Baby Hints & Tips

Baby Won’t Keep Hat On

You’re not alone with a baby that won’t keep it’s hat on! In fact its one of the most asked questions we have on Baby Hints and Tips.

Unfortunately we all know that the Australian sun means we need to try and keep delicate skin and little noses protected, so we’ve asked our community for their best tips on the age old dilemma of ‘baby won’t keep hat on!’

Staying sunsmart isn’t always easy with children, in particular when your baby won’t keep their hat on.  Children, in particular babies have thin and more sensitive skin, making sun protection even more important.  A baby under 12 months should not be exposed to sun at all when they UV is 3 or higher, according to the Cancer Council.

When children are in the sun it it important to:

  1. Wear sun protective clothing
  2. Used sunscreen, UV 30 or higher
  3. Wear a hat
  4. Find shade (or create it with a beach tent or shelter)
  5. Wear sunglasses

If you’re looking for more information on being Sun Smart with your little ones here’s a great fact sheet you can check out.

Should my baby wear sunscreen?

If you’re struggling with your baby wearing a hat and wondering about using sunscreen instead the jury is definitely out on this one:

Sunscreen is okay to use on babies older than 6 months. Younger babies should use other forms of sun protection.

According to the Cancer Council they “recommend protecting babies and children’s skin with physical barriers such as wraps, clothing, hats and using shade as much as possible. If your baby or child is going to be exposed to the sun, apply sunscreen to those small areas of skin not covered by wraps, clothing and a hat.

Babies aged under 6 months have highly absorptive skin and the Australasian College of Dermatologist recommends minimising use of sunscreen. Always usage test any product first on a small area of your baby or child’s skin for any negative reactions and apply sunscreen to those areas of exposed skin that can’t be covered with hats and clothing. If your baby or child reacts to sunscreen, seek advice from your doctor or chemist.”

If your baby is older than 6 months, sunscreen is recommended.

So, we all know that baby hat is super important (especially below six months!) so what’s a mum to do when baby won’t keep it’s hat on? Well, here are some clever tips from our community to encourage your child to keep their hat on.

Community Question:Any tips on how to keep a hat on an 11 month old who absolutely point blank refuses to keep anything on her head? This baby won’t keep hat on for anything…!

Use a hat with a chin strap to keep hat on baby’s head

  • Look up ‘bed head hats’, they are nice and soft, have an adjustable chin strap and the brim doesn’t flop and cover their eyes. Emma
  • Put baby’s hat on when they are busy playing! One with a chin strap where the brim doesn’t obstruct her view? Sun cream and persistence Sarah
  • I went to Gymboree and got a hat that had a Velcro strap. She tries to pull it off and when she realizes she’s only pulling on her chin; she leaves it alone. Jessica

Persist and keep putting hat back on

  • Just persist I worked in childcare for a long time and we just kept putting them back on – remind them not hat no play – you’d be surprised what they understand Kasey
  • We just kept trying. Spent 30min one day hat on hat off hat on hat off… she got it and realized the hat was staying on and we went out… hairclips that’s a different ballgame Dipthi
  • My daughter hated hats, bands etc at that age too. I just persisted with the hat. I always used hats with ties underneath and just constantly put it back on whenever she took it off. She is now 17 months and loves all hats and because I always say she has to have her hat she sticks to it without being told most the time. I also found that trying clips in her hair a couple of months ago she kept in a lot easier because they didn’t bother her like big headbands. Jessica
  • Keep persevering… especially with warmer weather. My girl has always been that way. Only now at 2, she’s starting to want to wear hats/beanies… still rips out hair ties/clips within 10mins Mandi

Baby Won’t Keep Hat On? No hat no play – make the rules and stick to them! 

  • No hat no play outside. My son quickly associated hats and beanies as something that goes with going outside and having fun Lani 
  • Have you tried taking her in and outside… Outside with her hat on until she takes it off and then straight back inside until she lets you put it on to go back to playing outside? Hopefully she’ll soon learn it’s not an option. Jodie
  • No hat = no going out. After a few episodes of crying and screaming his head off….he learnt. Now the first thing he does is get his hat, then shoes and waits at the door. Rathi
  • Persistence. I just kept putting it back on. I simply said, “we wear hats outside.” If I reacted too much it turned into a game. My son now loves to wear his, he associates wearing a hat with playing outside. Ellen

Thomas (the Tank Engine) wants him to wear one! 

