Title:
Device for Carrying a Child
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A child carrier includes a main body in which the child is carried and supported, a shoulder strap with a cushioning element for placement over the shoulder of a parent or other caregiver, a lumbar support for placement against the lower hack of the caregiver. a detachable hooded cape to cover the child, and a newborn head support attachment. The child carrier Can also include easily accessible storage areas.



Inventors:
Stein, Robin (New York, NY, US)
Gilbert, Jennifer (New York, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/304000
Publication Date:
06/24/2010
Filing Date:
06/11/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/159
International Classes:
A45F5/00; A47D13/02
View Patent Images:
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20080252029HOCKEY BAGOctober, 2008Walcott
20040094586Ski carrying harness apparatusMay, 2004Macallister
20060219747Medical identification walletOctober, 2006Gallucci
20090224014HOLSTER FOR A HANDGUN, FOR EXAMPLE, A PISTOL OR A REVOLVERSeptember, 2009Kumuchian
20020113104Utensil scabbardAugust, 2002Levsen
20090020574Mower toteJanuary, 2009Sloan et al.
20090321490LAPTOP COMPUTER CARRIERDecember, 2009Groene et al.



Primary Examiner:
LARSON, JUSTIN MATTHEW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FISH & RICHARDSON P.C. (DC) (P.O. BOX 1022, MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 55440-1022, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A child carrier, comprising: a main body including a seat portion and a torso portion; a shoulder strap coupled to the main body near an upper edge of the torso portion; a waist strap coupled to the main body near a lower edge of the seat portion; and a lumbar support coupled to the waist strap.

2. The child carrier of claim 1, wherein the lumbar support further comprises an ergonomically contoured pad.

3. The child carrier of claim 1, further comprising a foam element in the lumbar support to provide lower back support.

4. The child carrier of claim 1, further comprising semi-rigid vertical reinforcement elements in the lumbar support.

5. The child carrier of claim 1, wherein the seat portion further comprises a relatively narrow vertical region substantially forming the seat portion and a generally horizontal region substantially forming the torso portion.

6. The child carrier of claim 1, wherein the main body defines an upper opening to accommodate a child's shoulders, arms and head, and side openings to accommodate the child's legs.

7. The child carrier of claim 1, wherein opposing ends of the shoulder strap are coupled to the main body near two lateral extremes of the torso portion.

8. The child carrier of claim 1, wherein the waist strap passes through a generally horizontal passage across a lower region of the seat portion.

9. The child carrier of claim 1, further comprising a cushion coupled to the shoulder strap.

10. The child carrier of claim 9, wherein the cushion includes a honeycomb-type silicone gel.

11. The child carrier of claim 1, wherein one or more of the main body, the shoulder strap and the waist strap includes a storage compartment.

12. The child carrier of claim 1, further comprising a detachable bottle holder.

13. The child carrier of claim 1, further comprising a removable hooded cape that wraps around the main body and attaches to the ends of the shoulder strap and not to the child.

14. The child carrier of claim 1, further comprising a head support that attaches to an upper region of the torso portion and extends upward to provide support for a child's head.

15. The child carrier of claim 1, further comprising a safety belt coupled to the main body and positioned to secure a child in the child carrier.

16. A child carrier, comprising: means for maintaining a torso of a child in an upright orientation; means for seating the child; means for suspending the maintaining means from a shoulder of a caregiver; means for holding the seating means against a waist of the caregiver; and means for a supporting a lumbar region of the caregiver, the supporting means being coupled to the holding means.

17. The child carrier of claim 15, further comprising an ergonomically contoured pad in the supporting means.

18. The child carrier of claim 15, wherein the supporting means further comprises semi-rigid vertical reinforcement elements to provide lower hack support.

19. The child carrier of claim 15, further comprising means for cushioning coupled to the suspending means to reduce localized strain in the caregiver's shoulder.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/812,361, filed on Jun. 9, 2006, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This disclosure relates generally to devices for carrying a child, and more particularly to a child carrier supported by a shoulder strap and an ergonomic waist strap.

BACKGROUND

Frequently, a parent or other caregiver must perform various activities while caring for a child. This becomes problematic if the caregiver needs to hold the child while the activities are performed, since holding the child leaves the caregiver with a decreased range of movement and, at most, one free hand to safely and effectively perform the other activities.

Devices for carrying a child, or child carriers, have been developed in an attempt to allow a caregiver to safely carry a child while maintaining some use of his or her hands and some range of motion. However, some existing child carriers can result in uncomfortable or debilitating back strain, especially if the child weighs more than 15 pounds.

