We all know that time outdoors is beneficial to our kids, but protecting their fragile skin from the sun’s harmful rays can be challenging.
A good sun hat will help keep your child’s face and neck from burning, but not all sun hats offer adequate shade. And a sun hat is only good if your child will keep it in place.
To help combat these issues, we’ve spent days searching for and testing the best kids sun hats — and we’ve come up with a pretty great list of options.
These sun hats are designed to stay in place and will keep your kids cool and shaded on even the hottest days. They offer both face and neck protection, so you can let your little ones enjoy a carefree outdoor childhood without any need to worry about harmful rays.
- UPF 50+ sun protection fabric
- Corrosion resistant eyelets
- Excellent sun protection
- Lightweight and wide brim
- One-handed drawcord adjustment
- Floating foam-stiffened brim
- Quick-dry material
- Adjustable toggle
- Wicking liner for comfort
- Water-resistant & breathable
- Wicking and quick-drying
- Breakaway removable chin cord
- Optimal protection
- UPF 50+ fabric
- Breathable and quick drying
- 100% cotton
- Breathable 50+ UPF fabric
- Easy toggle adjustment
When Should Kids Start Wearing Sun Hats?
It’s a great idea to use a sun hat right from the start. Many modern sun hats are designed to strap under your baby’s chin, fastening with a snap or a drawstring, so they stay put.
A newborn’s skin is so delicate and unaccustomed to sunlight that it can burn easily. It can set them up for dehydration, depending upon how long they’ve been out in the sun.
In addition, if your baby or child gets a single severe sunburn, their risk of someday developing melanoma can double (1).
You should keep using sun hats until your child grows old enough that they’ll no longer let you. But you’ll be able to call the shots for years, which will give your child plenty of sun protection.
While your children are young, teach them about sun safety so they’ll remember that lesson as they get older. You can use fun videos to help you.
How to Choose a Sun Hat for Kids
When your child is heading outside, you may think any hat is good enough to offer sun protection. And it’s definitely better to use a regular hat than nothing at all, but your best bet is to look for one designed for sun use.
Here are some features they should have:
A UPF Rating
Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) is much like the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) used for sunscreens. The only difference is that UPF applies to clothing, not a lotion.
A UPF rating lets consumers know how well a clothing article or hat can block ultraviolet radiation.
If an article of clothing or hat has a UPF of 25, that means that just 1/25th of the sun’s UV radiation will work its way through the fabric and onto a person’s skin (2). The highest UPF factor is 50 plus.
While you can buy hats that don’t have UPF ratings, you may not get great sun protection. Still, if you don’t have a hat with a UPF rating with you and your child is about to get some sun exposure, any hat is better than wearing nothing at all.
A Back Flap
Back flaps are a good idea for sun hats because they help protect the back of your child’s neck from sunburn.
If you have a child with long hair, it’s not as much of an issue — their hair will help protect their neck. But if your son or daughter has short hair, you should consider getting a hat with a back flap.
The neck flap portion also covers the ears and the sides of the neck, which is particularly useful because ears are often one of the most exposed and sun-damaged spots — especially on those with short hair. As such, it’s one of the prime areas for skin cancer to strike (3).
A Wide Brim
The brim should be wide enough and long enough to provide enough shade for your child’s face. That will give their nose additional protection from the sun.
You can get additional protection with bucket-style hats that have the same brim length all around. Or you can opt for a trucker-style hat with a wide front brim.
A Chin Strap
Chin straps on hats are good for more than just babies. They also are a great idea for older kids, particularly on windy days.
For toddlers who can’t stand having a tight chin strap against their skin, you can opt to use a drawstring cord instead. It’ll stop the hat from blowing away in windy conditions.
If you use a drawstring strap that hugs the chin snugly, ensure it includes a breakaway closure to prevent choking or suffocation.
A Moisture Wicking Barrier
When your child is outside in the summer, they can become a sweaty mess in record time. Part of this is because of the heat, and part of it is because they’re kids and they are naturally very active.
Because kids tend to work up a sweat outdoors, it helps if an absorbent headband or sweatband is built into the hat.
The Best Sun Hats for Kids of 2022
Here are our favorite sun hats for kids.
1. Tuga Girls Reversible Bucket Sun Hat
Best Sun Hat For Girls
This hat is like two hats in one with its reversible design. Choose between a brightly-colored pattern on one side or a solid color with a little pattern on the brim of the other side.
It comes in four sizes to fit kids of all ages, and there are many color and pattern options.
