Best Baby Sun Hats In 2018: Safe Fun On The Beach!

Spending time outdoors is a great idea when you’ve got babies or young children – the fresh air and some Vitamin D can do wonders in keeping your little ones healthy and happy, just like it can make for some much needed mood uplifting for you and I.

But, you need to be vigilant when it comes to sun safety.

According to the Better Health Channel, skin can experience sunburn in as little as 15 minutes. When you’ve got children running around, yelling and demanding to be fed, it’s easy to get distracted and forget about the risks of getting burned. At that point, probably the last thing on your mind is what they’re wearing on their head.

That’s why a sun hat is essential.

With that being said, choosing the right sun hat can take a bit of time. So, let us do the hard yards for you! Check out our guide below to everything you need to know about baby and toddler sun hats.

First things first, though? Let’s have a very quick look at what we believe to be some of the best baby sun hats you can get for your little one’s safety today.

Best Baby Sun Hats – A Quick Look At Our Top 5 Recommendations

Pick #1: i play. Baby Flap Sun Protection Hat
Pick #2: i play. Baby & Toddler Brim Sun Protection Hat
Pick #3: Flap Happy Baby Floppy Sun Hat
Pick #4: Sunday Afternoons Kids play Hat
Pick #5: i play. Baby Boys Reversible Bucket Sun Protection Hat
Pick #6: Flap Happy Baby Girls’ Double Ruffle Hat
Pick #7: Marca west Unisex Boy & Girl Sun Protection Bucket Cap
Pick #8: Eriso Breathable Stay-On Animal Bucket Sun Hat

*Note: Upon clicking on any of the links in this section, you will be redirected to the respective product listings on Amazon.com where you can learn about the product’s price, customer rating & customer reviews.

At What Age Does My Baby Need A Sun Hat?

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends keeping babies out of direct sunlight until they’re at least six months old. With this in mind, it’s safe to assume that sun hats are a must for all ages of children, from newborns onwards.

Whatever age you start taking your little one for walks or picnics, it’s probably best to have a suitably sized sun hat ready just in case.

What Might Happen If My Child Doesn’t Wear A Sun Hat?

While sunburn can occur at any age, babies and young children are especially vulnerable. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most sun damage happens during childhood.

A baby’s skin is thinner and they’re still developing melanin, which is a pigment that provides some skin protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation have also found there to be strong evidence that sunburn during childhood can increase your chances of developing skin cancer later in life.

Of course, you might be thinking, “But Vitamin D is good, right?” Well – yes, it is. However, like all things, when it comes to spending time in the sun, moderation is key. This is a perfect example of “too much of a good thing is a bad thing”.

Too much sunlight will result in over-exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR), and this is when you’ll see your child’s skin turn red and warm. It’ll likely feel painful for them, too.

If it’s a severe case of sunburn, there’s also the risk of your child getting blisters and experiencing headaches, fever and illness. Yikes! Not exactly what you had hoped to gain from spending some time in the sun with your little one, right?

Check out this video by the American Academy of Dermatology for more tips on sun safety for infants.

How Can A Sun Hat Help My Baby?

A sun hat should provide a protective covering for your child’s scalp and face, and ideally the neck and ears too.

It complements the benefits of sunscreen and other protective clothing, keeping skin shielded as much as possible.

But the amount of protection the hat provides really comes down to the individual hat itself. Every hat is different, and how effective it is can depend on its shape, style, brim size, material and any extra treatments it’s had for blocking UV rays.

With this in mind, it’s important to look at more than just the color and design when choosing your child’s sun hat.

What Should I Look For In The Best Sun Hats For Babies?

Not sure what exactly you should be looking for? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s just a few important things to consider:

Does The Shape and Style Offer Maximum Coverage?

There’s a few different styles to choose from, including bucket hats, wide-brimmed hats, legionnaire hats and baseball caps (but this last option isn’t really recommended).

While baseball caps are considered the least effective at protecting against sunburn, the others all offer pretty solid coverage in general.

The trick then is deciding which of these hat styles best suit your child’s sun safety needs – at which point it can also come down to particular brands and their unique designs and features.

Ultimately, you need to look at how well the hat covers your child’s face, neck and ears, while also comparing how suitably it fits and stays on your little one’s head.

Do You Want Something Thick Or Lightweight?

Have a think about whether you need something thick and sturdy or lightweight and breezy.

