Title:
BABY CARRIER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A baby carrier 11, which is entirely formed to be ring-shaped of a sheet-like member 16, comprises a wrapping portion 12 capable of wrapping a baby/toddler, the wrapping portion 12 being formed by folding the sheet-like member 16 along a middle part in a width direction thereof to form a two-layer structure; and a shoulder engageable portion 13 engageable with a shoulder of a wearer of the baby carrier. A put-in/take-out permission portion 14A is provided in a top part of the wrapping portion 12, the put-in/take-out permission portion 14A being opened so as to allow the baby/toddler to be put into, or taken out from, the wrapping portion 12; and a contraction urging portion 15 is provided, in a put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 located at an edge of the put-in/take-out permission portion 14A, for urging the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 in a contracting direction to hold the baby/toddler in the wrapping portion 12.



Inventors:
Sakanishi, Yasuhiko (Osaka-shi, JP)
Application Number:
12/445557
Publication Date:
11/18/2010
Filing Date:
01/16/2008
Assignee:
T-REX CO., LTD. (Osaka-shi, Osaka, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47D13/02
View Patent Images:
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20090120479TRAY FOR A WALKERMay, 2009Mccarthy
20020113102Backpack that is foldable into a bagAugust, 2002Klamm
20070234631On-Person Fishing Pole HolderOctober, 2007Parkison
20050145663Detachable modular fishing beltJuly, 2005Samuels
20020014504Load-carrier with movable carriage for automotive vehicleFebruary, 2002Hetu
20070017945Lifting and carrying aidJanuary, 2007Willis
20030234267Carrier saddle for small childrenDecember, 2003Spears



Primary Examiner:
LARSON, JUSTIN MATTHEW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OSHA LIANG L.L.P. (TWO HOUSTON CENTER 909 FANNIN, SUITE 3500, HOUSTON, TX, 77010, US)
Claims:
1. A baby carrier, which is entirely formed to be ring-shaped of a sheet-like member, the baby carrier comprising: a wrapping portion capable of wrapping a baby/toddler, the wrapping portion being formed by folding the sheet-like member along a middle part in a width direction thereof to form a two-layer structure; and a shoulder engageable portion engageable with a shoulder of a wearer of the baby carrier; wherein: a put-in/take-out permission portion is provided in a top part of the wrapping portion, the put-in/take-out permission portion being opened so as to allow the baby/toddler to be put into, or taken out from, the wrapping portion; and a contraction urging portion is provided, in a put-in/take-out permission edge portion located at an edge of the put-in/take-out permission portion, for urging the put-in/take-out permission edge portion in a contracting direction to hold the baby/toddler in the wrapping portion.

2. The baby carrier according to claim 1, wherein the contraction urging portion is formed by providing the put-in/take-out permission edge portion with contraction urging means having a higher level of stretchability than that of cloth used for the put-in/take-out permission edge portion.

3. The baby carrier according to claim 2, wherein the contract urging means is formed of an elastic linear member located along the put-in/take-out permission edge portion.

4. The baby carrier according to claim 3, wherein: the elastic linear member has a natural length shorter than a length of a locating part of the put-in/take-out permission edge portion in which the elastic linear member is to be located; and the elastic linear member is fixed to the locating part in the state of being stretched to the length of the locating part.

5. The baby carrier according to claim 4, wherein a tubular accommodation portion for accommodating the elastic linear member is formed in the put-in/take-out permission edge portion.

6. The baby carrier according to claim 5, wherein: the tubular accommodation portion has an accommodating opening for accommodating the elastic linear member; and at the accommodating opening, a sealed and fixed portion is formed for sealing the accommodating opening and fixing the elastic linear member to the tubular accommodation portion.

7. The baby carrier according to claim 6, wherein: the sealed and fixed portion is formed at each of both ends of the put-in/take-out permission edge portion; and the sealed and fixed portion is formed of an overlapped and sewn portion obtained by overlapping and sewing and thus fixing the tubular accommodation portion together with the elastic linear member accommodated therein.

8. The baby carrier according to claim 7, wherein an intermediate position of the elastic linear member is fixed to the put-in/take-out permission edge portion.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a baby carrier usable for holding a baby or a toddler.

BACKGROUND ART

The above-mentioned baby carrier can be worn in various manners in accordance with the body size of the baby/toddler, the physique of a wearer thereof (child care giver), the use or the like. Owing to such a great convenience, the baby carrier is being more and more widely used.

For example, one type of the baby carrier is a “toddler holding belt” disclosed in patent document 1.