The hat’s fabric has a 50 plus UPF rating, so you can rest easy knowing that it’s blocking 98% of UVA and UVB rays. The Tuga sun hat will even protect sensitive skin, and it’s so lightweight, your child will feel comfortable wearing it all day.
The wide brim offers plenty of coverage, and it has an adjustable chin strap you can remove if your child won’t be out in windy conditions.
2. SwimZip Unisex Wide Brim Sun Hat
Best Baby Sun Hat
This hat is a great choice for babies because it has an adjustable chin strap that is snug enough for thinner babies while still fitting perfectly on those with lots of adorable chins. The breakaway chin strap prevents strangulation if it gets caught on something.
It also has a head strap to make it even more adjustable so your baby will be comfortable.
It comes with the highest UPF rating, 50 plus, and it has a wide brim all around the hat to give your baby shade from every angle. It comes in multiple colors, so you’ll be able to find one to coordinate with whatever your baby is wearing.
One of the stand-out features of this sun hat, especially at the beach, is that it floats, keeping it above water if it gets dropped.
3. Outdoor Research Kid’s Rambler Sun Hat
Best Big Kid Sun Hat
Your big kid will feel like an explorer in this hat. It looks like something an archaeologist would wear as they head off for a dig. There are a few solid colors to choose from, which may be more appealing to bigger kids for matching their outfits than a bright pattern would be.
While it’s not a 50 plus UPF rating, it does have a decent UPF rating of 30 plus. It also has a stiffened brim, so it won’t fold down around your child’s face, and it offers a lot of shade.
Older kids tend to get a lot sweatier than younger kids as they spend time outside with their friends. This hat has a headband in it for added moisture control and comfort.
The hat also has a drawstring you can adjust and a breakaway chin cord for emergencies.
4. i Play Baby and Toddler Sun Hat
Best Wide Brim Sun Hat
This hat has a wide, oversized brim that will keep your baby’s skin well protected from the sun’s harsh rays, and it has a UPF of 50 plus.
It comes in a number of solid colors — without any wild-looking patterns that will clash with your baby’s clothes. There are bright colors as well as neutral ones to go with any outfit.
These hats will fit babies and toddlers from newborn to 4T. You can tie the chin strap to keep the hat anchored to your child’s head in windy conditions, like a day at the beach. You’ll be able to concentrate on keeping them safe and having fun instead of keeping track of their hat all day.
If this hat gets dirty, you can toss it in the washing machine to clean it. The hat also has an adjustable toggle that will keep a tighter fit on your baby’s head and can be loosened as your baby grows.
5. Outdoor Research Helios Sun Hat
Best Sun Hat With a Chin Strap
This sun hat offers a UPF of 50, and it also has an external drawcord adjustment. The chinstrap is removable, which is nice for little ones who tend to pull at the straps or older ones who can be trusted to keep their hat in place.
This style comes in two sizes, and it has a headband to wick away moisture from your child’s forehead. The hats are lightweight and dry quickly if they get wet, whether from a day at the beach or because of excessive sweat.
The brim is wide enough to keep the sun off your child’s face, but not so wide that it would impact them if they’re having a very active day and don’t want a huge brim in their way. Kids can enjoy being rough and hands-on while wearing this hat.
6. Dinosaur Flap Hat
Best Sun Hat For Boys
This sun hat should be given the stamp of approval by little boys everywhere because of its cool dinosaur print. While kids will like it for its appearance, parents will appreciate that it has a long flap on the sides and back to protect their child’s neck and ears from the sun.
The flaps are breathable, so your child won’t be irritated and won’t feel like they’re carrying the weight of the world on their head. Because the material is so lightweight, they’ll get some airflow along with the sun protection.
It also has a long bill on the front to give plenty of shade for your boy’s nose.
This hat has a UPF rating of 50 plus and is made of swimsuit material, so it’ll work well both in or out of the water.
You’ll have to measure your child’s head to ensure a good fit because there are four sizes available, grouped according to age.
7. Twinklebelle Toddler Sun Hat
Best Toddler Sun Hat
These hats come in more than just the standard solid colors or crazy patterns — they also offer plaid and argyle. Made of 100% cotton, they are a good option for babies with sensitive skin.
The 50 plus UPF rating means you can trust this hat to offer superior sun protection — the best you can get. It has a chin strap that will keep it anchored to your baby’s head.
This sun hat folds easily to fit in your pocket or diaper bag when not in use. The front brim of the hat is reinforced to stay up instead of flopping into your baby’s eyes. It comes in five sizes that will work for babies, toddlers, and school-aged children.