In addition, eye contact has been shown to be fundamental to healthy bonding between a parent or other caregiver.

SUMMARY

In one general aspect, a child carrier includes a main body including a seat portion and a torso portion, a shoulder strap coupled to the main body near an upper edge of the torso portion, a waist strap coupled to the main body near a lower edge of the seat portion, a lumbar support coupled to the waist strap.

Implementations may include one or more of the following features. For example, the lumbar support may include an ergonomically contoured pad to reduce back strain, and a foam element and semi-rigid vertical reinforcement elements to provide lower back support.

The seat portion may include a relatively narrow vertical region substantially forming the seat portion and a generally horizontal region substantially forming the torso portion. The main body may define an upper opening to accommodate a child's shoulders, arms and head, and side openings to accommodate the child's legs.

Opposing ends of the shoulder strap may be coupled to the main body near two lateral extremes of the torso portion. The shoulder strap may include a cushion, such as a honeycomb-type silicone gel.

The waist strap may pass through a generally horizontal passage across a lower region of the seat portion.

One or more of the main body, the shoulder strap and the waist strap may include a storage compartment. The child carrier also may include one or more of a detachable bottle holder, a removable hooded cape that wraps around the main body and attaches to the ends of the shoulder strap and not to the child, a head support that attaches to an upper region of the torso portion and extends upward to provide support for a child's head, and a safety belt coupled to the main body and positioned to secure a child in the child carrier.

The details of one or more implementations are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features and advantages will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a caregiver carrying a child using a child carrier.

FIG. 2 is a front view of the child carrier of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an interior plan view of the child carrier of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 4A and 4B are exterior plan views of an exemplary main body of the child carrier of FIG. 1,

FIG. 5A is an exterior plan view of an exemplary shoulder cushion of the child carrier of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5B is an interior plan view of the shoulder cushion of FIG. 5A.

FIG. 5C is a side view of the shoulder cushion of FIG. 5A.

FIG. 5D is an exterior plan view of an alternative shoulder cushion.

FIG. 6A is an interior plan view of an exemplary lumbar support of the child carrier of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 6B and 6C are exterior plan views of the lumbar support of FIG. 6A.

FIGS. 7A and 7B are opposing side views of an exemplary bottle carrier for use with the child carrier of FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 is a side view of a hooded cape for use with the child carrier of FIG. 1.

FIG. 9 is a front view of the child carrier of FIG I with the hooded cape of FIG. 8 attached.

FIG. 10 is an interior plan view of an exemplary newborn head support for use with the child carrier of FIG. 1.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a person using the child carrier of FIG. 1 with the head support of FIG. 10 and a safety belt.

Like reference symbols in the various drawings indicate like elements.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring initially to FIG. 1, a child carrier 10 is shown in use by a caregiver 12, such as a parent or other individual, to carry a child 14. The terms “child” and “children,” as used herein, refer inclusively to newborns, infants and toddlers of various sizes and weights. The child carrier 10 is designed to fit on or around the torso of the caregiver 12 such that the child 14 essentially faces the caregiver's side and is supported in substantial part by the caregiver's hip.

The child carrier 10 may be classified as a soft carrier, as opposed to some other devices for carrying children, such as frame carriers, which include a rigid frame that enables a wearer to support a child on the wearer's back. Still other devices for carrying children include front- or rear-facing soft carriers supported on or by the wearer's chest, as well as those in which the child faces and is supported by the back of the wearer.

Torso carriers that are front-, rear-, or back-facing may not allow or may substantially inhibit eye contact between the wearer and the child being carried. Furthermore, some side-facing torso carriers may leave wearers comparatively more prone to suffer from back pain, shoulder discomfort, and poor body alignment, especially if the child being carried is over 15 pounds.

Referring to FIG. 2, the child carrier 10 includes a main body 16, which has an exterior surface 18 and an interior surface 20 that include a torso portion 22 and a seat portion 24. An upper edge 26 of the main body 16 defines an upper opening 28, and the lower lateral edges 30, 32 of the main body 16 define opposing side openings 34, 36. The child carrier 10 combines utility, convenience, comfort, and style to bring form, function, and features together into an integrated lightweight package.

