How Long Do Newborns Need Hats For?

do newborns need hats

Babies and children are very fragile. They can get sick easily. Like most people, having your newborns or kids wear hats, or any type of head cover, will keep them safe against rapid heat loss. Babies lose heat very quickly, and extreme cases of this can show in the form of infant deaths.

While putting a hat on your baby during cold weather is a great idea, this should never be done when babies are sleeping. Their bodies can quickly overheat if they wear hats when sleeping. Hats are great for preventing heat loss from the body during winters, but in summers or on a humid day, there is no need for your baby to wear hats indoors or sleep in 3 layers of blankets.

When Should Babies Wear Hats?

Wearing hats can be very helpful in protecting babies from the Sun, cold weather, or many other environmental factors. You should let your baby wear a hat when:

The sun is out:

Babies, especially those under six months of age, have very delicate, sensitive skin. Too much exposure to sunlight can potentially harm or even cause serious problems for your baby’s skin.

Professionals recommend that babies under the age of six months are kept away from direct sunlight as much as possible. Even those babies well over the age of six months need to wear hats to ensure protection from the harmful rays of the Sun.

The weather is cold

During the colder months, babies lose heat very quickly, especially from their heads. Wearing hats during winter can help keep the baby warm. This is very important because if the baby’s temperature falls too low, this can lead to infant death. During cold weather, it is very normal for babies to wear hats indoors and outdoors to stay warm.

When going out

You might have noticed that many newborns wear hats outdoors, especially if it is too sunny or windy. Hats can help protect the baby’s eyes from strong winds or sun rays.

Medical reasons

Some babies are much more sensitive to certain environmental factors than the others, such as a sun sensitivity condition or a healing incision. This can lead to your doctor suggesting using hats for an extra layer of protection for your baby’s head.

How Long Should a Newborn Baby Wear Hat?

Newborn babies usually wear hats for the first few weeks after birth, especially when they are outside or in cooler environments. Even though there is no precise time period for how long a baby should wear a hat, mostly because every baby has his/her own needs, there are a few helpful guidelines you can follow:

Days after birth

For the days following the birth, a cap can help the baby stay warm and regulate the baby’s temperature. Some hospitals give newborn hats and wearable blankets to babies when they are born to make sure that the baby doesn’t feel cold.

The first few months

During the first few months, newborns are still getting used to the world. They can have difficulty regulating their own body temperature. That is exactly why it is suggested to keep their heads covered with a hat whenever they are in cold surroundings or outside.

Look out for their personal needs

The general guidelines are good, and all, but every baby has some of his/her personal needs you to be aware of. While some newborns feel too warm when wearing hats, especially when they are indoors, most babies wear hats indoors as well as outdoors because it reduces the work their body has to do to produce heat.

Make sure that you know whether your baby feels cold or hot, and use a hat accordingly. If you notice your baby sweating, flushed skin, or restlessness, know that he/she might be overheating. Likewise, if you notice your baby feels cold to touch or is shivering, he/she might be cold.

Should My Baby Wear a Hat Outside?

Yes, it is generally recommended that babies, and especially infants wear hats outside, especially during certain circumstances. Here’s why:

Sun protection

Sun can cause serious damage to the fragile and sensitive skin of your baby, especially if you live in a place where sun intensity is very high. Make sure to cover your baby’s head with a hat to give them extra protection from the sun if they go out.

Body temperature regulation

Babies, especially newborns, have a much harder time regulating their body temperature as compared to adults. Using thick hats during cold weather can help your baby stay warm by providing some insulation from the outside chilly air. Also, using lightweight and breathable hats during summer can help protect your baby from direct sunlight and help them feel cooler.

Protection from the environment

Your baby’s skin is not the only thing extremely sensitive. Their scalp needs protection from sunlight, dust, and dirt too. Putting a hat on your baby can help their scalp stay safe from the environmental elements. This can actually prevent a lot of allergies and scalp issues, which are quite common in babies.

While it’s important to provide sun protection and keep your baby’s head covered outside, it’s equally important to make sure they don’t end up overheating.

Choose hats made from lightweight, breathable fabrics, and check your baby’s body temperature from time to time. If your baby feels too warm, sweaty, or uncomfortable, take the hat off for some time or put your baby in a shady spot.

Also, remember to apply sunscreen to any exposed skin on your baby older than 6 months, as hats alone are not enough for sun protection. Consult with your pediatrician for specific recommendations based on your baby’s individual needs and the weather conditions in your area.

Should My Baby Wear a Hat to Sleep?

No, it is generally not recommended for babies to wear hats while they sleep. Here are a few reasons why:


Wearing a hat during sleep can increase the risk of overheating in younger babies. Babies have a larger surface area-to-body ratio, which means they can lose or gain heat more quickly than adults. Keeping their heads uncovered during sleep allows for better heat dissipation and helps prevent overheating.