This might be determined by the climate you live in, or the place you’re intending on holidaying to. Or, perhaps it all boils down to just a personal preference in the end.

Determining this is obviously easy if you’re physically in a store and doing your shopping there, but can be harder when shopping online.

So, if doing your shopping online, have a good look at the pictures, check out the materials and read the reviews of any hat you’re thinking of buying to get an idea of this.

What’s The Hat Made From?

Sun hats come in a variety of different materials and blends, but some of the most common are cotton and polyester.

They each have their benefits.

Cotton is known to be soft, so it’d probably feel very comfortable on your baby’s head. It’d also possibly be a better option if your baby has sensitive skin.

Meanwhile, polyester is known to be quite durable and holds color well. So, if you’re likely to wash the hat often, it might be less likely to fade over time.

The type of material you choose really depends on your personal preference, what you want out of a baby sun hat and your baby’s skin needs.

Does It Have A UPF Rating?

While any kind of fabric will offer at least a small amount of protection, some materials are treated with special coatings that increase the UPF.

UPF stands for ‘Ultraviolet Protection Factor’ – it’s a rating system that allows you to know exactly how much extra protection that particular fabric can offer against harmful UV rays.

The higher the number, the better. For a better idea of what we’re talking about, according to SunSmart a hat that is UPF 50 is better than a hat that is UPF 15.

There’s a limit to how high you can go with UPF, though. UPF 50+ is the maximum rating you can get. Always look out for this, because it’s a great feature to have in a hat.

Will It Actually Stay On Your Baby’s Head?

Not all sun hats come with a chin strap, but the ones that do are great for babies and toddlers because it helps to keep the hat on their head.

You’ll know what we’re talking about if you’ve ever taken your kid out on a windy day or if they’re just not a big fan of wearing a hat – “What is this strange and annoying tiny blanket you insist on forcing onto my head? I may be a baby, but I have rights, you know!”

Yep, and you’ll find that most chin straps either tie into place, or have Velcro to keep the strap in place. Choosing between these really comes down to personal preference, but you might find that squirmy babies don’t sit still long enough for you to tie a strap into place.

Can The Hat Be Tightened Around The Head?

Some hats have the ability to tighten onto your little one’s head. This is usually achieved through a little drawstring-style toggle that you pull, or sometimes a strap.

It can help the hat stay on properly and make it more comfortable too.

While they’re not absolutely necessary (as it doesn’t impact on sun safety), they’re still a great added feature, especially for babies and toddlers who seem to be forever growing.

How Can It Be Washed?

Always check out the washing instructions before you buy any clothes or baby-related accessories, sun hats included.

Some sun hats can go into washing machines while others may need to be hand-washed. If you have a particular preference, definitely look into it further because baby and toddler hats are bound to get dirty.

What’s It Like Around Water?

If you’ve got a water baby or taking your family on a beach holiday, you might want to look for a hat that dries quickly and doesn’t flop into their face at the first touch of water.

Always read the reviews for this kind of information, because they’ll be the most honest – even if it’s not quite what you wanted to hear. Honesty is always best, especially when you’re spending money!

Best Sun Hats For Babies – A More Detailed Look Into Our Top 8 Recommendations

Pick #1: i play. Baby Flap Sun Protection Hat

First things first, we love this hat because it pulls off the legionnaire style so well.

It has a baseball cap brim with a long neck flap, offering maximum protection for your little one’s neck area. If you’re particularly worried about their little neck getting burned, this option might be a better option than a bucket hat or a wide-brimmed hat.

It’s also UPF 50+, so it’s got great sun protection. It also has an adjustable band to better fit your child’s head if you feel the need to use it.

Plus, we also love the style’s clean and subtle design, making it a safe choice for both boys and girls. There’s a multitude of different colors you can choose from, too – ranging all the way from hot pink to light blue and everything in between.

Pros

  • Full coverage for the neck area.
  • UPF 50+.
  • Water-resistant fabric.
  • Goes in washing machine so you don’t have to hand wash.
  • 100% polyester.
  • Can be adjusted to tighten to your baby’s head if needed.

Cons

  • Brim can get a bit floppy when it gets wet.
  • The sizing can be a bit on the large side, so always make sure you do your part first and get your measurements on point.