In use, the child 14 is held between the main body 16 and the caregiver 12, with the interior surface 20 of the torso portion 22 positioned against the back of the child 14 and the seat portion 24 supporting the perineum and buttocks of the child 14 (see FIG. 1). The front of the child 14 is positioned against the hip or side of the caregiver 12, the legs of the child 14 protrude from the side openings 34, 36, and the shoulders and head of the child 14 protrude from the upper opening 28 (see FIG. 1). Thus, the child carrier 10 supports the child 14 in an upright, seated position from which the child 14 can comfortably make frequent eye contact with the caregiver 12, promoting healthy bonding between the child 14 and the caregiver 12. The positioning also aids the caregiver 12 in monitoring and attending to the child 14, permitting the caregiver 12 to have a substantially full range of motion and full use of her hands.

The seat portion 24 is shaped to fit comfortably between and around the legs of the child 14 to support much of the weight of the child 14. The seat portion 24 is formed from a durable, flexible material such as nylon, leather, heavy fabric, or the like. In some implementations, the material from which the seat portion 24 is formed can be substantially waterproof, or the seat portion 24 can be covered by or treated with a substantially waterproof material to guard the caregiver 12 from moisture. In addition, in some implementations, the seat portion 24 can include a decorative pattern or color, so as to render the child carrier 10 more visually appealing. Other portions of the main body 16 (especially those on the exterior surface 18 thereof) also can include a decorative, patterned, and/or colored appearance.

As shown in FIG. 3, the torso portion 22 of the interior surface 20 of the main body includes winged ends 40, 42. The winged ends 40, 42 provide added surface area to ensure that the child 14 is snugly held within the child carrier 10. In addition, the main body 16 of the child carrier 10 includes an arched flap 44 that coincides with the lower neck of the child 14 or with the area between the child's shoulder blades. The arched flap 44 provides additional support to the head of the child 14, as well as a more aesthetically pleasing, streamlined appearance. In other implementations of the child carrier 10, the arched flap 44 may be omitted. The periphery of the main body 16 includes a trim 46, which can be formed of the same or different material as other portions of the main body 16, providing both decoration and strength reinforcement. For example, material for the trim 46 may include nylon, leather, heavy fabric, or the like. The exterior surface 18 of the main body includes a storage area designed to hold personal items of the caregiver 12, such as a cell phone, a personal digital assistant (PDA), keys, money, makeup, antibacterial lotion or wipes, food, a beverage, or the like. The storage areas also can be used to contain items related to the care, feeding, or amusement of the child 14, such as pacifiers, teethers, toys, food, beverages, formula, or the like.

For example, the exterior surface 18 can include an easily accessible storage compartment 48. The storage compoartment 48 is shown in FIG. 4A with a protective cover 50 in place, or closed. For example; the storage compartment 48 can be securely closed using a fastener device, such as a snap, a zipper, hook-and-loop fasteners, or the like. In FIG. 4B, the storage compartment 48 is shown with the protective cover 50 open. The storage compartment 48 includes multiple storage zones. The upper storage zone 52 is on the backside of the cover 50 and the second storage zone 54 is attached to the exterior surface 18 of the main body. Both storage zones 52, 54 can be easily opened and closed by the caregiver 12 and are secured with a fastener 56, such as a zipper, snaps, hook-and-loop fasteners, or the like. In some implementations of the child carrier 10, the main body 16 of the child carrier 10 includes additional storage areas. For example, one or both winged ends 40, 42 can include a storage area, as can the seat portion 24 or the arched flap 44.

The provision of storage areas may provide an advantage in that a wearer may be able to avoid carrying separate storage devices, such as a diaper bag or a purse. Such additional storage devices may limit the range of movement of the wearer and may lead to injury or discomfort due to the added weight of the additional devices.

Because the child carrier 10 is designed to safely carry children of various sizes and weights, from newborns to toddlers up to about 3 years of age, the child carrier 10 is configured to be size adjustable. As shown in FIG. 4A, the main body 16 of the child carrier 10 includes an adjustment cord 58 that is disposed in the main body 16, for example, extending from approximately the lower edge 60 to the upper edge 26 of the main body 16. In addition, the winged ends 40, 42 can facilitate size adjustment of the main body 16. An end of the adjustment cord 58 is exposed at the upper edge 26 to enable the caregiver 12 to pull the cord outward or let the cord retract inward to adjust the fit of the main body 16 around the child 14.

In this manner, the caregiver 12 can use the same child carrier 10 as the child 14 grows, or interchangeably carry children of different sizes. However, the child carrier 10 has a maximum weight limit, and children weighing more then the limit should not be carried in the child carrier 10. For example, one implementation has a maximum weight limit of about 35 lbs.

