Written By
Published Sep. 26, 2021

Unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage children’s delicate skin, even on cloudy days. Too much sun can cause burns, heat exhaustion and other health issues, and it’s hard to rely on sunscreen alone, as it must be frequently and thoroughly reapplied to be effective. The wisest approach is to partner sunscreen with a sun hat to protect kids when playing outdoors.

The best kids’ sun hat will be made of material with a high ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). Breathable fabric is also a plus to help little ones stay cool in the heat.  The brim should be wide enough to shade the face and eyes; some styles have a longer brim at the back to also protect the neck and shoulders. While a chin strap is great for keeping the hat in place, an anti-choke style will come apart if necessary. 

With such a broad spectrum of kids’ sun hats on the market now in a wide variety of styles from a host of manufacturers, choosing a top-notch topper can be tricky. Here are our recommendations for the perfect sun hat for the children you love. 

How We Picked the Best Kids’ Sun Hats

Methodology 

A dedicated sun hat is a must-have for a child. As a parent, I’m constantly reapplying sunscreen to my little one, but a wide brimmed sun hat helps ease my concern by offering an extra level of protection. I’ve researched and written about many children’s products over the years, and attention to certain criteria ensures a quality product. These kids’ sun hat recommendations are based on a few standards, including brim width, adjustability, breathability, comfort, sizes, colors/patterns and perhaps most importantly the degree of sun protection built into the fabric.

The Best Kids’ Sun Hats: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Connectyle Kids UPF 50+ Mesh Safari Sun Hat

All Day-Outdoor Play

This safari-style hat provides sun protection of UPF 50 and comes in fun colors kids will like to wear. Connectyle

Check Price

Why It Made The Cut: Connectyle’s wide-brimmed sun hat offers the best overall fit and exceptional sun protection, and kids can choose their favorite color.

Specs: 

  • Breathable polyester fabric 
  • UPF rating of 50+
  • Blocks 98 percent of UV rays

Pros:

  • Chin fastener and elastic drawcord
  • Mesh side vents
  • Moisture wicking sweatband
  • Wide brim

Cons:

  • Velcro strap may not be every caretaker’s preference

This versatile Connectyle child’s sun hat offers great protection and thoughtful construction for outdoor fun. It’s made from soft, breathable polyester with a UPF of 50+. This protection rating combined with the wide 2.5-inch foldable floppy brim make for exceptional sun protection for a little one’s scalp, face, and nape. 

The sun hat has an adjustable elastic drawcord and an anti-choke velcro chin strap that keeps the hat secure yet comes undone if snagged. Breathable mesh sides help regulate body temperature and a wicking sweatband absorbs perspiration.

The safari style resembles the sort of hats adults might purchase at an outdoor store, making it well suited for hiking, beach-going and even playing in the water. It comes in 14 cool colors so kids can pick their favorite. 

Best Value: MaxNova Baby Sun Hat Toddler Summer

Two for One

This pair of bucket hats provides top protection and dries quickly, making it ideal for water parks and backyard fun. MaxNova

Check Price

Why It Made The Cut: Kids like variety and grownups like to save money, so MaxNova offers two hats in different colors/patterns for the affordable price of one.

Specs: 

  • Made from high quality, breathable polyester
  • Three size options, including 0 to 6 months, 6 to 24 months, and 2 to 7 years
  • UPF 50+

Pros:

  • Quick dry, breathable fabric
  • Adjustable chin strap
  • Mesh interior

Cons:

  • Sizing fits a little snug

For the cost of one hat from a competitor, consumers get two of these Max Nova sun hats. Beyond the bargain, there are various reasons for having two hats on hand: Kids (and caretakers) misplace items all the time, so backup is a benefit. A choice of colors or patterns may match better with different outfits, and when one hat gets dirty, a fresh one may be available.  

The bucket hat design has a 2.5-inch wide brim and is made from a breathable polyester with a mesh interior, helping sweat and heat escape. The fabric may feel thin, but it boasts UPF 50+ and the lighter material may actually feel more comfortable to kids. This hat dries quickly, making it well suited for water parks and backyard pools.

There’s an adjustable chin strap and fit band to ensure that the hat stays on. But these models run a bit snug, so size up if the child is close to the next age size; thanks to the adjustment band, the circumference can be tightened now and loosened as the child grows. 