Click Here To Check Price & Read Customer Reviews On Amazon

Pick #2: i play. Baby & Toddler Brim Sun Protection Hat

This hat made it onto our list because we can’t help but love the extra-wide brim. And, this should be a given by now: quite wide means very safe for your little one. It provides great coverage and protection, particularly for the face and ears.

We’re equally impressed by the design as well. The solid white color is nice and simple, making it great for a boy or girl and an excellent option for all minimalists out there.

The sizing is great, as it’s got an adjustable toggle that you can use to better fit your child’s head.

This hat can go in the washing machine, so no need for hand-washing, and it’s known to dry pretty fast – which is always a welcome plus.

Pros

  • Wide brim.
  • UPF 50+.
  • Adjustable toggle.
  • 100% polyester.
  • Can go in the washing machine.
  • Dries pretty fast, unlike other baby sun hats which need to stay out of action for a fairly long time.
  • Has a wicking liner.

Cons

  • Because of its extra-wide brim, there’s always the chance it might fall down a bit in front and cover the eyes – particularly if your child is quite small. So, keep in mind that a few adjustments might be needed now and then.
  • The hat can get quite floppy when it’s wet.

Click Here To Check Price & Read Customer Reviews On Amazon

Pick #3: Flap Happy Baby Floppy Sun Hat

If you’ve found other wide-brimmed hats fall down in front and cut off your baby’s vision, this one is definitely worth a look.

It combines both style and practicality with a brim that is just floppy enough to look delicate, yet has enough stiffness so it doesn’t fall in front of the eyes.

The brim is nice and wide too, giving very good coverage. It’s UPF 50+ as well, so that’s always a tick in the box.

We also love its beautiful design – the eyelet stitching on the white makes it look very feminine and cute, an excellent option for your little princess.

Pros

  • Large brim.
  • Stiff enough to stay out of baby’s eyes and not constantly fall down.
  • UPF 50+.
  • 100% cotton.
  • Ties under the chin.

Cons

  • We mentioned the brim is quite stiff, which is very good for keeping it out of the eyes – but some people might find it a bit too stiff when baby is sitting in the pram.
  • It’s a bit more lightweight than some of the other options on this list, so there’s a chance some people might find the fabric a bit thin for their liking.
  • The strings under the chin are quite long.

 Click Here To Check Price & Read Customer Reviews On Amazon

Pick #4: Sunday Afternoons Kids play Hat

This hat has lots of cool features – from its mesh ventilation (in the child size) to its very useful safety feature that prevents accidental choking on the chin strap.

The flap at the back is also very impressive, as it’s quite long and gives the neck maximum coverage. If it’s on a small baby, it might even cover the top part of their back too – and as you know by now: the more coverage, the better!

The hats are available in a large range of sizes, fitting babies from six months to children up to 12 years old, so there’s a suitable option for almost everybody. Plus, it has a strap that can be tightened around the head for a better fit if you find that making adjustments is necessary.

Pros

  • UPF 50+
  • Mesh ventilation for child and youth sizes.
  • Water repellent and stain resistant – useful if your kid always manages to find a way to get themselves dirty.
  • Designed with a longer brim at the back to cover the neck.
  • Customized sizing strap to fit around the head.
  • Good chin strap designed to break apart if there happens to be a choking incident.
  • Hard brim at the front so it’s not floppy, with a soft brim in the back for comfort.

Cons

  • The small size option for babies does not have mesh on the sides.
  • The safety snap feature may break apart under quite low tension – for example, it might come open if your little ones are wrestling.
  • The chin straps could be better reinforced at the seam.

Click Here To Check Price & Read Customer Reviews On Amazon

Pick #5: i play. Baby Boys Reversible Bucket Sun Protection Hat

If your little one gets bored of the same old, same old pretty quickly and likes to switch things up, they’ll love this hat. It’s reversible, so it’s basically two hats in one! (That’s how they’ll think about it, at least).

We love the diversity this reversible hat provides. Both sides of the hat can be used, with different colors too – so it never gets boring.

As for protection, it’s a bucket hat style, so it provides good coverage for the head and neck areas.

We also love its bold design and pattern, with rich colors that should hold up quite well in the wash, since it’s made of polyester.

Pros

  • Reversible – both sides of the hat can be used.
  • UPF 50+.
  • 100% polyester
  • Can be put in the washing machine, and colors last fairly well with washes because of the high quality material.
  • Ties under the chin.
  • Fun bright colors.

