Baby hats are wardrobe staples for baby. They are necessary not just fashion accessories. However, there are a lot of old wives’ tales about this ordinary yet vital piece garment.
Let us look at some of the myths around baby hats.
Myth: Forty to forty five per cent of body heat is lost from the head, and as babies don’t have enough hair, they must wear hats to keep them warm.
Fact: Babies do need to wear baby hats to keep warm, but not because they lose up to 45% of heat from their heads. Babies, and adults for that matter, don’t lose that much from their head alone. The myth may have stemmed from through an inaccurate analysis of a loosely scientific 1950s experiments conducted by the US military. In the experiments, volunteers dressed in Arctic survival suits were exposed to bitter cold conditions. Since their heads were the only uncovered part of their body, most escaped through their heads.
In an article the British Medical Journal published in 2008, Aaron Carroll and Rachel Vreeman, from Indiana University Centre for Health Policy, said that if this myth is true, then humans will be just as cold if they go out with a hat on as if they go out without trousers, which as you may already have experienced, is not true.
Myth: Wearing hats at night help newborns sleep better.
Fact: Doctors do recommend premature babies, babies with low birth weight and those struggling to gain weight, to sleep with hats on at home. However, this is only for these circumstances, as these babies use up a lot of their energy to keep warm. For babies with normal birth weight, wearing while sleeping is not recommended as it can increase the risk of SIDS.
Myth: Babies should wear baby hats to avoid getting big heads.
Fact: This is probably one of the funniest myths about wearing hats. This has no basis at all. It probably came from one mum who had a baby who ended up having a very big head, and when she could not explain why, she ended up blaming it to her failure to put a baby hat on the baby when he was younger.
Myth: Wearing hats often can cause baldness
Fact: Again, another funny myth with no basis. Many experienced mums know that babies do lose their hair later, but not because their babies have been wearing baby hats. It is more due to the fact that baby tend to lie on their back often and ended up rubbing some of their hair off. By the time the child reaches his first birthday, this stops as he spends more of his time up and about, rather than just lying down.
Additionally, some babies lose the hair they are born with because their hormone levels drop after birth. It is the same reason why some women lose their hair while they are pregnant.
When should Babies Wear Baby Hats?
When it is cold or hot.
When it is cold, your baby needs the hat to keep warm. When it is sunny and hot, your baby needs a hat to protect him from the sun.
When indoors, baby should not be wearing hats as it can cause them to over-heat, unless the temperature inside is below 17 oC.
Choosing Baby Hats
There are many hats available in the market, varying from designs and fabric. When buying a baby hat, always consider the fabric first before design. Go for hats made of knitted cotton. Cotton hats are breathable and will keep your baby warm but at the same time, allow air to circulate.
If you want something more fashionable, go for baby hats with quirky designs and patterns, rather than those with appliques and accessories, like pompoms and tassels. Leave these designs for occasional use and for when your baby is a little bit older. Simple baby hats are better for newborns.
For winter, if your baby is more mobile, go for hats with ear flaps to keep his ears covered too.
For the summer, go for visor caps with sun flaps at the back. Admittedly, it is not as cute on girls as the pretty bucket hats, but it covers their ears and neck more effectively. Thus, it offers more protection against the sun. If you want to go for bucket hats, choose ones with wider brim.
There are now sun hats available that offers protection against UVA/UVB. These hats offer the same protection as a factor 50 sunscreen. It is worth remembering that even if it is cloudy, the sun still emits radiation and it is strongest in the middle of the day, so wearing a sun hat with UVA/UVB offers your baby extra protection.
Choosing the right size, when buying a baby hat, is very important. If your baby’s hat is too tight, it will be uncomfortable and your baby will fuzz. If it is too big, it will keep falling of his head or covering his eyes. Not all babies have the same shape and size head, so if possible, try the hat on your baby befo