Costco has sold three variations of the same LED light. The first contained an attractive engraved pattern on its clear plastic plate. The second version can be found on Amazon for at least twice the price. It’s a tad uglier, but just as functional. If you’re stuck buying from Amazon, get the more stylish rose or moon version. Some colors display brighter than others, red being the darkest, so you can make a room somewhat darker by choosing a particular color.
Megabrite’s latest incarnation (displayed above at right) is sold at Costco today* with two new features. First, it’s the ugliest design yet, sporting bubbles infused in the clear plastic plate because someone thought that gimmick would look cool.
*Merchandise at Costco varies between stores. You might not find Megabrite at your store.
Second, this version has a true dimmer. The light will slowly fade as it switches to a new color. During that switching process, press a button on the light’s base to lock in your color choice and a second time to lock your desired brightness level. That second click probably complicates things for a toddler to control the light selection.
A reader at Parent Hacks
noted that these night lights are also great for travel, to give your
child something familiar in an otherwise unfamiliar setting.
OK, so, what effect did these night lights have on Little Miss? First, she stopped crying at night. Second, the light became part of her bedtime routine. For about five months the last thing we did before leaving her room was to ask her what color light she wanted and had her set it herself. She eventually grew out of that, and now insists we leave her door open so she can see light coming from a neighboring room. (Hey, whatever works!)