Title:
CHILD CARRIER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is a carrier useful for supporting the weight of a child on the hips of a wearer. The child carrier includes a belt having an attached seat that is intended to be worn near the wearer's waist. A child may thus sit on the seat facing the child carrier wearer. In one embodiment, the rigid form is not removable from the belt pouch. In another embodiment, the seat includes a rigid form that is removable from the belt pouch. This structure allows for easy cleaning of the belt and seat pouch. In another embodiment, the seat is substantially rigid and includes one or more seat surfaces having a softer cover. This provides for a comfortable fit for the wearer and a comfortable seat for the child. In yet another embodiment, the belt is wide near the seat, effectively distributing the child's weight on the wearer's hips.



Inventors:
Price, Christine (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/842793
Publication Date:
02/28/2008
Filing Date:
08/21/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/158, 224/664
International Classes:
A47D13/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SKURDAL, COREY NELSON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Steven Vosen (909 Marina Village Parkway Suite 138, Alameda, CA, 94501-1048, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A seat form for a carrier to be supported in the pouch of an apparatus securable about a wearer, said seat form comprising: a contoured member of substantially rigid material, where said contoured member is adapted to fit within the pouch.

2. The seat form of claim 1, where said contoured member includes polyurethane.

3. The seat form of claim 1, where said contoured member includes at least a partial cover of a compressible material.

4. The seat form of claim 3, where said compressible material is a foam.

5. The seat form of claim 1, where said contoured member, when supported in the pouch and secured about the wearer, has a concave surface adjacent to the wearer.

6. The seat form of claim 5, where said concave surface is substantially covered with a compressible material.

7. The seat form of claim 5, where said contoured member, when supported in the pouch and secured about the wearer, has an at least partially concave surface that extends substantially perpendicular from the wearer.

8. The seat of claim 7, where said surface is substantially covered with a compressible material.

9. A form seat for a carrier to be supported in the pouch of an apparatus securable about a wearer, said seat form comprising: a contoured member of substantially rigid material having at least a partial cover of a compressible material, where said contoured member is adapted to fit within the pouch.

10. The seat of claim 9, where said contoured member includes polyurethane.

11. The seat of claim 9, where said compressible material is a foam.

12. The seat of claim 9, where said contoured member, when supported in the pouch and secured about the wearer, has a concave surface adjacent to the wearer.

13. The seat of claim 12, where said concave surface is substantially covered with a compressible material.

14. The seat of claim 9, where said contoured member, when supported in the pouch and secured about the wearer, has an at least partially concave surface that extends substantially perpendicular from the wearer.

15. The seat of claim 14, where said surface is substantially covered with a compressible material.

16. A child carrier to be worn about the waist of a wearer, said child carrier comprising: a pouch securable about the waist; and a contoured member of substantially rigid material contained within said pouch.

17. The child carrier of claim 16, where said contoured member includes polyurethane.

18. The child carrier of claim 16, where said contoured member includes at least a partial cover of a compressible material.

19. The child carrier of claim 18, where said compressible material is a foam.

20. The child carrier of claim 16, further including a mechanism to secure said contoured member within said pouch.

21. The child carrier of claim 20, further including a pouch top, and where said mechanism includes a fastener to fasten said pouch and said pouch top.

22. The child carrier of claim 21, where said fastener includes a zipper.

23. The child carrier of claim 16, where said contoured member is not removably insertable into said pouch.

24. The child carrier of claim 16, where said contoured member is removable from said pouch.

25. The child carrier of claim 16, where said contoured member has a surface adjacent to the wearer, where said surface has a shape that is concave.

26. The child carrier of claim 25, where said surface is substantially covered with a compressible material.

27. The child carrier of claim 16, where said contoured member has a surface that extends substantially perpendicular the wearer, and where said surface has a shape that is concave.

28. The child carrier of claim 27, where said surface is substantially covered with a compressible material.

29. The child carrier of claim 16, further comprising a strip of flexible material fastenable about the waist and supporting said pouch.

30. The child carrier of claim 29, where said strip has a length and a width, and where the width varies along said length.

31. The child carrier of claim 30, where the width varies between a maximum width and a minimum width, and where the pouch is positioned between said maximum width and said minimum width.

32. A belt for a child carrier worn about the waist of a wearer and adapted to accept a contoured member to support a child, said belt comprising: a strip of flexible material fastenable about the waist, where said strip has a length and a width, and where the width varies along said length; and a pouch supported by said strip and sized to contain the contoured member.

33. The belt of claim 32, where the width varies between a maximum width and a minimum width, and where said pouch is positioned between said maximum width and said minimum width.