The “toddler holding belt” is obtained by folding an outer cloth piece and an inner cloth piece into two and sewing the outer cloth piece and the inner cloth piece at one position to form a circular shape. The circular-shaped belt is hung on the shoulder, and a toddler is held in a horizontal manner on a part of the belt in a length direction thereof.

However, the “toddler holding belt” merely supports the baby in the state where two pieces of cloth are folded into two and extended in a width direction, and so has a risk of not being able to stably holding the baby/toddler.

For example, when the child care giver wearing the “toddler holding belt”, for example, bends forward or when the toddler moves, there is a risk that, for example, ends of the flexible outer and inner cloth pieces in the width direction are rolled up, and as a result, the baby/toddler falls down.

This is not comfortable to wear for the child care giver either because he/she always needs to hold the toddler by, for example, putting his/her hand on the belt so that the baby/toddler is in close contact with his/her body.

[Patent Document 1]

Japanese Laid-Open Utility Model Publication No. 5-20665

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

The present invention has an object of providing a baby carrier which guarantees the safety of a baby/toddler and comfort in wearing and is easy to use for a wearer thereof.

A baby carrier according to the present invention is entirely formed to be ring-shaped of a sheet-like member, and comprises a wrapping portion capable of wrapping a baby/toddler, the wrapping portion being formed by folding the sheet-like member along a middle part in a width direction thereof to form a two-layer structure; and a shoulder engageable portion engageable with a shoulder of a wearer of the baby carrier. A put-in/take-out permission portion is provided in a top part of the wrapping portion, the put-in/take-out permission portion being opened so as to allow the baby/toddler to be put into, or taken out from, the wrapping portion; and a contraction urging portion is provided, in a put-in/take-out permission edge portion located at an edge of the put-in/take-out permission portion (top end of the wrapping portion), for urging the put-in/take-out permission edge portion in a contracting direction to hold the baby/toddler in the wrapping portion.

Owing to the above-described structure, while the baby is wrapped in the wrapping portion, the put-in/take-out permission edge portion can be urged in the contracting direction to hold the baby/toddler in the wrapping portion. Therefore, the safety and comfort of the baby can be guaranteed.

In addition, the put-in/take-out permission portion can be easily opened by extending the put-in/take-out permission edge portion against the urging force in the contracting direction. Therefore, the baby/toddler can be easily put into, or taken out from, the wrapping portion. Thus, the baby carrier according to the present invention is easy to use.

The properties of the material used for the cloth of the sheet-like member are not specifically limited specific; for example, either a stretchable or non-stretchable material is usable, as long as the material is sufficiently strong to hold the baby while the wearer wears the baby carrier obliquely hung from one shoulder.

The sheet-like member may be formed of a knit or woven material.

In the specification, the expression “hold the baby/toddler in the wrapping portion” means to hold the baby/toddler in the wrapping portion so that the baby baby/toddler does not fall out from the put-in/take-out permission portion, unless otherwise specified.

The contraction urging portion may be formed of a cloth having a level of stretchability capable of urging the cloth itself of the put-in/take-out permission edge portion in the contracting direction to hold the baby/toddler in the wrapping portion. In one embodiment of the present invention, it is preferable that the contraction urging portion is formed by providing the put-in/take-out permission edge portion with contraction urging means having a higher level of stretchability than that of cloth used for the put-in/take-out permission edge portion.

Owing to the above-described structure, the contraction urging portion is formed in the put-in/take-out permission edge portion. Therefore, the cloth itself of the put-in/take-out permission edge portion does not need to have stretchability. For this reason, the wrapping portion including the put-in/take-out permission edge portion may be formed of one type of material having a low level of stretchability. As a result, the baby carrier can be produced easily.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the contract urging means may be formed of an elastic linear member located along the put-in/take-out permission edge portion.

Owing to the above-described structure, the put-in/take-out permission edge portion is not bulky and can be easily urged in the contracting direction. In addition, the elastic linear member is extendable and contractable in the entire length thereof, and so can urge the put-in/take-out permission edge portion in the contracting direction to certainly prevent the baby/toddler in the wrapping portion from falling down.

The elastic linear member may be any linear member, with no specific limitation, which has a higher level of elasticity than that of the cloth of the put-in/take-out permission edge portion; and may be, for example, a rubber string, a rubber band, a coil band or the like.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the elastic linear member may have a natural length shorter than a length of a locating part of the put-in/take-out permission edge portion in which the elastic linear member is to be located; and the elastic linear member may be fixed to the locating part in the state of being stretched to the length of the locating part.

Owing to the above-described structure, the contraction urging portion having an appropriate urging force required to hold the baby/toddler in the wrapping portion can be realized easily and with a simple structure.