Referring again to FIG. 1, the child carrier 10 includes a shoulder strap 62 that extends over the opposite shoulder of the caregiver 12 to support part of the weight of the child 14 and to hold the torso portion 22 of the child carrier 10 snug against the caregiver 12 in order to safely constrain the child 14 within the child carrier 10. As shown in FIGS. 2-4, the ends of the shoulder strap 62 are securely attached to the main body 16 of the child carrier 10 at the two winged ends 40, 42. For example, the shoulder strap 62 may include a web material that is stitched to the main body 16 at attachment locations 64, 66, as depicted in FIG. 3. The overall length of the shoulder strap 62 is adjustable by way of adjustment elements, such as the adjustable buckles 68 shown in FIG. 2, or a ladder lock. Thus, the caregiver 12 can further adjust the size and fit of the child carrier 10 by tightening or loosening the shoulder strap 62.

As shown in FIGS. 1-3, a shoulder cushion 70 is coupled to the shoulder strap 62 to relieve pressure against the shoulder of the caregiver 12, increasing comfort and protecting the caregiver 12 from experiencing pain or receiving injury to his shoulder or neck. Referring to FIGS. 5A and 5B, the shoulder cushion 70 includes a cushioning insert 72 enclosed in an inner member 74 spanning the length of the shoulder cushion 70. In use, the inner member 74 contacts the shoulder of the caregiver 12. It is beneficial for at least part of the shoulder cushion 70 to provide a cushioning effect, since the shoulder strap 62 is positioned directly atop the shoulder blade of the caregiver 12 and bears the brunt of the pressure that is created by the weight of the child 14. In use, the inner member is in contact with the shoulders of the caregiver 12. The inner member 74 is formed of a flexible, durable material, such as nylon, to protect the enclosed cushioning insert 72 and transmit the cushioning effect of the cushioning insert 72.

The cushioning insert 72 is formed from a resiliently compressible material, such as a foam or gel. For example, one implementaion includes a cushioning insert 72 made of rubber padding. In another implementation, the cushioning insert 72 is formed from a honeycomb-type of polyurethane gel, which is a lightweight, highly resilient material that provides comparatively better comfort and increased protection from pain and injury to the caregiver 12 than that provided by a foam-based insert. Other implementations may include multiple cushioning inserts, which can be formed of the same material or of different materials. In addition, the shoulder cushion 70 can include a zipper, flap or other like means for gaining access to the cushioning area in order to reposition or replace the cushioning insert 72.

As shown in FIG. 51B, the inner member 74 is securely attached to an outer member 76 to form a two-piece shoulder cushion. For example, the inner member can be stitched to the outer member. Two openings 78, 80 are formed near the ends of the shoulder cushion 70, and the shoulder strap 62 passes through the shoulder cushion 70 from one opening 78 to the other opening 80, and the shoulder cushion 70 surrounds a portion of the shoulder strap 62. In use, the shoulder strap 62 is adjusted by sliding the cushion 70 along the strap 62 to comfortably position the shoulder cushion 70 atop the shoulder of the caregiver 12. In another implementation, however, the shoulder cushion 70 can be formed as a one-piece clement.

The outer member 76, shown in FIG. 5C, is exposed and thus accessible to the caregiver 12. Due to its accessibility, the outer member 76 can include one or more storage areas to store personal items of the caregiver 12 or items related to the care, feeding, or amusement of the child 14. For example, the outer member 76 of the shoulder cushion 70 can include two envelope pockets 82, 84 positioned toward the extremes of the shoulder strap 62.

In an alternative configuration, shown in FIG. 5D, the outer Member 76 of the cushioning element 60 can include two opposing pockets 81, 83, with flaps 85, 87 that can be securely closed by a fastener device 89, such as, for example, a zipper, hook-and-loop fasteners, snaps, or the like. During use, both flaps 85, 87 can be easily opened and closed by the caregiver 12 to provide access to the pockets 81, 83.

In addition, one or more hooks, latches, or other attachment aids can be defined on or extend from the inner member 74, from the outer member 76, or from the shoulder strap 62. The attachment aids can be used to carry one or more items related to care of the child or items for the caregiver 12. Furthermore, the shoulder strap 62 can be adapted to store items (e.g., within flaps) or to have items attached thereto (e.g., through use of hook-and-loop fasteners).