Best for the Beach: SwimZip Kid’s Sun Hat

Fun and Floatable

This swim hat comes with a chin strap to keep it in place, and it also floats. SwimZip

Check Price

Why It Made The Cut: Purposely designed for wear in the water, this hat will float if it falls off and dries quickly.

Specs: 

  • Polyester fabric 
  • UPF rating of 50+
  • Floats in the water

Pros: 

  • Adjustable chin and head straps
  • Anti-choke clasp
  • Wide brim
  • High UPF rating

Cons:

  • Anti-choke clasp opens if child pulls hard enough

The SwimZip kids’ sun hat is the ultimate accessory for little ones who love the water, since it will float if it comes off and its polyester fabric dries in a flash. With its UPF rating of 50+ and a wide brim that covers the face and back of the neck, it offers excellent protection from damaging rays. 

This sun hat has adjustable head and chin straps to ensure proper fit. While the drawstring chin strap helps secure the hat, its anti-choke clasp will come undone if there is tension. This is a great safety feature but, as babies become smarter, stronger toddlers, they’ll likely figure out how to pull the hat off on their own.

The SwimZip also boasts mesh siding to keep a child’s head cooler, water resistant eyelets that won’t corrode over time and a choice of nine color options. Shopping tip: Pick a bright shade to easily spot your child in a crowded kiddie pool. 

Best Sun Coverage: Camptrace Toddler Sun Hat for Kids

Functional and Effective

This sun hat provides more coverage than most and is ideal for a day outside. Camptrace

Check Price

Why It Made The Cut: Camptrance’s well-constructed sun hat not only has a high UPF, it covers more skin than other styles.

Specs: 

  • UPF 50+
  • Blocks 98 percent (or more) of UV rays
  • Made from a waterproof, quick-dry nylon fabric

Pros:

  • Wide brim with neck and shoulder coverage
  • Chin fastener strap
  • Mesh side vents and sweatband
  • Foldable 

Cons:

  • No option for babies

This Camptrance hat suits long days at the beach, on the trail, or out in a canoe. Made of premium quick-dry nylon, it’s comfortable, lightweight, and ultra protective, thanks to its 50+ UPF as well as a 3.5-inch brim and extra back coverage to protect the neck and shoulders. A moisture-wicking sweatband and mesh side vents help a child stay cool. 

The hat comes in two sizes, 2 to 5T and 5 to 10 years old, but there’s no option for babies. Use the adjustable strap on the back to customize the size for a comfortable fit. An adjustable chin strap keeps the hat secure. While it may not be the cutest hat around—it’s more about protection than fashion—it is available in six color choices.

Most Stylish Sun Hat: Connectyle Unisex Fedoras Boater Hat

Sun Protection with Style

This dressy hat is perfect for picnics and outdoor gatherings. Connectyle

Check Price

Why It Made The Cut: Connectyle’s fedora style sun hat is ideal for trendy tykes, but it still stands up to the sun. 

Specs: 

  • 3.15-inch brim
  • 100 percent polyester
  • Sizes for kids 6 months to 12 years

Pros:

  • Wide brim
  • Moisture wicking sweatband
  • Detachable chin strap and adjustable band
  • Flexible and foldable 

Cons:

  • No UPF rating listed

When looking good for al fresco fun is important—at an outdoor birthday party or wedding reception, perhaps—Connectyle’s polyester straw boater fashionably fills the bill. The product description doesn’t offer a UPF rating, but the wide 3.15-inch brim will cast ample across a child’s face and neck. The hat’s tightly woven construction prevents sun from shining through but still allows for temperature regulation.

There’s a moisture-wicking sweatband to keep little heads dry, a detachable chin strap, and a red-and-blue adjustment strap that looks like stylish trim. Unlike some other straw hats for kids, this Connectyle model has a flexible design that holds up to folding, playing, and packing. It comes in five different sizes to fit babies up to pre-teens, and it’s unisex—equally cute on girls and boys. 

Best Pattern: Sarfel Baby Sun Hat Toddler Hats

Patterns Plus Practicality

Available in a range of fun designs, these hats also provide strong sun protection. Sarfel

Check Price

Why It Made The Cut: While most children’s sun hats come in solid colors, Sarfel boasts a slew of fun, fresh, kid-friendly patterns along with excellent sun protection. 