34. The belt of claim 32, where the contoured member is substantially rigid.

35. The belt of claim 32, where said contoured member is not removably insertable into said pouch.

36. The belt of claim 32, where said contoured member is removable from said pouch.

37. The belt of claim 32, where said belt further includes a fastening mechanism to secure an accepted contoured member in said belt.

38. The belt of claim 37, where said fastening mechanism includes a zipper.

39. The belt of claim 32, where said contoured member is not removable from said pouch.

40. The belt of claim 32, where the accepted contoured member has a surface adjacent to the wearer, where said first surface has a shape that is concave.

41. The belt of claim 40, where said surface is substantially covered with a compressible material.

42. The belt of claim 32, where the accepted contoured member has a surface that extends substantially perpendicular to the wearer, and where said surface has a shape that is concave.

43. The belt of claim 42, where said surface is substantially covered with a compressible material.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/823,642 filed Aug. 26, 2006, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein and made part of this specification.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to an apparatus for carrying a child, and more particularly to an apparatus for supporting the weight of a child on a wearer's hip.

2. Discussion of the Background

There are many devices that have been used for carrying children. These include, for example, slings and backpacks. One particularly natural way to carry a child old enough to sit upright is to support their weight on the hips while they face the wearer. Since this stance may be tiring for the person carrying the child, devices have been developed to assist in carrying children.

Hip support devices include rigid or padded seats for attachment to belts and integrated belt and seat designs. Each of these designs has problems. Thus, for example, standard belts are rather narrow and can result in large forces on the wearer's waist or hips. Many of the prior art designs are not comfortable for the child, while others are not easily cleanable.

There is a need in the art for a child carrier that is comfortable for both the child and the person carrying the child. There is also a need in the art for a child carrier that is easily cleanable. Such a device should be simple and inexpensive, and comfortable.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Certain embodiments described herein overcome the disadvantages of prior art by providing a seat that is worn on a belt and that rests on the hips. In one embodiment, the child carrier includes a belt that is adjustable and has a width that helps to distribute weight on the hips of the wearer, where the child carrier is useful for carrying a child in an upright position. In another embodiment, the child carrier includes a contoured member that fits within a pouch of a belt.

In certain embodiments, a child carrier is provided that is worn around the waist like a belt. In one embodiment, the belt can be adjusted for a comfortable, personalized fit. The belt strap loops through a D-ring, folds over, and fastens with Velcro for a secure fit. The child is then placed on the hip seat straddling the wearer's hip with one leg in front and one behind. The hip seat provides ample cushion and back support for the child creating a more comfortable ride for both the wearer and the child. The child carrier can be constructed, for example and without limitation, of leather, jacquard, or denim.

In certain embodiments, a child carrier is provided that is easily cleaned. In one embodiment, the child carrier includes a belt with a pouch having a removable seat form. With the seat form removed, the remainder of the child carrier may be easily washed.

In certain other embodiments, the child carrier includes a belt having a pouch that contains a non-removable seat form.

In certain embodiments, a seat form is provided for a pouch of an apparatus securable about the waist of a wearer and adapted to support a child. The seat form includes a contoured member of substantially rigid material, where the contoured member is adapted to fit within the pouch. It is preferable, though not necessary, for one or more of the surfaces of the seat from that fit against the wearer's hips or that support the child to be padded.

In certain other embodiments, a child carrier to be worn about the waist of a wearer is provided. The child carrier includes a pouch securable about the waist and a contoured member of substantially rigid material contained within the pouch.

In certain embodiments, a belt for a child carrier worn about the waist of a wearer and adapted to accept a contoured member to support a child is provided. The belt includes a strip of flexible material fastenable about the waist, where the strip has a length and a width, and where the width varies along the length, and a pouch supported by the strip and sized to contain the contoured member.

These features together with the various ancillary provisions and features which will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, are attained by various embodiments of the present invention, preferred embodiments thereof being shown with reference to the accompanying drawings, by way of example only, wherein:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a child carrier supporting a child;

FIG. 2A is a perspective view of an embodiment of a child carrier;

FIG. 2B is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a child carrier;

FIGS. 3A and 3B are views of the child carrier of FIG. 1, where FIG. 3A is a view of the first surface and FIG. 3B is a view of the second surface;

FIGS. 4A and 4B are perspective views of one embodiment of a seat form, where FIG. 4A is a view of the seat and FIG. 4B is an exploded view of the seat components;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view 5-5 of FIG. 4A; and

FIGS. 6, 7, and 8 are a side view, a top view, and a front view, respectively, of one embodiment of the seat form.