Referring again to FIGS. 1-2, the child carrier 10 also includes a waist strap 86 that is fed through the seat portion 24 of the main body 16 of the child carrier 10. As further shown in FIG. 2, the waist waist strap 86 is attached to a lumbar support 90, which protects and provides support to the lumbar region of the back and spine of the caregiver 12. The waist strap 86 includes one or more adjustment elements, such as the adjustable buckle 88 shown in FIG. 2, to adjust both the fit of the strap around the caregiver and the fit of the lumbar support 90 against the back of the caregiver 12. For example, the buckle can be a double adjustable buckle to allow for adjustment on both the right and the left of the buckle, thus providing a precise fit of the waist waist strap 86 and the lumbar support 90.

The lumbar support 90 is ergonomically designed to distribute the weight of the child 14 away from the shoulders to reduce back strain and fatigue that can lead to back injury. Referring to FIGS. 6A-6C, the lumbar support 90 includes an inner side 92 that is in contact with the caregiver 12 when the lumbar support 90 is worn, and an outer side 94 that is exposed and thus accessible to the caregiver 12. As best shown in FIG. 3A, and by way of a non-limiting example, the waist strap 86 can be securely attached (e.g., via stitching or the like) to attachment locations 96, 98 on the inner side 92 of the lumbar support 90.

The inner side 92 of the lumbar support 90 can include a reinforced shaped area 100 to be located over the lumbar region of the lower back of the caregiver 12. The shaped area 100 includes a plurality of built-in flexible or semi-rigid support elements 101 to provide firm, targeted support to the lumbar region of the caregiver 12 to deter back pain and to prevent poor body alignment, which can cause muscle strain. In one implementation, the support elements 101 can include plastic rods that flex forward and backward. The support elements 101 are covered by a layer of padded material 102 to provide comfort to the caregiver 12. For example, the padded material 102 can be formed of ultrasuede to provide comfort. The ultrasuede can be covered by a breathable material, such as a polyester mesh material, to provide cooling. It should be noted that although the shaped area 100 shown has a substantially elliptical shape, the shaped area may include other shapes, such as substantially circular or substantially rectangular.

The outer side 94 of the lumbar support 90 generally includes a plurality of storage or attachment areas. For example, two flaps 104A, 104B arc shown in FIG. 6B as being closed and in FIG. 6C as being open. When open, the flaps 104A, 104B reveal attachment aids 106, such as snaps, flaps, hooks, or the like. Various objects can be attached to or can hang from these attachment aids, including, but not limited to, items related to care of the child or personal items of the caregiver 12.

Additionally, one or more storage areas can be defined on or within the outer side 94 of the lumbar support 90. For example, the lumbar support 90 includes a compartment 108 that is accessible by a flap secured by a zipper 109. This compartment 108 is the largest storage area of the child carrier 10, enabling the caregiver 12 to store additional items of the types mentioned above or larger items that do not fit within the other storage areas. For example, the compartment 108 can store items such as diapers, a diaper changing mat, baby wipes, creams and/or ointments. In one implementation, the compartment 108 has room for up to three diapers and ointment. Thus, the compartment 108 can substitute for a diaper bag or double as a “fanny pack”-style storage bag.

The outer side 94 of the lumbar support also can include a bottom portion 110, which is shown as open in FIG. 3C. The bottom portion 110 can be secured by engaging female snaps 112A, 112B to complimentary male snaps 114A, 114B. When the bottom portion 110 is open, the snaps 112A, 112B, 114A, 1148 can be used as additional attachment aids. The attachment aids 106, 112A, 112B, 114A, 114B can be hidden when not being used, thus providing the outer side 94 of the lumbar support 90 with a visually pleasing appearance.

FIGS. 7A and 7B depict a detachable bottle or beverage holder 120 that can be attached to one of the attachment aids 106. For example, the bottle holder 120 can inlcude snaps 122 on the outer periphery 124 of the bottle holder that attach to snaps on one of the flaps 104A, 104B. In one implementation, the bottle holder 120 is sized to accommodate a 6, 8 or 12 oz bottle, including the extra-wide Avent™ bottle, and includes a drawstring cord 126 to secure the bottle within the bottle holder 120. The bottle holder 120 is made with waterproof fabric. In addition, the bottle holder 120 is insulated to deter spoilage of the contents of the bottle (e.g., of formula or breast milk).