  • We tried everything! Sticker charts, persistence, displayed photos of his loved ones wearing hats and then no hat/no play- nothing worked. One day I simply told my son that Thomas the tank engine really wanted him to wear a hat and guess who wore a hat all summer! Maybe suggest their fav TV character always wears a hat outside and see what happens. But not sure if 11 months is too young for that logic? Michelle

It is a phase – it will pass… 

  • My daughter went through that as well. She is now 2.3 years and will wear a hat, but I still can’t put clips or headbands in her hair. It’s just a phase. Kirsty

Keep baby’s hat and shoes together

  • We bought little hats with the straps under the chin and I keep my little fellas hat and shoes together so when it’s time to go outside he now will go get his hat and shoes before we go outside. He is 18mnths old and I’ve been doing this for months now. So he associated going outside with hat and shoes. Can only try. But definitely hat with chin straps. Harder to get off Jenna
  • Love the bed head hats. Had sooo much trouble keeping a hat on my son until I discovered them. Heather 

Baby will outgrow it

  • My Son was like that. He grew out of it and now at 14 month old will wear a hat. I just kept putting it back on. He got the idea. Lol. Sayya
  • Be patient, eventually they will like playing hide and seek with their hats, I also found hoodies were better than hats Christine
  • Keep trying. My 2.5yo daughter was like that- including having her hair put up. She now sits still while I do it (I used to have to hold her still between my legs, distract her with toys, tv shows, etc.) and she keeps hats on. She will take her hair out when she’s had enough though, or ask me to take it out. Usually hours later though. It can take weeks/months sorry to say Kristy
  • I found hats that have a strap under the chin, either Velcro or that tie up worked well. With my 2nd son, hoodies worked the best. I was pretty strict about keeping hats/beanies on (constantly reminding + putting it back on, having to back inside if hat won’t be worn) and it really didn’t take long for them to keep their hats on Shannon
  • My daughter never used to wear anything either but I got a whole lot of different hats and made a game out of it. Put it on my head then on hers and have a mirror down low so she can see herself. Now she gets them and puts them on herself. Loves hats now. Think it’s just persistence. Good luck Alicia
  • Try using hats that have ties underneath and explaining that she can’t play outside unless she’s wearing one Sarah
  • My 3 year old was like that, I just coated sunblock through his hair (he was a baldy though) and ears and neck, I “tried” every time with a hat and said “you can’t play outside unless you have a hat on” he didn’t really get it at first but I kept saying it, then when he started at day care he understood more especially as all the other kids wear them. It’s 2nd nature now and even yesterday he took off outside then stopped suddenly and yelled “where’s my hat?!” Just keep at her but don’t make it a huge issue, so long as she has loads of sunblock on. One day it will click for her Sarah
  • We played the hat game – “Daddy wears a hat” (child helps put hat on Daddy), “Mummy wears a hat”…and so on, lots. And we all wore hats EVERYWHERE – inside all day for ages too and one day our son just got it and became the hat police getting cross if we didn’t have hats on! Slightly annoying but so worth it as still at nearly 5 he won’t go out without a hat if it’s sunny. The only other thing I can think of is whether the hats etc feel uncomfortable for your little one? Can you try softer fabrics? We also stroked our son’s head a lot so maybe that helps to get used to something touching their head? I hate hats as my head itches so I would like never to wear one, but I do it for the sun protection – it’s hard to convince a little one of that though!! Bron
  • Just keep putting their hat back on. I would pretend to wear it sometimes to make her laugh and shed want to wear it for a bit. At 2 she still won’t keep a hat on for very long. But she knows she’s not allowed out without one. Ashlea
  • Nope! My son refused to wear a hat at that age and it was only around 15 months that he started to keep one on for slightly longer periods – still not for very long but he’s slowly getting better as he gets older. Tania
  • Sunblock even on the scalp (a good sensitive formula for young skin is best) Emma


Baby won’t keep hat on. Did you have the same issue? Share your ideas below

Keep baby sunsmart and stay cool on hot days:

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Sunscreen: Our Mums Tips for Kids

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