Title:
INFANT SLING AND HIP CARRIER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An infant sling carrier having a breathable mesh fabric, elastic retaining members along opposite edges of the carrier, a padded weight distribution strap assembly and a removable infant support.



Inventors:
Rosen, Lynn (Parker, CO, US)
Nelson, Cynthia R. (Longmont, CO, US)
Application Number:
12/695956
Publication Date:
07/29/2010
Filing Date:
01/28/2010
Assignee:
GOLD BUG, INC. (Aurora, CO, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/159
International Classes:
A47D13/02
View Patent Images:
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Foreign References:
JP2008206929A2008-09-11
Other References:
Machine translation of JP 2008206929 A, Higuchi Reference
Primary Examiner:
ANDERSON, TODD
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
REILLY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW FIRM (1888 Sherman Street, Suite 200, DENVER, CO, 80203, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. In an infant carrier, comprising, an elongated pouch member having at least one layer of stretchable mesh fabric; said pouch member having opposite, upwardly extending side panels with upper, stretchable retaining members; and a strap assembly extending downwardly from one shoulder across the front and back of a wearer's torso, said assembly connected to said pouch member at opposite terminal ends and having an adjustable releasable securing member.

2. In the infant carrier according to claim 1 wherein said retaining members span a partial length of each said side panels.

3. In the infant carrier according to claim 1 wherein said elongated pouch member terminates at a first end with a broad padded strap portion and at an opposite second end with a slightly tapered secondary strap portion.

4. In the infant carrier according to claim 3 wherein said broad padded strap portion is adapted to extend downwardly and partially span one shoulder and across the front of the wearer's torso.

5. In the infant carrier according to claim 1 wherein said retaining members are elasticized and padded.

6. The infant carrier according to claim 1 wherein said carrier includes a harness support that is releasably secured within said pouch member.

7. The infant carrier according to claim 6 wherein said harness support is adapted to aid in elevation of an infant's head within said carrier.

8. In an infant support sling comprising, a cradling member having upwardly extending opposite side members terminating in edge portions having an elastic member and a padded member; said cradling member having upwardly extending opposite end members with terminal ends non-releasably secured to opposite ends of an adjustable shoulder strap, said shoulder strap extending downwardly from one shoulder of the wearer and across the front and back of the wearer's torso; and means for providing additional support to the infant within said cradling member.

9. The infant support sling according to claim 8 wherein said cradling member is comprised of at least one layer of breathable mesh material.

10. The infant support sling according to claim 8 wherein said edge portions comprise a fabric encased padded, elastic band spanning the greater length of opposite edge portions of said cradling member.

11. The infant support sling according to claim 8 wherein said additional support means includes a padded body support and harness system.

12. The infant support sling according to claim 8 wherein said additional support means is releasably secured to a lower portion of said cradling member.

13. The infant support sling according to claim 8 wherein said shoulder strap is adapted for single hand adjustment.

14. The infant support sling according to claim 8 wherein said cradling member includes a pocket member.

15. An infant carrier comprising in combination a shoulder strap extending downwardly from one shoulder across the front and back of the wearer's torso; a pouch member comprising dual layers, at least one of said layers comprising a breathable mesh fabric, said pouch member having opposite upwardly extending first and second ends and opposite upwardly extending first and second sides; said first and second sides having outer edges encasing a stretchable member; a removable, padded infant head and body support for placement within said pouch member; and means for suspending said pouch member from opposite lower ends of said shoulder strap at or near a side of the torso opposite to the one shoulder.

16. The infant carrier according to claim 15 wherein said stretchable member is in spaced relation to said first and second ends.

17. The infant carrier according to claim 15 wherein said infant head and body support is releasably secured to said dual layers of said pouch member.

18. The infant carrier according to claim 15 wherein said suspension means includes a buckle member and is adapted for single hand adjustment.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present application is a utility conversion of provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/148,262 filed 29 Jan. 2009, for INFANT SLING AND HIP CARRIER, by Lynn Rosen and Cynthia R. Nelson and herein incorporated by reference.

The present apparatus relates to an infant sling carrier and more particularly relates to a novel and improved infant sling carrier having a breathable mesh fabric and a removable infant support that is versatile and adapted to support a toddler in different positions.

BACKGROUND AND FIELD

Infants are often carried next to the body of an adult in a form of sling and many slings have been designed to accomplish this result while attempting to minimize the stress and fatigue that can result from carrying an infant. Often the infant is crowded or unable to move in many slings. Further, the slings are often uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time due to uneven weight distribution of the infant.