In one embodiment of the present invention, a tubular accommodation portion for accommodating the elastic linear member may be formed in the put-in/take-out permission edge portion.

Owing to the above-described structure, the elastic linear member can be accommodated in the accommodation portion described above. This prevents the elastic linear member from disturbing the work of putting the baby/toddler into, or taking the baby/toddler out from, the wrapping portion and also allows the accommodation portion to appear neat.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the tubular accommodation portion may have an accommodating opening for accommodating the elastic linear member; and at the accommodating opening, a sealed and fixed portion may be formed for sealing the accommodating opening and fixing the elastic linear member to the tubular accommodation portion.

Owing to the above-described structure, the accommodating opening can be sealed and the elastic linear member can be strongly attached to the tubular accommodation portion. In addition, the sealed and fixed portion formed at the accommodating opening can act both to seal the accommodating opening and to fix the elastic linear member to the tubular accommodation portion.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the sealed and fixed portion may be formed at each of both ends of the put-in/take-out permission edge portion; and the sealed and fixed portion may be formed of an overlapped and sewn portion obtained by overlapping and sewing and thus fixing the tubular accommodation portion together with the elastic linear member accommodated therein.

By forming the sealed and fixed portion of the overlapped and sewn portion, the sealed and fixed portion can be fixed more strongly than by, for example, merely sewing the cloth. Even when the elastic linear member is extended, the sealed and fixed portion can be firmly held.

Moreover, by forming the sealed and fixed portion at each of both ends of the put-in/take-out permission edge portion, the elastic linear member can be held at both ends thereof in a length direction. Therefore, the elastic linear member can be held without spoiling the superb elasticity thereof

The overlapped and sewn portion may be obtained by, for example, forming a folded part (tucked part) of a plurality of layers including the elastic linear member and sewing and thus fixing the folded part.

In one embodiment of the present invention, an intermediate position of the elastic linear member may be fixed to the put-in/take-out permission edge portion.

Owing to the above-described structure, even when the baby/toddler dynamically moves, the elastic linear member accommodated in the tubular accommodation portion can be prevented from being twisted.

In addition, such a situation can be prevented that the rubber string partially extended is lopsided in a part of the put-in/take-out permission edge portion as a result of, for example, a part of the rubber string in a length direction being caught by the tubular accommodation portion when the rubber string is contracted.

Therefore, the elastic linear member can be guaranteed to be elastic entirely uniformly, and thus the entirety of the put-in/take-out permission edge portion can firmly hold the baby/toddler so as not to fall out.

By preventing the elastic linear member from being lopsided in a part of the put-in/take-out permission edge portion, the put-in/take-out permission edge can be prevented from being relaxed. This also provides the effects of preventing the put-in/take-out permission edge portion from disturbing the other operations and allowing the put-in/take-out permission edge portion to appear neat.

Means for fixing the intermediate position of the elastic linear member to the put-in/take-out permission edge portion is not limited to anything specific. For example, the intermediate position is preferably fixed by sewing.

Where the intermediate position is fixed by sewing, the elastic linear member can be strongly fixed to the put-in/take-out permission edge portion and the fixed part is not bulky.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a state where a baby carrier according to this embodiment is used.

FIG. 2 is a front view of a baby wrapping member according to this embodiment.

FIG. 3 provides a plan view (FIG. 3(a)) and a bottom view (FIG. 3(b)) of the baby carrier according to this embodiment.

FIG. 4 provides a left side view (FIG. 4(a)) and a right side view (FIG. 4(b)) of the baby carrier according to this embodiment.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along line A-A of FIG. 4(a).

FIG. 6 is a front view of the baby carrier according to this embodiment in a spread state.

FIG. 7 provides a plan view (FIG. 7(a)) and a bottom view (FIG. 7(b)) of the baby carrier according to this embodiment in the spread state.

FIG. 8 is a side view of the baby carrier according to this embodiment in the spread state.

FIG. 9 is provided to explain a production method of the baby carrier according to this embodiment.

FIG. 10 is provided to explain the production method of the baby carrier according to this embodiment.

FIG. 11 is provided to explain the production method of the baby carrier according to this embodiment.

FIG. 12 is provided to explain the production method of the baby carrier according to this embodiment.

FIG. 13 shows a structure of the baby carrier according to this embodiment.

FIG. 14 shows a state where the baby carrier according to this embodiment is used.

FIG. 15 shows how the baby carrier according to this embodiment functions.

FIG. 16 shows how the baby carrier according to this embodiment functions.

FIG. 17 shows a state where the baby carrier according to this embodiment is used.