Reference symbols are used in the Figures to indicate certain components, aspects or features shown therein, with reference symbols common to more than one Figure indicating like components, aspects or features shown therein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a child carrier 100 having a portion forming a belt 120 and a portion forming a seat 110. As shown in FIG. 1, child carrier 100 may be used by an adult A to support a child C. In a preferred embodiment, belt 120 can be adjustably securable about the torso of a wearer, indicated as an adult A, such that all, or at least some portion, of the weight of a supported child C is transferred to the wearer's hips or legs.

Certain embodiments will now be described in terms of a child carrier having a belt with an integrated pouch that is sized to contain a contoured member. The following examples are illustrative, and are not meant to limit the scope of the present invention.

FIG. 2A is a perspective view of an embodiment child carrier 100. Belt 120 has a first surface 123, a surface 125 and a belt fastener 121 for adjusting the belt. Surface 123 is generally an outer surface of belt 120 and surface 125 is generally an inner surface of the belt. Seat 110, which protrudes from belt 120, includes a pouch 130 that includes a pocket 131 having an opening 132 and pouch top 133 that are sized to accommodate a seat form 200. In one embodiment, the majority of belt 120 and pouch 130 are formed from a flexible material including, but not limited to, leather, or a natural or synthetic webbing, jacquard, or denim. Alternatively belt 120 and pouch 130 are formed from a single piece material, or are formed from three or more separate pieces that are either permanently or removably attached. In another alternative embodiment, pouch 130 does not have a pouch top 133, and seat form 200 has a top surface on which the child sits.

Pocket 131 and pouch top 133 may be separated or joined to close the opening using a fastener 134, and a portion of belt 120 bounded by a seam 139. Seam 139 is preferably a sewn seam or, alternatively, is an adhesive bond. The fastener 134 of the embodiment of FIG. 2A is a zipper having a first strip 135 along an edge of pouch top 133 and a second strip 137 along an edge of pocket 131. Pouch 130 and seat form 200 are sized such that the seat form is removable from the pouch and fits without much movement inserted into opening 132 and the pouch is fastened with fastener 134. Fastener 134, may thus be opened, as shown in FIG. 2A, so that seat form 200 may be placed inside or removed from the pouch. Fastener 134 may also be closed while containing seat form 200, as shown in FIG. 1. Seat form 200 includes a rigid portion to hold the shape of pouch 130, when the pouch is closed, to form seat 110 as shown, for example, in FIG. 1. In an alternative embodiment, a portion or all of either pocket 131 or pouch top 133 is integral with belt 120.

FIG. 2B is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment child carrier 100 which may be generally similar to the embodiment of FIG. 2A, except as further detailed below. Where possible, similar elements are identified with identical reference numerals in the depiction of the embodiments of FIGS. 1, 2A and 2B.

In child carrier 100 of FIG. 2B, seat 110 includes a pouch 230 that contains seat form 200. Pouch 230 is generally similar to pouch 130, except that pouch 230 does not contain any fastening means for easily opening and/or closing the pouch. Seat form 200 may, for example and without limitation, be inserted between pouch 230 and belt 120 during the manufacturing of child carrier 100 of FIG. 2B. Pouch 230 may be a single piece or may be formed from two or more pieces that are joined together and sealed along seam 139. In an alternative embodiment, a portion or all of pouch 230 is integral with belt 120.

One embodiment of child carrier 100, and more specifically an embodiment of belt fastener 121, are shown in more detail in the views of FIGS. 3A and 3B, where FIG. 3A is a view of the first surface 123, and FIG. 3B is a view of the second surface 125. Belt 120 extends from a first end 301 to a second end 303. First end 301 is adjacent to a first fastening surface 309 covering a portion 307. A second fastening surface 311 extends from first fastening surface 309 towards pouch 130. Second end 303 includes a rigid loop 305, that may be, for example, a D-ring formed of a rigid material such as a metal.

Belt fastener 121 includes first fastening surface 309, second fastening surface 311 and loop 305. First fastening surface 309 and second fastening surface 311 are matching surfaces forming a hook-and-loop fastener. Belt 120 is fastened by threading end 301 from the inside to the outside through loop 305 and placing portion 307 against second fastening surface 311. While belt fastener 121 preferably uses a hook-and-loop fastener, as described, it may alternatively include other fasteners useful for a belt including, but not limited to, a buckle, snaps, or laces.