Cons

  • Size can be rather large. So, if you have a small baby, they may need time to grow into it. Never buy any baby sun hat without being sure of all the measurements first.
  • The material is quite thick, which some people might not like for really hot climates.

Click Here To Check Price & Read Customer Reviews On Amazon

Pick #6: Flap Happy Baby Girls’ Double Ruffle Hat

If you’re looking for a cute girly design that also offers great sun protection, then this hat is well worth considering.

With its gorgeous ruffle, your little darling can make the ultimate fashion statement without compromising one bit on safety.

It also has a fairly soft brim, so even if your baby is sitting in the pram or laying against your chest, she should be nice and comfortable.

Plus, the UPF 50+ rating gives it that little bit of extra protection.

Pros

  • Beautiful ruffle design.
  • Soft brim.
  • UPF 50+.
  • 100% cotton.
  • Lightweight fabric.
  • Hat has an elastic band that helps fit snug around the head.
  • Ties under the chin.

Cons

  • You’ll need to be careful with washing so that it doesn’t wrinkle up.
  • It’s not the best of ideas to put it in the dryer, or else you’ll risk having it shrink.

Click Here To Check Price & Read Customer Reviews On Amazon

Pick #7: Marca west Unisex Boy & Girl Sun Protection Bucket Cap

If you’re looking for a hat that’s lightweight and comfortable for your little one to wear, this bucket hat is well worth checking out.

It’s a beautiful pink design, with the brim covering the face and ears. The adjustable chin straps should help keep the hat on your child’s head and save you the trouble of having to pick it up and put it on again, and again.

If you prefer hats made from a mixed blend of materials, you’ll be glad to know it’s made from 95% cotton with mixed polyester.

Pros

  • Adjustable chin straps.
  • Beautiful pink color.
  • Gives good skin coverage around the face and ears.
  • Made from lightweight and comfortable material

Cons

  • Not for children of all ages, as it only comes in a size for children aged 12 to 36 months.
  • The embroidery on the hat can feel a bit rough.

Click Here To Check Price & Read Customer Reviews On Amazon

Pick #8: Eriso Breathable Stay-On Animal Bucket Sun Hat

Our favorite part of this hat is its super cute animal design – which we think your toddler’s going to fall in love with too! It’s just got so much personality and character, and stands out from the crowd wherever you go.

With this cutesy bucket hat, there’s a good chance your little one will get some compliments on the street – and who among us doesn’t like that?

The floppy brim should keep the sun both out of your child’s eyes and off their head as well. Plus, it has a strap to help keep it on their head so it’s not all on you to do.

We’re also big fans of the soft material making it comfortable for your child to wear.

Pros

  • Super cute animal design – one of the most unique designs we’ve seen.
  • Chin strap to keep it on.
  • 100% cotton.
  • Floppy brim.
  • Soft material.

Cons

  • This hat can be a bit big sometimes – something to watch out for if your child is quite small.
  • The material isn’t exactly the most lightweight, which might get a bit stuffy in the summer.
  • The strap is not adjustable, so you don’t have as much control as you would with other baby sun hats that come with an adjustable strap.

Click Here To Check Price & Read Customer Reviews On Amazon

Why Should Baseball Caps Be Avoided?

According to the Raising Children Network, baseball caps aren’t recommended.

In fact, try asking just about any doctor or skincare specialist – you’ll find that most, if not all, agree with this recommendation.

It’s nothing personal against baseball caps. At the end of the day, it all comes down to caps being inferior at sun protection, which is the main reason you’re getting one of these things to begin with.

SunSmart cite a study in 2006, which found that caps provide far less UVR protection than legionnaires and broad-brimmed hats.

This makes sense in that a baseball cap only covers the front of the face, leaving the neck and ears totally exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays.

You’re always better off looking for a bucket, broad-brimmed or legionnaire hat – basically something that provides extra sun protection and shade for as much of the face, neck and ears as possible.

How Can I Make Sure I Get The Right Sized Sun Hat For My Baby?

If you’re shopping in an actual store, it’s best to try a few on your kid there first before buying anything. That’s a given.

But, if you’re shopping online, it’s obviously a bit more difficult to get the sizing part perfectly right. While a lot of sun hats will have sizes that correlate with ages, such as ‘0 – 3 Months’, we suggest you measure the circumference of your child’s head.

