Knit a hat for a premature baby

2018 update: We currently have a lot of small and premature baby items, so please avoid sending those for the time-being. Thank you. For alternate knits, please visit our patterns page.

Statistics have shown that a hat is very useful to a small baby in helping it regulate its temperature and can in some cases make a difference between being admitted to the unit and staying at home.

In order to comply with hospital control of infection policies the hats are offered as gifts to the parents as soon as the baby is admitted to the unit. This means that the family are responsible for washing and caring for the hats achieving two very important aims. Firstly, as the washing is not being mixed with other babies on the unit there is a reduced chance of cross infection. Secondly, and just as importantly, being able to do something for your baby, no matter how small, is very important for parents who aren’t able to cuddle or care for their babies while they are being treated and helps them bond as a family. Because the hats go home with the family, the unit needs a steady supply of over 500 hats a year.

Baby hatsRibbed hats are preferred as they fit most sizes of head and most bright colours apart from yellow are very popular with families. Yellow can make babies look jaundiced and is best avoided.

Hats have already been donated. Special thanks go to the students of Kingston University and the women of HMP Drake Hall for their hard work but as you can see, we always need more.

Below is a pattern you could use, or you can have a look at one provided by the BBC.

Ribbed Baby Hat for Premature Babies

4 ply yarn, 3.75mm (size 10) needles.
(1x50g ball will make about 4 hats)

Cast on 68 stitches, work in K2, P2 rib for 48 rows.
Shape crown, (K2 together, K2) to end of row.
Next and alternate rows, purl.
(K2 together, K1) to end of row.
(K2 together) to end of row.

Break of yarn leaving about 14 inches of yarn to sew up hat. Thread yarn through stitches on needle and stitch up seam of hat. Do not press as this will flatten the ribbing and make it less easy for the hat to ‘mould’ to the babies’ head and stay on.


  1. MRS JUNE BRYAN says

    Hi I would love to knit hats for prem/babies and I would also like to know if you need knitted cardigans/jumpers etc.


    • charitiesatrust says

      Hi June,
      We have a call for all of these things. Do send some in! Let us know if we can help in any way.

  2. presumably, as I live nearby, I could just hand them in? Saves postage

    • Hi Clare,

      It’s best if items come through us, as the hospital expect deliveries from us and may not accept unsolicited deliveries. You can send them to us or drop them in to us in person. Thanks

      • Hi just wondering as this is an old post if you still need hats as I would love to help out. Jackie

        • charitiesatrust says

          Hi Jackie, we’d still love to receive hats. We need hats for all ages, from premature babies to adults, but especially for children aged 3-8.

  3. Moira Green says

    Please give address in full of the hospital as I live overseas. Thanks Moira