Safety hazard

Hats with straps, strings, or any designs can pose a safety risk during sleep. These accessories can accidentally cover the baby’s face, block their breathing, or might get entangled with your baby’s body. To create a safe sleep environment, it is recommended to remove any loose items, including hats, before putting your baby to sleep.


The AAP states that babies younger than 6 months should sleep on their backs to lower the chances of sudden death (SIDS). Keeping the head uncovered during sleep is important to promote airflow and prevent suffocation or re-breathing of carbon dioxide.

If you are concerned about your baby feeling cold during sleep, it is generally better to dress them in breathable clothes and make sure the temperature in their room is comfortable. Use lightweight blankets or sleep sacks that are specifically designed for babies.

Can a Hat Make My Baby Too Warm?

Can a Hat Make My Baby Too Warm?

Yes, a hat can potentially make your baby too warm if the hat is too thick, made of non-breathable material, or if the weather is already warm.

Babies have a higher surface area-to-body weight ratio than adults, which means they can lose or gain heat more rapidly. Their heads, in particular, play a significant role in heat regulation since a large portion of body heat is lost through the head. While hats are very important in certain situations to protect your baby, it’s equally important to consider the weather and choose hats appropriate for the conditions.

If the hat your baby is wearing is too thick or made of non-breathable material, it can trap heat and stop the natural release of heat from the baby’s head. This can cause your baby to become overheated, leading to discomfort and potentially increasing the risk of heat-related issues such as heat rash or heat exhaustion.

Furthermore, the temperature and humidity levels play a very big role in determining whether your baby really needs a hat or not. If the weather is already warm, and your baby is comfortable, wearing a hat continuously is not really necessary.

Babies have a limited ability to manage their body temperature, so it’s important to monitor their comfort and look for signs of overheating, like excessive sweating, flushed skin, restlessness, or rapid breathing. If your baby shows even one of these signs, removing the hat and making sure they are in a well-ventilated area can help cool them down.

It’s also important to note that overheating can also happen during sleep. Babies should not wear hats while sleeping because it can increase the risk of overheating and mess with their ability to regulate body temperature.

Published studies recommend keeping the baby’s sleep environment cool and dressing them appropriately in lightweight sleepwear without any head coverings. When choosing hats for your baby, go for lightweight, breathable materials such as cotton or bamboo blends. Look for hats that have mesh panels to promote airflow and heat dissipation. Also, hats with wide brims can provide shade while allowing heat to escape from the baby’s head.

Reasons Newborn Babies Don’t Need a Hat?

Newborn babies don’t always need to wear a hat in every situation. Here are some reasons why a newborn baby may not require a hat:

  • Temperature regulation

    Newborns can regulate their body temperature only to a certain extent, and their heads play a significant role in heat dissipation. While hats can provide warmth in cooler weather, if the temperature is warm or your baby is indoors in a comfortable environment, a hat may not be necessary. Overdressing or covering the head excessively can actually lead to overheating, which can be harmful.

  • The heat from the baby’s head

    Newborn babies are born with a fine layer of hair on their heads, which acts as a natural insulator, preventing the loss or gain of heat through their heads, but this is only to a certain extent.

    This hair helps to regulate temperature and protect the scalp. In many cases, the natural hair provides enough warmth and protection for the newborn’s head without the need for an additional hat.

  • Letting the skin breathe

    Newborns and babies breastfeeding have delicate and sensitive skin, and it is important to ensure proper airflow and let their skin breathe to prevent irritation or overheating. Wearing a hat for an extended period of time can block airflow to the scalp and may cause excessive sweating or discomfort.

  • Not safe when sleeping

    Hats are not recommended for newborns during sleep because they can increase the risk of overheating or can suffocate your baby. The AAP advises against covering the baby’s head while sleeping to promote proper airflow and reduce the risk of suffocation or SIDS.

  • Bonding

    Newborns make connections with their parents through eye and skin-to-skin contact. Wearing a hat can sometimes block their facial features and limit eye and skin contact, which is an important aspect of both their social and emotional development.

While hats are important for certain situations, such as protection from the sun and colder weather, it is also essential to consider your baby’s comfort, ambient temperature, and specific circumstances. Ultimately, it’s important to see if your baby is comfortable, has a normal body temperature, and has specific circumstances to make an informed decision about whether or not to use a hat. Still, it’s always best to get in touch with your pediatrician for personalized advice based on your baby’s needs.

Bottom Line

Infants and babies need more protection from the environment and weather than adults, and hats are good options for that in many situations. But while all of this is true, this doesn’t mean that you should be putting a hat on your baby all year round. If your baby needs extra protection, your hospital will let you know. Consulting your pediatrician is also a good idea to ask about the right clothing for your baby.

Stephanie Edenburgh

I'm Steph, a mom to 3 beautiful children and lover all things having to do with my family and being a mom. I've learned a lot raising my own children and working in education and healthcare roles throughout my career. Living in beautiful Southern California I enjoy documenting and writing about all of the hard work us mom's do on a daily basis.

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