Best Baby Sun Hats for Travel, Beach Days and Hiking

Author: Celine Brewer

Last Updated:

A baby sun hat is the best sun protection you can offer your baby when playing on the beach or even on a hike (in a hiking carrier). Of course, a baby beach tent, stroller sun shade or the canopy on a hike carrier will offer the most protection, but you baby won’t always be under cover. The next best thing is to cover your baby up!

As an outdoorsy mom, who has had her babies outside in the sun on the beach, while traveling and hiking, I know that it can be hard to keep your baby covered at all times. That’s why I recommend a baby sun hat for travel.

As SkinCancer.org explains, babies skin is so much more sensitive than ours and clothing is the best defense. They also include the recommendation of not using sunscreen on babies less than 6 months old. The top sun safety tips for infants from the FDA state that babies should wear a hat with a brim and neck covering.

Based on these recommendations, I always have a baby sun hat on my baby travel checklist and I never forget to pack it!  Plus they are small enough to just toss in your baby diaper bag backpack and have with you all the time.

mother holding smiling baby who is wearing one of the best baby sun hats
Our 9 month old in a baby sun hat in New Mexico.

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Best Baby Sun Hats

Infant sun hats come in various styles, like wide-brimmed floppy hats and bucket hats, as well as in a range of sizes, from hats that fit newborns to toddlers up to the age of 4! If you are like me, you’ll probably go through several different baby sun hats until you find one that works best for your family! With any luck, it will be one that your baby is willing to leave on!

A baby sun hat is one of our top baby beach essentials (and don’t forget some of these adorable baby sunglasses)! The sun hats for babies in our list are great for travel with babies or even hiking with a baby!

With our comprehensive list of the best baby sun hats out there and tips on how to choose one, you will have no issues finding the best one for your little one!

My Top Picks for the Best Baby Sun Hats

I know you don’t always have time to read. You’re a busy new parent! So here are my top picks for the best sun hats for babies:

Best Overall:

i play. Baby Flap Sun Protection Swim Hat – This baby sun hat is hard to beat. It is highly reviewed and loved by parents. It provides excellent coverage, is adjustable and has a chin strap to make sure it stays on!

Most Adorable Sun Hat for Baby Girls:

SimpliKids Wide Brim Baby Sun Hat – This floppy sun hat comes in an array of colors while still offering the UV protection that parents are looking for. The adjustable head and chin straps ensure it’s a good fit for your baby.

Best Wide Brim with Neck Protection:

JAN & JUL Wide Brim Adjustable Newborn Sun-Hat – Adjustable to fit with a chin strap to keep it on, this wide brim hat with a long neck protector is the ideal baby sun hat. Plus it can easily be folded and packed in your bag!

What to Look for in a Baby Sun Hat

Everyone knows that long-term exposure to the sun damages the skin. That’s why it’s so important to use sunscreen after your baby turns 6 months old, follow sun safety tips for babies, and choose the right sun hat for them. Take into account the following 10 things to look for to find the best sun hat for baby. 

1. Coverage

Coverage, when it comes to the best sun hats for baby, depends on two main factors: the width of the brim and the presence or absence of neck flaps. What you want to keep an eye out for is a hat that covers the ears, face, and neck. 

A sun hat with an all-around 3-inch brim is what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends. However, it’s also the case that many manufacturers online simply do not state the brim width in their product descriptions, which unfortunately leaves us guessing by the pictures.

baby girl sitting in inflatable pool wearing best baby sun hat
Our daughter playing in an inflatable pool wearing a sun hat.

Our suggestion? Measure and calculate your baby’s head diameter and subtract it from the total width of the sun hat. Then, divide that by 2 to arrive at the brim width. Yup, we did the math and came up with a formula for you – you’re welcome. 

