You put it on. He takes it off. You put it back on. He takes it back off. Does this sound familiar? Know that when it comes to babies and hats, you are not alone if your baby hates wearing his hat.
Your baby may hate wearing his hat – that’s pretty common – and it may seem easier to give in, but that’s not a good idea as he can’t regulate his own body temperature yet and he’s not able to tell you if he’s too hot or cold. If you are outside in either chilly weather or direct sunlight, your baby’s head should always be covered.
Read on for a more in-depth dive into why babies and toddlers resist wearing hats and some helpful tips you can try to encourage them to wear theirs.
Why do babies hate hats
There are a number of reasons your baby might hate wearing a hat, and unfortunately, since they can’t exactly tell you, it may take some guesswork on your part.
Baby might hate wearing a hat because they are uncomfortable. Babies have very sensitive skin and if the hat is an itchy or irritating material, it will bother him. It’s important to choose a soft, high-quality material hat for your baby to wear.
If your baby is going to be outside in cold weather or in direct sun, it’s important for him to keep that hat on. Children lose more heat through their heads than adults do, which is why it’s a good idea to keep his head covered in cold weather. One of the factors for how much heat you can lose through your head is how much hair you have on your head. Since babies tend to have little to no hair, they can lose heat pretty quickly through their heads.
Baby’s skin is also thinner and more delicate than an adult’s, which makes them at great risk for getting sunburned. Wearing a large brimmed hat in the summer that protects their head, necks, ears, and eyes from the sun is essential.
When do babies need to wear hats?
In general, babies need to wear a hat if it’s cold outside.
If you would feel warmer with a hat on, your baby definitely needs one.
A good rule of thumb is to dress your little one like you would then add a layer, and this is especially true of hats since babies tend to lose heat quickly through their heads.
Should babies wear hats indoors?
Even though your baby got a hat in the hospital, even your newborn probably doesn’t need to wear a hat indoors.
Unless your house is unusually chilly, your baby should be fine without a hat inside.
Since most homes are kept between 68 and 76 degrees, babies should be plenty comfortable without a hat on.
Should babies sleep in a hat?
Lots of sweet little pajama outfits come with matching hats, but you shouldn’t actually use them during nap time or overnight.
Your baby should never sleep in a hat because he needs to be able to release his body heat through his head if he is too hot (especially since many infants sleep swaddled).
In fact, wearing a hat while sleeping may cause a baby to overheat, increasing the risk of SIDS.
Do newborns need hats in the summer?
If the weather is warm enough that you are comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt, then your baby probably doesn’t need a hat to stay warm.
Although newborns don’t need to wear a hat in the summer to keep from getting too cold, they should always wear a hat for protection if they’re going to be in the direct sun at all. Baby’s skin is much more sensitive than an adult’s and they can burn or overheat very quickly.
If you and your baby are planning to spend some time outside in the direct sun, a nice lightweight hat that has UV blocking material is a good idea.
Does baby need a hat outside?
If it’s cold outside and you are in long sleeves or a jacket, it’s likely that baby might need a hat.
Whatever you are comfortable in, add one layer for your baby and that should keep them cozy and warm. If it’s warm out and you are comfortable without a hat, your baby likely doesn’t need one either.
That is of course unless he will be in the direct sun. If that’s the case, a sun hat should do the trick.
When can newborns stop wearing hats?
Babies are immediately given hats in the hospital to help keep them warm as they adjust to life outside of the womb.
Once your baby leaves the hospital, he can stop wearing a hat all the time unless it’s cold in your house or you need to take him out into the cold.
If your baby was premature, he may still need a little extra layer until his weight catches up to the weight of a full-term baby.
Why do toddlers hate hats
Toddlers may not like their hat for a number of reasons.
A big reason a lot of toddlers hate to wear hats is that they want to be unrestricted and feel uncomfortable with something on their head.
Toddlers tend to be opinionated so they may just not like the hat you picked out for them. Involving your toddler in the hat picking process may help.
