Summer is just around the corner and that means more time spent outside. Yay! Family walks, beach days, and outdoor play are in our futures, and it is important to make sure our families are protected from the sun’s harmful rays.
A baby’s skin is extremely sensitive, especially when it comes to the harmful UVB/UVA rays that the sun emits. Even on cloudy days, your little one’s sensitive skin can get damaged from the sun’s strong beams and the tops of the head are often overlooked when it comes to sun protection with sunscreen and lotions. There are several different options for baby hats including different styles and materials but one thing is certain- your little one definitely needs to have one on when they are outside.
Why Do Babies Need Hats?
Babies’ skin is extremely sensitive to the sun’s harmful UVB/UVA rays. The tops of their heads often do not have as much hair as a toddler, leaving them with less natural protection that hair often provides. In addition, their faces are extremely sensitive to the sun and need to be protected by both sunscreen and shade from a hat.
Babies’ skin is up to 30% thinner than an adult’s skin, making it more susceptible to changes in temperature. Since their skin is thinner, they also do not hold moisture as well as adults so their skin can become dry and irritated more quickly. It also tends to be more sensitive to lotions, creams, and sweat which can cause uncomfortable rashes and eczema.
Baby hats are extremely important for babies younger than 6-months old because it is not recommended that they use any type of sunscreen because of their delicate skin. From 6 months and older, you can use a child-friendly sunscreen, like a mineral-based sunscreen, on your baby’s skin but they should also wear a hat for coverage on the tops of their head as well as for additional coverage on their face.
It is important to ensure that the sunscreen you do use for your 6-months and older babies is safe for them. Some of the most harmful and volatile chemicals are found in many commercial sunscreens making them dangerous for babies and for adults. Some of the chemicals you might find in many sunscreens are:
- Avobenzone, a benzophenone
- Diazolidinyl urea
- DMDM Hydantoin
- Sodium lauryl and sodium Laureth
With a chemical list like this, it is no wonder that those younger than 6-months old are not recommended to use sunscreen but it’s obvious why older children and even adults should avoid using some of the most popular, and affordable, sunscreens.
If you are looking for safer options for your little one to use out in the sun, or for yourself, you should consider a sunscreen that contains mineral zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is a mineral that sits on top of the skin, scattering, reflecting, and absorbing UVA & UVB rays. It is a natural protectant and it is widely used in broad-spectrum sunscreens, can be safely applied in repeated doses without the risk of local skin toxicity. A recent study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that after five days of repeated application of zinc oxide to the skin that there was no local toxicity or penetration into the skin. ” Repeated application of ZnO-NPs (zinc oxide nanoparticles) to the skin, as used in global sunscreen products, appears to be safe, with no evidence of ZnO-NP penetration into the viable epidermis nor toxicity in the underlying viable epidermis. It was associated with the release and penetration of zinc ions into the skin, but this did not appear to cause local toxicity.”
However, sunscreen only provides a certain level of protection and should not be considered a catch-all in protecting your little one. Sunscreen is often not applied properly (you should apply it 15 minutes before you go outside) and it is often not reapplied often enough to give your baby sufficient protection from the sun. Therefore, baby hats offer a secondary level of protection on your baby’s face and neck that sunscreen on its own cannot provide.
What Type of Material is Best to Protect Baby?
Even when you are using a safe, mineral-based sunscreen it is important to continue to use a hat for your baby and your toddlers. Most babies and toddlers do not have the natural protectant of hair to protect their scalps from the sun and long days outside. In addition, hats provide an extra layer of protection by blocking the sun from directly hitting your little one’s face.
Many baby hats are made with a polyester blend. Although this is not the most eco-friendly version, this material does allow for UPF 50+ protection, which gives added protection to your baby’s head, face, and neck. These hats are also great for active days or when you are at the beach or the pool as they dry quickly, they are easy to clean from sand and dirt, and they are extremely lightweight and cool.
Other options for baby hats are cotton or muslin cotton. Both give your child additional protection from the sun’s harmful rays but they do not allow the same UPF 50+ protection that polyester blend material hats provide. They are also harder to clean, dry more slowly, and are often hotter to wear in the summer months.
Types of Baby Hats
There are several different types of baby hats available. The type of baby hat you are looking for may depend on the season, on the weather climate, on your family’s activity level, your family’s needs, and your personal style. You may want to consider several different options for baby’s hats to wear on different occasions and for different needs for your little one.
The best hats for active things like beach days, hikes, trail walks, and general outdoor playtime are the polyester blend hats. This is because they are easy to clean, lightweight, and dry quickly. These types of hats are also often styled in a way that gives baby increased protection. Styles include bucket-style, safari-style, and wide-brimmed floppy hats. Bucket-style hats often look like typical fisherman style hats that your grandfather might have worn. Safari-style hats often have a short and wide brim with an additional flap to protect your baby’s neck. Wide-brimmed floppy hats are increasingly trendy, especially for little girls, and give low to the face coverage all around their face and head.
Additionally, there are other types of hats you may want to consider for everyday use. Trucker-style or baseball hats are great for cool little boys. Baby turbans are adorable on little girls for play dates or errand running. There are also bonnet-style hats that are simply adorable for boys and girls that offer protection on the head and the face. These style hats are often made of cotton, though, so they are harder to clean and take longer to dry. They are great options for play dates, days at the park, or regular, everyday activities.