The present sling and hip carrier has been devised in which the carrier has an elongated pouch member having at least two layers of stretchable mesh fabric, the pouch member having opposite, upwardly extending side panels with upper, stretchable retaining members, and a strap assembly extending downwardly from one shoulder across the front and back of a wearer's torso, the assembly connected to the pouch member at opposite terminal ends and having an adjustable releasable securing member. A toddler may also be seated within the pouch or straddle it with the toddler's legs oriented on opposite sides of the pouch. An infant support pad with a 3 point T-strap is removably inserted within the pouch providing additional support for young infants.

The above and other advantages and features will become more readily appreciated and understood from a consideration of the following detailed description of different embodiments when taken together with the accompanying drawings in which:

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an infant carrier sling;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the sling of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the sling of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the sling of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a partially exploded side view of the sling of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an infant support insert;

FIG. 7 is a cut-away view of a portion of the infant support insert secured to the sling of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is a partial sectional view of the insert of FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is a partial sectional view of the sling of FIG. 1;

FIG. 10 is a sectional view of the mesh fabric of the pouch of FIG. 1;

FIG. 11 is a cut away cross-sectional view of FIG. 4;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the infant carrier sling of FIG. 1 demonstrating the sling in use; and

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of the infant carrier sling of FIG. 1 demonstrating a further use of the sling.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring in detail to the drawings, there is illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 13 a sling and hip carrier combination 11 having a crescent shaped, elongated, pliable sling body or pouch member 23 with a first or inner surface layer 15 and a second or outer, bottom surface layer 17. A single layer may also be used without departing from the intended scope. The dual layers 15 and 17 comprise a breathable, mesh fabric 28 that is resilient providing lateral support but also capable of stretching to conform to each individual infant. Other types of fabric may be used as well. The mesh fabric 28 includes pinpoint openings (not shown) in the fabric which allows the fabric to stretch as well as ventilate. The fabric 28 conforms to the shape and weight of the infant and naturally aligns the infant lengthwise and widthwise within the pouch 23 but having memory as well so that the pouch returns to its original shape and size once an infant is removed from the sling. The pouch 23 also includes opposite upper side edges 31 and 33 of the pouch extending upwardly and the pouch 23 is located intermediate of ends 24 and 26, which also extend upwardly in a slightly tapered fashion. The pouch member 23 is preferably of layered construction as described with edges 19 joined to a surrounding member 21, creating the recessed opening of the pouch or cavity 23 for placement of an infant or toddler therein. The surrounding member 21 is made up of a soft, washable material that encases an elastic band 22 and padding 25, providing a narrowed, slightly gathered opening in the pouch member 23. This is shown in FIG. 11. The surrounding member 21, the padding 25 and the elastic band 22 extend along a substantial length of each of the opposite sides 31 and 33 of the pouch member 23 and is designed to retain an infant within the pouch member. The surrounding member 21 in combination with the opposite sides 31 and 33, form a secure cradle-like enclosure that prevents an infant from slipping out of the pouch and also provides additional privacy for nursing and shielding a sleeping infant. The breathable mesh 28 allows the sides 31 and 33 to shield the infant while providing slight ventilation for the infant. The pouch member 23 is adapted to retain the infant head and body in a natural alignment while also providing a comfortable support for the infant.

Terminal ends 16 of each of the surrounding members 21 including the elastic bands 22 are connected to the opposite ends 24 and 26. The end 24 includes a first mesh layer 41 that is continuous from the mesh layer 17 and a second solid layer 43 that preferably includes padding 45 therein and extending upwardly to form a strap assembly 27. The second solid layer is preferably a lightweight, machine washable, durable fabric. The end 26 is made up of dual solid layers 47 and 49 containing padding 51, also extending upwardly to form a secondary strap member 34. The strap assembly 27, including a primary padded strap member 29 and a secondary strap member 34 is adapted to extend downwardly from one shoulder of the wearer, across the front and back of the wearer's torso so that the infant or toddler can be supported in a prone position, sitting position or the toddler may be placed in a position straddling the pouch member 23 whereby the toddler's legs are placed on opposite sides of the pouch member 23 and the toddler is partially supported on the hip of the wearer. This is shown by way of example, and not limitation, in FIGS. 12 and 13. The primary strap member 29 is preferably a reinforced, partially padded strap, extending a partial width and length of the wearer's shoulder and front torso as shown in FIG. 13. Other configurations of the strap assembly may be used without departing from the scope of the present sling. The padded portion 45, as shown in FIG. 9, is located along an upper, front portion 55 of the primary strap member 29 to prevent rubbing of the wearer's neck and shoulder area and the wide cushioning portion of the shoulder strap assembly distributes the weight of the infant across a substantial area of the shoulder of the wearer for optimum comfort.