Referring to FIG. 8, an implementation of the child carrier 10 includes a detachable hooded cape 130 to protect the child 14 from the weather and to provide additional warmth for the child 14. To that end, the hooded cape 130 includes a main body 132 from which right and left sides 134, 136 extend. At its upper extreme, the hooded cape 130 culminates in a hood 138. The hooded cape 130 can be removably attached to the carrier by folding the outer portions of the sides 134, 136 around the shoulder shoulder strap 62 near the attachment points 64, 66 (see FIGS. 3 and 4) on each side of the main body 16 of the child carrier 10, and snapping together complementary male snaps 140A, 140B and female snaps 142A, 142B, as shown in FIG. 9. This enables the hooded cape 130 to be positioned over a child 14 within the child carrier 10 such that the hood 138 covers the child's head but not his or her eyes. Thus, the hooded cape 130 protects the child 14 from inclement weather without impeding the ability of the child 14 and caregiver 12 to maintain beneficial eye contact. The hood 138 is partially formed of an elastic material 131 to provide a comfortable, yet supportive fit over the main body 16 of the child carrier 10 and over the head of the child 14. In addition, the main body 132 and the sides 134, 136 of the hooded cape 130 arc formed of or treated with a substantially waterproof material to further protect the child 14 from inclement weather, such as rain and wind. Moreover, the main body 132 and the sides 134, 136 include a decorative pattern or color to render the hooded cape 130 more visually appealing. Moreover, the inner surface 144 of the hooded cape 130 (see FIG. 8) is formed of a soft material, such as ultrasuede, in order to provide added comfort to the child 14 when the hooded cape 130 is worn.

Referring now to FIG. 10, the child carrier 10 further includes a newborn head support attachment 146 for an infant that is not able to support his or her own head. The head support attachment 146 is in the general shape of a hood, a lower extension 148 of which is inserted into a pocket 150 in the top of the main body 16 of the child carrier 10 (see FIG. 3). Fastener devices, such as hook-and-loop fastener segments 152, attach the head support attachment 146 to the main body 16. The head support attachment includes a semi-rigid reinforcement, such as a hard plastic material or the like, to keep the entire head support attachment 146 stable and support the weight of the newborn's head. Right and left side extensions 154, 156 fold around the shoulder strap 62 near the attachment points 64, 66 (see FIGS. 3 and 4) on each side of the main body 16 of the child carrier 10, and are secured in place by complementary male snaps 158A, 158B and female snaps 160A, 160B (in a similar manner to the attachment of the hooded cape 130 shown in FIG. 9).

A cushion 162 inside the upper portion of the head support attachment 146 provides proper support for the head and neck of the child 14. In one implementation, the cushion also unfolds to create a small hood to protect the child 14 from the sun or inclement weather, or in some cases to allow the caregiver 12 to nurse the child 14 with privacy.

In one implementation, the child carrier 10 also includes a carrying device such as a drawstring tote bag or other device suitable to store or transport the carrier. Thus, when not in use, the entire child carrier 10 folds into the tote bag which otherwise may be stored in the carrier's lumbar compartment 108. The carrying device can have a decorative pattern or color that matches other portions of the child carrier 10, so as to render the carrier and its carrying device more collectively visually appealing.

In sum, the child carrier depicted and described herein can be worn on either hip or side of a caregiver with confidence that it will provide a simple yet safe means to comfortably carry a child while maintaining eye contact between the caregiver and the child. Moreover, while using the child carrier, a caregiver has a free range of movement and full use of her hands. The caregiver has easy access to various storage areas and attachment aids to store sufficient supplies that the caregiver need not carry other storage devices (e.g., a purse, a diaper bag) in tandem with the carrier. The risk of the caregiver developing pain or injury in areas such as the neck, shoulders and back is reduced by the presence of a cushioned shoulder element and a lumbar support. The child carrier carrier also provides comfort for the child, including a detachable hooded cape or a newborn head support attachment. Various implementations of the child carrier 10 can include any, some or all of the shoulder shoulder strap, the shoulder cushion, the lumbar support, one or more bottle holders, the hooded cape or the newborn head support attachment.

FIG. 11 illustrates a caregiver 12 using the child carrier 10 with the head support 146 attached to hold a baby 14. As also shown, the baby is further secured by an optional safety belt 170. The safety belt is elastic, has an adjustable length, and is sewn to the child carrier 10 at the top of the side openings 34, 36 below the winged ends 40, 42.

While the child carrier has been described with reference to specific implementations, it will nevertheless he understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the claims. For example, useful results still could be achieved if components in the disclosed devices were combined in a different manner and/or replaced or supplemented by other suitable components. Accordingly, other implementations are within the scope of the following claims.