I never travel without a toddler sun hat! A good toddler sun hat is key to fun in the sun while making sure my toddler’s skin is still protected. I even pack a toddler sun hat for trips that don’t involve the beach, since it’s the easiest way to keep sensitive sun protected.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a hat with an all-around 3-inch brim to shield the face, ears, and back of the neck to get the best protection. As a parent to a toddler, I can tell you that the easiest way to protect a toddler from the sun is to cover up! There’s nothing quite as difficult as trying to lather up a wiggly toddler with sunscreen nevermind those reapplications!
As part of my sun safety tips for toddlers on the beach and included as one of my top toddler beach essentials, I always recommend one of these best toddler sun hats that has a neck flap for extra protection. Having a toddler sun hat that you can get your toddler to leave on is a serious game changer when out and about at the beach or on a hike with your toddler, plus it’s easy to just toss it in your diaper bag!
What You’ll Find in This Article on the Best Toddler Sun Hats:
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Best Toddler Sun Hats
The best sun hats for toddlers come in various styles, like wide-brimmed floppy hats and bucket hats, as well as in a range of sizes, from hats that fit 6 months old to even kids up till the age of 8! Here you’ll find all the best toddler sun hats that are rated by their sun protective abilities, breathability, and many other features to make finding the best toddler sun hat for your tot a piece of cake.
My Top Picks for the Best Toddler Sun Hats for Travel
I know you don’t always have time to read the full article, so here are my top picks for the best sun hats for toddlers:
SwimZip Toddler Wide Brim Sun Protection Hat – This toddler sun hat has a nice wide brim to offer a ton of sun protection, plus it has a chin strap that adjusts along with the head strap!
My Personal Favorite:
Sunday Afternoons Kids Play Hat – This is the one you’ll see on my kids over and over. I love this toddler sun hat. The extra wide brim and neck protection are some of the best I’ve seen PLUS it’s so easy to pack! My little ones have used these hats on almost every trip we have taken!
A Third Option:
iPlay Sun Protection Hat – Another great hat that has an head adjustment and chin strap. You just can’t argue with the price or ratings of this toddler hat!
What to Look for in a Toddler Sun Hat
When it comes to choosing a toddler sun hat with adequate coverage, the width of the brim and the presence or absence of neck flaps are the main factors.
A wide brim hat that covers the ears, face, and neck is what I look for!
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that a sun hat with a 3-inch brim is what children should wear, but it just so happens that most manufacturers online simply do not list the brim width as a detail in their product descriptions. This unfortunately leaves us guessing by the pictures provided.
Our suggestion? Measure your toddler’s head circumference, calculate their head diameter, and then subtract it from the total width of the sun hat. Divide that by 2 and you’ll have arrived at the brim width.
As far as neck flaps go, just look for a sun hat that has a long piece of fabric that extends down till your toddler’s throat. Depending on the type of clothing your toddler wears and how comfortable they are with an additional layer, you might find this feature to not be as necessary. But I still recommend it!
Our list includes the best sun hats for toddlers with and without neck flaps so that you can pick the one that is right for your toddler.
An important factor in choosing the best toddler sun hat for maximum sunburn protection and prevention is the fabric used to make it. This is because little ones need adult supervision at all times 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 risks that come with sun exposure dramatically.
Since all toddlers have unique heads that are different in size and shape, a toddler sun protection hat that is adjustable is highly recommended. This also helps keep it in use for longer as your child grows.
Most of the brands out there make an adjustable toddler sun hat with either elasticized backs or adjustable toggles.
Under the Chin Straps to Stay on
If your toddler is easily annoyed by accessories and extra things, then toddler sun hats with chin straps might be a good option for you. In our experience, the chin strap was a must for our toddler to leave it in place.
These straps are essentially two pieces of fabric or string that extend down the sides of the hats and connect under the chin to help keep the hat stay put on your toddlers’ heads. This is an ideal feature for fiddly toddlers and windy days.
While crucial when it comes to functionality, it can occasionally prove to be a little difficult to maneuver. The issue arises with young ones who have yet to develop 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!
Choose a breathable toddler sun hat with mesh vents or holes for ventilation to help keep your toddler feeling cool, dry, and happy.
Remember to always keep a close eye on your little one to make sure that they do not overheat as babies are not born with the ability to regulate their own temperature and are only able to do so around the 2 year age mark.
Outdoor fun during the summertime is both a dusty and sweaty affair, especially if you are on the beach or out camping with your child. That’s why a toddler sun hat for travel should not only be easy to wash but also quick to dry. Purchase a machine-washable one for maximum convenience.
Use for Swimming
An all-inclusive vacation with a toddler means one thing for sure – plenty of time in the water! Whether it be at the pool or a beach, your toddler will need their sun hat ready to use and comfortably dry.
This means that apart from being breathable, look for a toddler waterproof sun hat or at least one that is water-resistant with quick-drying properties.
Traveling with an infant or a toddler is challenging enough, which is why we do not need bulky accessories that add to our luggage or unnecessarily stretch out our backpack diaper bags!
The good news is that most toddler sun hats are designed keeping traveling parents in mind. These sun hats either fold flat or roll up to fit perfectly into a diaper bag or stroller bag, and eliminate this issue entirely.
What’s cuter than a toddler? A toddler wearing a sun hat, of course! To prove that sun protection doesn’t have to be boring, there are loads of brands and products out there that offer different colors, quirky prints, elegant patterns, and unique styles.
Whether it’s a toddler straw sun hat, a baseball visor, or a floppy hat, all the products on this list are guaranteed to keep your toddler safe from the sun.
So you might as well choose one that offers plenty of good photo ops!
Other Toddler Travel Gear
This post was written & edited by:
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.