Do toddlers need to wear hats
Although you make think of your little one as a big boy or girl once they start walking around, the truth is they are still developing in some very basic and potentially surprising ways. They don’t even have the ability to regulate their body temperature until they’re nearly two years old, and even then they’re more sensitive to temperature changes than you are.
Because toddlers are sensitive to temperature changes, it’s important to keep them as protected from sudden changes as possible. In the winter, they should wear a warm hat, especially if it’s wet or windy. In the summer, they should wear a floppy hat, preferably one with UV protection.
If they’re in direct sunlight during the summer, it’s important for toddlers to protect their head, neck, and ears from the sun because their skin is sensitive and likely to burn. Wearing a breathable sun hat is a good idea.
Children under the age of five tend to have finer hair, so their heads aren’t protected from wind and debris. For this reason, it’s a good idea for toddlers to wear hats if it’s cold or windy outside.
How do I get my baby to wear a hat?
A hat is yet another brand new thing for your baby, and it may take some getting used to before he agrees to keep it on his head for longer than five seconds. There’s a couple of different things you can try, but ultimately, the key is to keep trying.
Just like new foods, sometimes it simply takes repeat exposure.
Babies can be easily distracted. You may try to give your baby a favorite toy or even a snack and place the hat on their head. With any luck, he will forget it’s there.
Make it fun
Make wearing his hat a game. You can put the hat on your head, then put it on his head. Maybe even put it on backward. Be silly and make it fun. If baby associates wearing the hat with something fun, then he might start to like it, or at least tolerate it.
Persistence is key here. The more you expose baby to wearing the hat, the more he may become comfortable with it. Don’t give up!
Find a baby hat that stays on
Below are a few good hat options for your baby that you just may be able to get them to wear.
SwimZip Kid’s Sun Hat – This unisex sun hat offers 50 SPF sun protection, includes an adjustable chin strap, and comes in a several great colors.
Alepo Winter Beanie Hat – This adorable beanie is fleece-lined and has ear flaps to keep your baby nice and warm, plus it has little bear ears!
Century Star Baby Fleece Hat – This hat is fleece-lined and features a hook and look chin closure. The set also includes a matching pair of mittens.
How do I get toddler to wear a hat?
Getting a toddler to wear a hat can be tricky, but it can be done. I have a few suggestions below for things that you can try. I can tell you from experience that what works for one child, doesn’t always work for another. So try to hang in there and see what works for your toddler.
Find a hat with a strap
A lot of hats for toddlers come with a little strap that velcros onto the side of the hat to help keep the hat on your toddler’s head.
This can definitely be an option worth trying. Don’t get discouraged though, if your little one gets smart and learns how to take the hat off anyway.
Let your toddler choose the hat
Toddlers are opinionated. This is a great opportunity to let them express their opinion and their style!
Maybe it’s their favorite color or it has their favorite character or animal on it. If they pick out the hat themselves, they are more likely to want to wear it.
Find a hat that looks like mom or dad’s hat
They “bake cakes” because we do. They vacuum and sweep because we do. Toddlers like to imitate, so why not use that to your advantage here?
If you can find matching or similar hats, and you wear it, your toddler may just want to wear his too.
Hats toddlers can’t pull off
Some hats are harder to take off than others.
Here are a few hats that your toddler may have more difficulty pulling off, both summer and winter options:
LANGZHEN Sun Protection Hat – This sun hat has a wide brim and a secure chin fastener. It comes in a huge range of fun designs, but it’s only meant for short trips outside – there’s no SPF protection in this one.
I Play sunhat by Green Sprouts – This wide brim hat offers 50 SPF sun protection, ties under your baby’s chin, and comes in a ton of fun colors.
Ushanka Winter Trapper Hat – This hat is waterproof and features a hook and look chin closure, plus it comes in a bunch of cool kid-friendly patterns.
JAN & JUL Fleece Lined Knit Winter Hats – These cuddly hats are lined with sherpa fleece and have giant pompoms on top.