Before we had kids of our own, we thought baby sun hats were merely meant for Instagrammable moments. We had no idea that they were literally a staple for summer survival (along with kid-friendly sunscreen and bug spray). Now, with babes in tow, we know not to take a step outside on a summer day without a sun hat for necessary UV protection and serious coverage.
Yes, sun hats are *so* stinkin adorable on the round, oversized heads of babies, but they also serve an important purpose— to protect your kiddo’s beautiful noggin (and face). For starters, it’s way easier than applying sunscreen—a task that can quickly escalate to a straight-up UFC fight with your kid down on the ground and you slathering sunscreen all over his face. With a sun hat, you can almost bypass the step of applying SPF on his face so long as the hat offers UPF protection and enough coverage to shield him from the sun in all directions—especially if he’s wearing a sun-protectant rashguard. That way, he’s covered while splashing up a storm in that inflatable kiddie pool.
Another important reason to keep a sun hat on your kid at all times is that babies’ skin is sensitive, and research shows that even a handful of serious sunburns during childhood can increase a person’s risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Better to err on the side of safety and keep your child covered in sun hats with UPF protection. It’s not super easy to pull off both of those requirements, but the good news is that there are several sun hat brands on the market that do the job for us.
Here are some of the very best sun hats for baby boy, baby girl and toddlers of all ages. Let’s keep them covered, cool and looking cute— as always— this summer.
With close to 6,000 4.5-star ratings on Amazon, it’s clear to see that this is a winner in the sun hat category among moms and dads alike. Green Sprouts as a brand is always viewed highly, as are their plethora of sun hats in all different styles, but this is one of their more popular designs because of the extra neck coverage on all three sides and the wide, water-friendly foam brim that holds its structure pretty much no matter what—even in the pool or the middle of a rain storm. It’s made from 100 percent polyester, so it’s super lightweight and quick drying, as well as a UPF 50+ sun protection fabric to truly keep the sun’s harmful rays out of your baby’s face. The elasticized back gives your baby head space to grow and the strap below the chin makes sure it stays on, despite her best efforts to rip it off time and time again.
How can you go wrong with a cotton floppy hat? The answer is you can’t—especially when it has UPF protection and is comfortable enough for your baby to keep on. This one has a design that extends its life on your kids head, thanks to an adjustable drawstring, so it should last more than just one summer—and certainly long enough to cover you through a winter vacay. It is UPF 50 and is nice and breathable (thanks to the fact that it’s made from cotton). It has a wide brim so that it stands up to inclimate weather without collapsing and its chin strap and safety clip helps ensure that it stays put even when your kid wants it off, stat. The size range should cover you all the way from the newborn years through age 12, so once you realize how much you love this hat, you can buy it again and again in larger sizes.
This sun hat has an oddly adorable mullet design that keeps the sun out of your child’s face and away from the back of his neck—one of the most prime areas for a sunburn. This is all thanks to its 2.5” to 4” down sloping brim with a floatable foam core to keep his face safe from the sun’s harmful UV rays and a full 5.5” neck veil, so to speak, to keep the back of his neck also protected. It has a UPF 50+ certified sun rating and mesh side vents to let in a little air so your kid’s head can breathe in that summer heat. It is water repellent and stain resistant, which will certainly come in handy with all that sunscreen you’ll be applying. There are great color and print options, too, so you’ll know which hat belongs to which kid.
Not only is this hat super adorable in each of the 11 different colors and prints it comes in (ranging from polkadot pink to navy butterflies to mint floral), but it also has some serious sun protection features. It is made of a cotton fabric with a special weave of craftsmanship that makes it UPF without using any of the chemical covering that is sometimes required to do so. Even so, it is lightweight and thin so it doesn’t weigh your baby down. It has an adjustable chin strap so that it fits your baby’s neckline just right and a wide brim for protection all around your little one’s noggin. They sell it in three sizes— S for 0-9 months, M for 9 months-4 years, and L for 3-12 years—with the latter two sizes lasting a few summers at the very least. Oh and if you buy two or more, you score 10 percent off!
Just looking at this bucket-style sun hat makes you want to see your kid in it, ASAP. Not only is it totally unisex, but it comes in 13 colors to match any and all of your child’s outfits. It is made from a soft and breathable polyester fabric with UPF 50+ protection to block. It also offers a good deal of coverage in all areas—with a 6.5 cm foldable floppy brim that’s equal measurements all around to shield your child from the sun’s harmful rays. It has a fastener strap right under the chin area to hold it in place whether you’re hitting the beach or you’re on a walk in breezy weather. Even on hot days, your child should stay nice and cool thanks to the mesh side vents that let air flow right in. Although it only comes in one size, it fits most kids ages 3-7.
This highly-rated sun hat comes in all different prints and styles from a nautical theme to a rose red bowknot. Each of their 12 offerings are made from 100 percent cotton that is soft, cozy and high quality. This makes it easy for your kiddo to wear—and keep on for more than 10 minutes at a time. Each hat has a wide brim that keeps the sun’s rays out of your child’s eyes as well as 50+ UPF protection. This level of protection is also ideal for hot days since it doesn’t absorb as much heat from the sun. Reviewers say they love it for the beach because it stays put and keeps the sand out of their child’s eyes when it’s super windy. It comes in four sizes that should last at least a full season or more: 6-12 months, 12-24 months, 2-4T and 4-8 years.
This sun hat is versatile in the sense that you can have your child wear it doing pretty much any activity—even swimming in a pool or at the beach. The material almost feels like a swimsuit and is super absorbent. Of course, it provides UPF 50+ protection and even more coverage than most sun hats thanks to the extra long neck flap. If your little one is running around wearing a diaper only and having the time of his life, this hat will at the very least cover his entire neck, some of his shoulders and a decent way down his back. It also has a firm visor that’s anything but flimsy to provide front-face coverage. It grows with your kid, providing a snug fit with an elastic that can expand without causing discomfort. It comes in two toddler sizes, 0-3T and 4-7T, and is not intended for use on infants.
Not all kids will wear a standard sun hat—some just won’t! And if your kid refuses, it is not always worth a screaming match. Instead, consider trying a regular baseball cap. Sure, it won’t protect his ears or neck like a sun hat, but it will protect the majority of his face, which is better than nothing in our opinion. Plus, few things are cuter than seeing your kid in a baseball hat! It is made from a 100 percent cotton fabric that protects against the sun’s harmful UV rays. You can order this hat in one of 45 different colors, from solid hues like pinks and blues to fun prints like camo and tie tye. They are also super reasonably priced, so you can mix and match and get a few to have lying around to grab at the last minute.
Now that you’ve got your sun hat(s) squared away, shop more of our kids summer picks here!