As far as neck flaps go, just look for a sun hat that has a long piece of fabric that extends down till your baby’s throat. Depending on the type of clothing your baby wears and how comfortable they are with an additional layer, you might find that this one might not be as necessary. But we certainly recommend it! We have sun hats with and without neck flaps on our list so that you can pick the one that is right for your baby.

If your baby needs some time out of the sun a stroller sun shade or one of these baby beach tents is a great way to keep your baby away from the sun’s harmful rays.

2. Sun Protection

Babies need adult supervision at all times, especially when they are out in the sun, to protect them from overheating and the effects of the harsh sunlight. A sun hat with a UPF50+ rating that blocks 98% of the sun’s rays does a good job of helping with that and reduces the risk of exposure dramatically.

3. Adjustable

Because all babies heads are different shapes and sizes, it is important to buy a hat that can be adjusted. This also helps keep it in rotation for longer as your child grows. Most of the brands out there come with either elasticized backs or adjustable toggles.

4. Under the Chin Straps to Stay on

The best sun hats have adjustable chin straps that keep them in place despite fidgety fingers and extra windy days. While this feature is basically essential when it comes to functionality, it can occasionally prove to be somewhat difficult to maneuver. 

The issue arises with infants who haven’t yet developed the dexterity to loosen the ties if they really need to, and toddlers, on the other hand, who find nothing more entertaining than tugging on the dangling strings under their chins! To combat this issue, some brands feature chin straps that incorporate a breakaway “no choke” fastener for extra security and to avoid any mishaps from taking place. These are definitely worth keeping an eye out for! 

baby sitting on beach wearing one of the best baby boy sun hats
Our son in a bucket sun hat for babies in San Diego.

5. Breathability

Look for sun hats with mesh vents or holes for ventilation to help keep your baby feeling cool, dry, and happy. Always keep a close watch on your little one to make sure they do not overheat as babies are not born with the ability to regulate their own temperature. 

Use a stroller fan or handheld fan with a mister like this one to keep your baby cool!

6. Washability

Outdoor fun in the summer is a dusty and sweaty affair, especially if you are on the beach with a baby or out camping with your little one. That’s why a baby sun hat for travel should be easy to wash and quick to dry as well. Purchase a machine-washable one for maximum convenience.

7. Use for Swimming

An all-inclusive vacation with a baby means one thing for sure – plenty of time in the water! Whether it be at the pool or a beach, your baby will need their sun hat ready to use and comfortably dry. This means that apart from being breathable, the sun hat’s material should also be waterproof or at least water-resistant with quick-drying properties.

Baby sitting in lake with mountains in background wearing one of the best baby girl sun hats
Our daughter wearing a sun hat with chin strap in Canmore, Alberta Canada.

8. Packable

Traveling with an infant or a baby is challenging enough. We do not need bulky accessories that add to our luggage or unnecessarily stretch out our on-the-go bags. The good news is that most sun hats are designed in a way that allows them to either be folded flat or rolled up to fit perfectly into a diaper bag or under a stroller, eliminating this issue entirely.

9. Suitable Size

If an accessory doesn’t fit a baby just right, you better believe they’re going to kick up a fuss about it. Play it safe and measure your baby’s head circumference before making a purchase. Even if the product’s size chart goes by age, keep in mind that every baby grows differently so it’s best to rely on measurements above all else.

10. Style

What’s cuter than a baby? A baby in a sun hat! There are a variety of brands and products out there that offer different colors, quirky prints, elegant patterns, and unique styles. Whether it’s a baby straw sun hat, a baseball visor, or a floppy hat, all the products on this list will keep your baby safe from the sun, so you might as well choose the best baby sun hat that offers plenty of good photo ops!

bother walking with baby in carrier wearing pink infant sun hat
Carrying our 9 month old baby wearing a sun hat in NYC.

Other Baby Travel Resources

The Best Baby Sun Hats for Travel

This post was written & edited by:

info@babycantravel.com | Website | + posts

Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.

Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.

Read more about Celine Brewer.