The primary strap member 29 is connected to a buckle member 32 which is designed to allow pass through of the secondary strap member 34 which is of a length sufficient to allow passage of a terminal end 18 through the buckle member 32 to provide for an adjustable strap. The sling may then be adjusted for comfort of the user. Other forms of adjustment members may be used as well such as a hook and loop closure member, snap assembly or any other type of securing member that preferably allows for adjustment. The buckle member 32 also allows for single hand adjustment of the shoulder strap assembly 27. Opposite ends 38 and 40 of the strap assembly 27 are continuous and are secured at the opposite ends 24 and 26 of the pouch 23. The end 24 is slightly tapered at the lower end 57 of the primary strap member 29. The opposite end 26 is also slightly tapered and terminates in a connection point 59 with the secondary strap member 32. The positioning of the opposite ends 24 and 26 as well as the inclusion of the mesh material allows for optimum positioning of the infant and even distribution of the infant's weight. Further, the configuration of the ends 24 and 26 aid in preventing an infant from slipping down in the pouch resulting in an uncomfortable positioning of the infant.

The sling 11 includes an infant support member 35 as shown in detail in FIGS. 5, 6 and 8. The infant support member 35 includes a padded, sectioned base member 36, a head roll support 37 at one end 39 of the base member 36 and a flap 41 at an opposite end 43. The flap 41 has a front panel having a T-shaped portion 61 that is adapted to be secured to dual side flaps 63 and 65, forming dual openings 47 and 47′ for passage of an infant's legs therethrough. The dual flaps 63 and 65 are preferably secured to the T-shaped portion 61 with hook and loop fasteners 69 forming a 3 point T-strap retention or securing system. The support member is releasably secured to the dual layers 15 and 17 of the pouch with an elastic loop member. The elastic loop member 71 is secured to the layers 15 and 17 and has a hook and loop fastener 75 which corresponds to a hook and loop fastener (not shown) located on each of the dual flaps 63 and 65. The dual flaps may be inserted through the loop member 71 and secured to the loop member 71 with the complementary strips of hook and loop fasteners. In this manner, the infant support member may be removed at will. The infant support member 35 aids in supporting the head and neck of a smaller infant while also preventing the infant from becoming cramped in the sling, as previously discussed. The breathable, stretchy mesh also combines with the infant support member 35 to insure that the baby's head remains slightly elevated. The pouch 23 has at least one pocket member 81 located preferably along an exterior of the pouch as shown in FIG. 3 for storage of miscellaneous items therein. The pocket member 81 may be zippered, as shown, or any other type of closure device may be used. An additional pocket member 83, as shown in FIG. 12, is available for storing excess portions of the shoulder strap. Further, additional pocket members (not shown) may be located along the strap assembly 29 without departing from the scope of the sling.

In use, the infant may be placed in a prone position within the pouch 23 and secured with the infant support member, allowing for optimal positioning and securing of the infant. If desired, the strap assembly 27 may be adjusted and positioned to provide privacy, allowing for nursing of an infant while in the sling. Once an infant has reached a certain stage and is capable of self-supporting, the infant or toddler may also be placed in the pouch 23, but in a different manner. The toddler or older infant may be placed in an upright, sitting position in the sling 11 with the rear portion of their body being supported by the pouch 23 as shown in FIG. 13. In this way, the weight of the infant is supported mainly on the hip of the wearer while the shoulder strap assembly 29 provides weight distribution. This position also requires the shoulder strap assembly 27 to be placed on the opposite shoulder of the wearer and the infant/toddler is placed opposite of that shoulder. The configuration of the shoulder strap assembly 29 allows the wearer to switch weight bearing shoulders without removing the infant from within the sling 11. There are also other configurations possible for placement of an infant or toddler which are not shown but are encompassed within the scope of this sling.

It is therefore to be understood that even though numerous characteristics and advantages of the present embodiments have been set forth in the foregoing description, together with the details of the structure and function of the embodiments, the disclosure is illustrative only, and changes may be made within the principles of the embodiments to the full extend indicated by the broad general meaning of the terms and reasonable equivalents thereof.