In one embodiment, the length L of belt 120 is from 40 to 70 inches. In another embodiment, the length L is approximately 50 inches. The length LF of each matching surface 309 and 301 is from 10 to 20 inches. In another embodiment, the length LF is approximately 15 inches. The maximum width W1 of belt 120, which is in the central portion of the belt, is from 6 to 15 inches. In another embodiment, the width W1 is approximately 8 inches. It is preferred, though not required, that pouch 130 is between the center and edge of belt 130. The minimum width W2 of belt 120, which is near the ends, is from 3 to 8 inches. In another embodiment, the width W2 is approximately 4 inches. In one embodiment, loop 305 is a 4 inch D-ring.

FIGS. 4A and 4B are perspective views of one embodiment seat form 200, where FIG. 4A is a view of the seat and FIG. 4B is an exploded view of the seat components and FIG. 5 is a sectional view 5-5 of FIG. 4A. Seat inert 200 includes a contoured member 401 having a top surface 402, an inside surface 403, and a bottom surface 406, a top cover 403 on the top surface and an inside cover 405 in the inside surface. Preferably contoured member 401 is a rigid structure and top cover 403 and inside cover 405 are of a softer material. When seat form 200 is placed within pouch 130, top cover 403 fits against pouch top 133, bottom surface 406 fits against pocket 131, and inside surface 404 fits against belt 120. In addition, top cover 403 is shaped and sized to support the seat of a child C whose feet are in the direction of inside surface as shown, for example, in FIG. 1, and inside cover 405 is shaped and sized to be comfortable against the body of an adult A wearing child carrier 100, as in FIG. 1. In one embodiment, top cover 403 and inside cover 405 are foam pads of thickness t that are glued on to contoured member 401. In one embodiment, top cover 403 and inside cover 405 is foam with a thickness t of from 0.5 inch to 1.5 inch. In one embodiment the thickness t is 1 inch. In one embodiment, contoured member 401 is a plastic including, but not limited to, molded polyurethane. While FIG. 5 shows contoured member 401 to be a solid piece bounded by surfaces 402, 404, and 406, it is most important that the contoured member be sufficiently rigid to support the weight of a child without breaking. In addition, for use in a carrier such as child carrier 100 it is preferred that it fit snuggly within pouch 130. Thus surfaces 402, 404, and 406 may, for example, may be bounding surfaces of contoured member 401 which may include hollowed out portions.

FIGS. 6, 7, and 8 are a side view, a top view, and a front view, respectively, of contoured member 401, showing one embodiment of the shape of the form. As shown in the embodiment of FIGS. 6, 7, and 8, bottom surface 406 includes an approximately planar base 601 with a depth F and a width D, a vertical surface 605, and a transition surface 603 having a height B between the base and vertical surface. Top surface 402 has a curved shape from inside surface 404 to an edge 607 where the top surface and bottom surface 406 meet. Inside surface 404 is curved in one direction, with a height C that is concavely curved along width D and having a depth G. The curved shape of top surface 402 is sized to fit against top surface 133 and facilitates its use as a seat as, for example, by child C of FIG. 1, the curved shape of inside surface 404 is shaped to fit against belt 120 and facilitates its use as a support surface as, for example, by adult A of FIG. 1, and the shape of bottom surface 406 is shaped to fit against pocket 131.

The dimensions and shape of contoured member 401 are selected to fit a range of children and adults. In one embodiment which is not meant to limit the scope of the present invention, the approximate dimensions of A, B, C, D, E, F, and G are: A=7.5 inches, B=4 inches, C=5 inches, D=7.6 inches, E=8 inches, F=3 inches, and G=1.5 inches. As noted previously, pouch 130 is sized to accommodate seat form 200, with fastener 134 long enough to insert and remove seat form 200. Thus, for example, in one embodiment first strip 135 and second strip 137 are slightly longer that the length of edge 607.

Reference throughout this specification to “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment. Thus, appearances of the phrases “in one embodiment” or “in an embodiment” in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Furthermore, the particular features, structures or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner, as would be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art from this disclosure, in one or more embodiments.

Similarly, it should be appreciated that in the above description of exemplary embodiments, various features are sometimes grouped together in a single embodiment, figure, or description thereof for the purpose of streamlining the disclosure and aiding in the understanding of one or more of the various inventive aspects. This method of disclosure, however, is not to be interpreted as reflecting an intention that the claimed invention requires more features than are expressly recited in each claim. Rather, as the following claims reflect, inventive aspects lie in less than all features of a single foregoing disclosed embodiment. Thus, the claims following the Detailed Description are hereby expressly incorporated into this Detailed Description, with each claim standing on its own as a separate embodiment.





 
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