As many a parent can attest, keeping a sun hat on your child’s head is one of the great challenges of the early parenthood years. We’re not promising that these—our favorite sun hats for kids—going to get yanked off eventually. But their comfortable fabrics and fits give you a better shot at keeping your little one’s head out of the sun (while looking pretty darn cute, too). These are the best sun hats for babies.
1. Snapper Rock
This sun-savvy New Zealand brand knows a thing or two about avoiding harmful UV rays, and has received much acclaim for its cute and protective kids’ swimsuits. Snapper Rock’s sun hats go the distance, too, with the most popular options including the Snapper Rock UV50 Flap Hat, with full neck coverage, and the wide-brim bucket hat, both of which are lightweight, quick drying and breathable. Fedoras and candy-striped straw hats for babies are among the other less practical, but surely stylish options when you want to complete the resort casual look for your little one.
2. Flap Happy
Just the name of this hat brand puts a smile on our faces. The Flap Happy sunhat is one of those tools that’s great to have in your beach bag for a day at the shore or pool. Designed to protect little heads from those punishing rays, the line’s original Flap Happy Flap Hat has a drawstring feature to tighten around your baby’s head, and straps to keep it fastened under the chin. The long flap that extends down the neck provides maximum coverage. Other hat options include a more traditional rounded sunhat look, and all are UPF 50-plus for maximum protection against a day outdoors in the sun. There’s a huge range of bright patterns, solids and seersucker and chambray options from which to choose.
3. iPlay Flap Sun Protection Swim Hat
The maker of the popular, washable swim diaper has a solid selection of sun hats offering all-day protection on the beach, pool or anyplace else you risk drinking in those UVs. Choose from several iPlay varieties with wide, round brims and straps that tie under the chin, with an adjustable toggle that lets the hat grow with your baby. A wicking liner in the hats’ inside keeps the fabric nice and cool and the quick-dry material means you can put it on, swim, and pretty much leave it on your baby all day.
4. Garnet Hill Swimlids
Garnet Hill has so many great sun hat options, but we’re particularly fond of the ingenious Swimlids UPF 50+ Swim Cap. It looks very much like a baseball hat, but stays put on your little one’s head like a swim cap. The quick-drying fabric is a nylon/spandex mix and is seamless, so it’s not likely to irritate those fresh young faces.
5. Hanna Andersson
Tiny ears, necks and noses all stay under cover when your baby wears the adorable Sunblock Swimmy Sun Hat by Hanna Andersson, with sizes to fit newborns up to age 6 years old. The Swedish-inspired kids’ brand is totally trendy, yes, and the striped patterns of this particular swim hat are simply adorable. But the quality of the product shows through, too, with its fast-drying nylon/spandex knit, convenient and sturdy chin ties and UVA/UVB rating that blocks 95-percent of harmful rays. Matching onesie rash guards are available, too. Just be warned that the cute and matching aesthetics of Hanna Andersson pieces make it hard to buy a single piece!
6. Twinklebelle Baby
Opt for the Grow-With-Me breathable sun hats by Canadian brand, Twinklebelle Baby, and your little one can be wearing the same sun protection for years. Size small is for newborns up through nine-month-olds, and the next size up (medium) can last them from six months to three years. The chin strap keeps the hats on nice and snug, with a toggle adjustment, too. And these hats have a cool breakaway clip feature that allows them to instantly come undone should they get snagged on something. Other favorites from this fun line include the AquaDry Bucket Hat and the cute Newsboy caps that tighten at the back of the head, with the brim just on the front.
7. Sunday Afternoons
This popular grownup line of sun hats has some very fine options for the smaller heads in the crowds, too. We love the extra wide brims of the Kids’ Play Hat line—and the brim drapes even longer at the rear of the head, too, with a back veil to keep those harmful sun rays off your child’s neck. The stain-resistant fabric means no amount of chocolate ice cream or snow cone dye is likely to do this hat in either, so go ahead—have your kid give it their best shot. The hats fit kids from age 6 months through 12 years — after which they might start borrowing your own Sunday Afternoons hat! There are infant options, too, including the Sunsprout Hat, made of a super soft fabric and with an easy chin strap to help keep it in place.
Longtime travel writer and adventurer Terry Ward lives in Florida with her husband and young son and daughter. She’s constantly on the lookout for the next Scandinavia Airlines Kids Fly Free deal to save money on flights to Norway, her favorite place to visit both in the winter (Northern Lights!) and summer (Midnight Sun!). A travel writer since 2001 (read: long before the kids came along), she’s written for such publications as Endless Vacation Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler and Scuba Diving Magazine, among many others. Find Terry on her website, Terry-Ward.com.