Ways to Keep Baby Hats On
One of the hardest things to combat with baby hats is your child’s inability to actually keep it on his or her’s head. Little babies move around so much that it may be hard to keep them in place. Older babies with better hand-eye coordination may be tempted to repeatedly take them on and off for play or simply because they don’t love wearing a hat.
The best way to ensure that your little one keeps hats on their heads is to start early. Start putting a hat on your little one at a young age, even as a newborn, so they get used to having one on their head, and it isn’t a “new thing” as they get older and more vocal about what they do and do not like. Even if your baby wears a hat every day of their lives, they still might enjoy taking it on and off as a game (an exhausting one, though). Many baby hats come with adjustable straps that you can tie or tighten to ensure that the hat stays on your baby’s head- or at least make it harder for them to try and take off.
Best Baby Hats for Your Little One’s Noggin
Your baby will head out on a pineapple hunt with this cute sun hat from green sprouts. Made from 100% polyester, this baby hat has UPF 50+ protective material that blocks up to 98% of harmful UVA and UVB rays. The short brim allows him or her to see easily, while the neck cover adds additional coverage for your little one’s sensitive neck. There is a drawstring around the head that allows you to adjust the hat to fit your little one’s noggin so it is secure and doesn’t fly off. The chin strap adds an additional security from those who like to try and take their hat off repeatedly. There is a sweat-absorbent inner band, and it is lightweight and comfortable enough to wear all day long.
This i play. wide-brimmed hat by green sprouts is another great option for the sun. With 50+ UPF protection, your sweet babe’s head will be protected from 98% of the harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun. The wide brim makes it a perfect option for a day at the beach as it will cover all around their head. The signature head drawstring from green sprouts allows you to tighten or loosen the head shape so that it fits your little one perfectly, and they won’t be able to take it off repeatedly. The chin strap makes sure it doesn’t blow away, too (or get thrown off). It comes in a variety of colors so you can get one that matches all of your little one’s outfits and bathing suits.
If you’re looking for a cute, everyday hat that your little one can wear while out on the town or while running errands, nothing quite says summer like this strawberry baby turban from Monica + Andy. Made from 100% organic cotton, this cute turban-style hat is super cute on all little girls and protects them from the sun’s harmful rays. They have several other colors and designs, so you can pick the one that fits your little one’s style and her summer looks.
This cute safari-style hat from green sprouts is perfect for a day out adventuring in the sun. With 50+ UPF protection, your explorer’s head will be protected from 98% of the harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun. The additional neck protection ensures that his or her neck is protected from the sun, too. Both the adjustable head drawstring and chin strap ensure that it stays on your little one’s head easily without it coming off from the wind or little hands playing around. There is a wide yet short brim so that their face and eyes are covered.
This sweet cotton bucket hat from Two Birdees is perfect for everyday wear. The wide brim will keep your little one’s head protected from the sun, while the lightweight and breathable Pima cotton will still be cool enough in hot weather. The Kissy Kissy bucket hat is made with 100% organic Peruvian Pima cotton and comes in a variety of colors so it is a great everyday option for little boys and little girls.
It’s a dino-stomping good time with this water-resistant dinosaur designed hat from Zanko. The lightweight material makes it easy to wear all day long, especially in the hot sun or at the beach. It dries quickly and cleans easily, especially with things like sand and dirt. The adjustable chin strap allows you to fit it comfortably on your little one without it bothering their neck or chin, and preventing them from taking it off easily. It is the perfect addition to your daily rotation of baby hats, especially those that you might want to have on hand for the beach or water play.
This bucket-style hat from green sprout is an eco-friendly mesh baby hat that is beach-ready. The material is lightweight and breathable, and it will keep baby’s head dry even when they are sweaty. The internal sweatband keeps it from going into your little one’s eyes and the unique adjustable head strap makes sure it fits securely onto your little one’s head. The chin strap makes sure they can’t fling it off, too. The wide brim all around the hat keeps them protected with UPF 50+, protecting them from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays.
Not all baby hats need to look like you are headed out to safari or a beach vacation. This cute trucker-style hat is a great option for all the cool cats and kittens out there. They have a variety of styles that are super cool but they also will keep your little one’s head and face protected from the sun’s harmful rays. This is a great option for toddlers, too, as they are more likely to keep it secure on their heads.
Looking for an everyday option for your sugar and spice little girl? This cute straw bonnet is great for days spent at the park or time visiting friends. The straw is lightweight but there is also an inner cotton liner that makes it comfortable to wear for your little one for the entire day. It is a great option to have in your arsenal for baby hats outside of activewear style hats like beach hats and polyester hats.
“Blessed be the fruit” might be your baby’s first words in these cute bonnet-style sun hats. The lightweight muslin cotton is super soft and gets softer with each wash. The chin tie ensures that it stays on your little one’s head and the wide brim keeps their face protected from the sun. They come in a variety of colors so you can have one for every style and outfit as your little one steps out into the light.
Summer is a wonderful time to be outside. And after many of us have spent the past few months inside we are starting to get an itch to spend extra time in the sun. That also means that you have to be extra careful if you have a baby with little hair and no natural protection from the sun, as well as careful with the sun’s harmful rays on your little one’s face. You should have probably have a few different options depending on your baby’s affinity for hats (or lack thereof), your personal style, and your family’s daily activities where a hat may necessary.
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