Specs:

  • High-quality, lightweight polyester fabric
  • UPF 50+
  • Sized for kids six months to 12 years old

Pros:

  • Wide brim
  • Foldable 
  • 15 different patterns
  • 50+ UPF

Cons:

  • A child’s pattern preference may change as they age

Sharks and dinosaurs and ladybugs, oh my! Sarfel’s sun hats come in 15 different patterns to suit a host of childhood favorites. And if next year your little one decides that a certain print is so-o-o-o-o 2021, the hats are affordable enough to let you keep a revolving wardrobe going. 

Made from soft polyester with a wide brim, these bucket hats offer a UPF rating of 50+. Other standout features include a removable adjustable chin strap for security, an adjustable band to get just the right fit, and a fabric that folds up for toting and bounces back wrinkle-free. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Kids’ Sun Hat

When kids spend time outside, they need proper protection to stay safe from UV rays. To choose a sun hat for your child, keep these considerations in mind as you shop.

Purpose

Select a hat that suits the activities the child engages in. Kids who love the water are best off with a floatable, fast-drying swim hat, while those that run around a lot, playing sports and having adventures, need a hat with moisture-wicking qualities. And if you’ve got a little style icon on your hands, find a fashionable style that comes in a host of cool colors and patterns. 

UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor)

This rating measures how much sun protection you can expect from a particular item. A UPF rating over 40 is excellent coverage, and these picks are predominantly UPF 50+. 

Coverage

In addition to a high UPF, the best kids’ sun hats feature wide brims to fully cover the child’s face. Many have extra material in the back to shield the necks and shoulders too. 

Chin Straps

Some tots are notorious for yanking their hats off their heads. A chin strap will keep a hat secure, and some quality models have a removable chin strap (older kids may consider a chin strap uncool). Keep in mind that an anti-choke chin strap will unclasp if it gets snagged.  

Breathability 

In the cold weather, winter hats trap heat; sun hats should do the opposite. Look for a design and fabric that promotes air flow. Mesh interiors or siding helps regulate body temperature and prevents little heads from becoming overly warm and moist from sweat.

Ease of Care

Like all kids clothing, sun hats are prone to getting dirty on the daily. Most of the picks here are made from a polyester fabric, which is typically machine washable. We also selected durable, well-constructed hats that can stand up to repeated washings and loads of rough-and-tumble outdoor play.

Value

Children are prone to losing their hats—not to mention outgrowing them! Fortunately, there are plenty of budget-friendly models around. All the hats in this guide are well made and fairly affordable, so with proper care they should last more than a single summer. 

Style

No sun hat will do its job if a kid refuses to wear it. Many of the models described here are ever-popular, cool, and casual bucket hats, and we also selected toppers that come in different colors and patterns that appeal to all types of kids. Some youngsters might prefer the safari-style offering, which looks like something an adventurous grownup would wear, and the straw boater is an adorable choice for a fancy occasion.

FAQs

A proper sun hat is another level of sun protection for your little one. While some parents may select a hat without much research, there are added benefits for your little one if you make an informed decision. We’ve assembled some of the frequently asked questions and answers about kids sun hats to help you learn a bit more about these products.

Q: What’s the difference between a sun hat and a regular hat?

A sun hat is a head covering specifically designed to shade the face and shoulders from the sun, and many are designed with sun-protective materials, which you can find out about through the UPF rating. A regular hat is meant primarily for style, though these may offer some level of sun protection (but may lack breathability). 

Q: What hat is best for sun protection?

The best hat for sun protection provides shade to the head, ears, face, and neck. These types of hats have a broad brim. Bucket hats with a wide brim and legionnaire style hats provide the most protection.

Q: Do sun hats actually work?

A sun hat can provide sun relief, and help shield your children from the sun’s ultraviolet rays (which can prevent sunburns and other health issues caused by UV rays).

Final Thoughts

For all day outdoor play, kids need protection from harsh UV rays with the best sun hat. Fortunately, there are quality options for kids of all ages, from babies through pre-teens. For versatility, comfort, simple style and ultimate protection, it’s hard to beat the Connectyle Kids UPF 50+ Mesh Safari Sun Hat

MORE TO READ