Why exactly, you ask? Most brands will provide a sizing guide using these measurements.

This is very important to do because head sizes can really vary, and your child won’t necessarily fit into their actual age category. So, going with actual measurements is always a safer route.

And, don’t forget to take your baby’s expected growth into account. For example, if you’re buying a sun hat to put away for their birthday, have a think about whether they might grow during this time, and how much growth is expected.

Tips For Actually Keeping The Sun Hat On Your Baby’s Head

Unless you’ve been blessed with a very obedient child, it’s likely your little one will show some initial reluctance to wearing a hat.

But, it’s a bit like brushing teeth. Your child might not like it at first, but its importance to their health makes it necessary, no questions asked. They’ll get used to it pretty soon, too.

Till it does grow on them, though, it’s vital that you persevere and don’t give up under pressure. Consistency is key.

If they throw it off, put it back on. Again and again. Yes, this process will get annoying pretty quick, but it will be worth it in the end.

In the meantime, here’s some more tips for keeping the sun hat on:

1) The Chin Strap

This one speaks for itself, but it’s still worth mentioning.

If the hat has one, utilize the chin strap. You might find your child prefers a Velcro strap over a tie-on one, or vice versa. So, you may have to change hats a couple times until you find one that they like.

Alternatively, there’s also the possibility they won’t like a chin strap at all. For example, it could be chafing them, or perhaps they just don’t like the texture and how it feels. In this case, try the hat without doing up the chin strap and see if that helps.

2) Write Their Name On It

Kids can be possessive of their belongings. So, you might want to try writing their name on the hat somewhere to make it ‘officially’ theirs.

Basically, this is just another way of making the hat seem important, valuable and something for them to show off and be proud of.

If you can help them develop an attachment to the hat, this could make your life so much easier.

3) Point Out All The Other Kids Wearing Them

In such cases, herd mentality can also help.

Take your child to the park and make a big deal of the fact that all the other kids are (hopefully) wearing hats. This will show them it’s a safe, normal and even cool thing to do.

4) Involve Your Child In Buying Their Hat

If you’ve got an older toddler or young child, they might enjoy the freedom of choosing their own hat.

Of course, you’ll still need to make sure the hat they choose is a high-quality one that meets most – if not all – of the important criteria we discussed in this article.

A good idea is for you to pick out three options for them and let them make the final decision.

5) Find A Hat With A Cool Design

Sun safety is obviously the priority, but there’s a lot of great hats out there with engaging colors and designs.

You might like to find one in your child’s favorite color, with a pattern they’ll like, or one themed around their favorite character.

6) Lead By Example

“But daddy, you’re not wearing a hat!” Well, they have a point!

If you’re trying to make the sun hat an accepted part of their routine, it’s best if you lead the way as a positive role model.

By wearing a hat yourself, you’re helping to normalize it – and anyway, it’ll be good for your skin too!

7) Set A ‘No Hat, No Play’ Rule

Sometimes, you just need to be firm.

If your little one refuses to wear a hat, tell them they’re not allowed to play outside at all without wearing one.

Many schools and childcare centers actually have this exact rule, so it’s good to be consistent in the home as well. By not doing this, you’re making both their lives and your life more difficult.

By staying strong and setting this boundary early in life, hopefully your child will quickly learn to accept the hat and make it part of their daily routine.

At What Age Can My Child Stop Wearing A Sun Hat?

There’s no arguing that sun hats provide great sun protection no matter what your age – whether you’re one or 100 years old.

Anything that has a wide brim means your skin is better protected.

In which case, you should always encourage your children to wear sun hats. From babyhood all the way through their schooling years, this is a very important part in teaching them to take good care of themselves.

Although we think there’s a good chance you’ll run into some obstacles as they reach their teens…we’ll leave that one with you to sort out!

Remember – Even A Sun Hat Can’t 100% Protect Them

While a high-quality sun hat will go a long way in shielding your child from harmful UV rays, it won’t 100% protect them.

According to Healthline, even a hat with the maximum rating of UPF 50+ blocks out approximately 98% of UV rays – so not all of them. There’s still around 2% you need to take into consideration.

With this in mind, it’s still a good idea to seek out shade and covered areas when you’re enjoying the outdoors.

This way your children can enjoy some fun in the sun, and still have a cool, safe place to retreat to after a little while.

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