FIG. 18 shows how the baby carrier according to this embodiment functions.

DESCRIPTION OF REFERENCE NUMERALS

11 Baby carrier

12 Wrapping portion

13 Shoulder engageable portion

14A Put-in/take-out permission portion

14 Put-in/take-out permission edge portion

15 Rubber string

16 Sheet-like member

25 Tubular accommodation portion

26 Accommodating opening

27 Overlapped, sewn and fixed portion

28 Sewn and fixed portion

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

A baby carrier 11 in this embodiment will be described with reference to the figures.

FIG. 1 shows a baby carrier 11 used by a child care giver to hold a baby in a so-called “cradle” manner.

The baby carrier 11 includes a wrapping portion 12 capable of wrapping a baby and a shoulder engageable portion 13 engageable with a shoulder of the child care giver. The baby carrier 11 further includes a put-in/take-out permission portion 14A which is located in a top part of the wrapping portion 12 and is opened so as to allow the baby to be put into, or taken our from, the wrapping portion 12. The put-in/take-out permission portion 14A has a put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 along an edge thereof (top end of the wrapping portion 12). In the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14, a rubber string 15 is provided for urging the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 in a contracting direction to hold the baby in the wrapping portion 12.

In more detail, the baby carrier 11 is formed as follows as shown in FIG. 2 through FIG. 5. The entirety of the baby carrier 11 is formed of one sheet-like knit member 16 having a low level of stretchability. The sheet-like member 16 is formed to be ring-shaped, and is folded at a middle part in a width direction thereof so as to be have a two-layer structure. As shown in FIG. 5, the baby carrier 11 has a through-hole B inside the ring-shaped (tubular) sheet-like member 16 in the two-layer structure, and has openings A on both sides of the through-hole B along the through-hole B.

FIG. 2 through FIG. 5 each show the baby carrier 11 having the two-layer structure as described above. FIG. 2 is a front view or a rear view of the baby carrier 1. FIGS. 3(a) and (b) are a plan view and a bottom view of the baby carrier 11, respectively. FIGS. 4(a) and (b) are a left side view and a right side view of the baby carrier 11, respectively. FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along line A-A in FIG. 4(a) in which a part thereof is shown enlarged.

As shown in FIG. 1, FIG. 2 and FIG. 5, the shoulder engageable portion 13 is formed in a part of the baby carrier 11 (the part in a circumferential direction) so as to have a smaller width than the remaining part, so that when the child care giver wears the baby carrier 11 obliquely hung from one shoulder, the shoulder engageable portion 13 is engageable with the shoulder.

As shown in FIG. 3(a), the shoulder engageable portion 13 has a shoulder engagement sewing line 21 along a width direction thereof. The shoulder engagement sewing line 21 is obtained as a result of sewing and fixing together two ends of the sheet-like member 16.

The shoulder engagement sewing line 21 may be optionally stitched or piped so as to reinforce the shoulder engageable portion 13, which is likely to be subjected to a load.

As shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, the wrapping portion 12 includes a part corresponding to a front bodice and a part corresponding to a back bodice of the child care giver when he/she wears the baby carrier 11 obliquely hung from one shoulder. The part corresponding to the front bodice and the part corresponding to the back bodice are made so as to have a greater width than the remaining part in the circumferential direction. Both of these parts are sufficiently large to wrap and hold the baby/toddler.

Portions of the baby carrier 11 between the shoulder engageable portion 13 and the wrapping portion 12 in the circumferential direction are formed so as to have a width gradually decreasing toward the shoulder engageable portion 13 from the wrapping portion 12.

As shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, the baby carrier 11 has a fold sewing line 22 along the folded part at which the wrapping part 16 is folded to have the two-layer structure (in FIG. 1, the left side of the baby carrier 11) although the fold sewing line 22 is not formed in the wrapping portion 12.

Like the shoulder engagement sewing line 21, the fold sewing line 22 may be optionally stitched or piped so as to be reinforced and also to keep the shape of the folded sheet-like member 16 having the two-layer structure.

As shown in FIG. 6, FIG. 7 and FIG. 8, when the baby carrier 11 is spread into one layer from the two-layer structure, portions on both sides are symmetrical with respect to the middle part in the width direction of the sheet-like member 16 including the fold sewing line 22.

FIG. 6 through FIG. 8 each show the baby carrier 11 in a spread state. FIG. 6 is a front view or a rear view of the baby carrier 11. FIGS. 7(a) and (b) are a plan view and a bottom view of the baby carrier 11, respectively. FIG. 8 is a right side view or a left side view of the baby carrier 11.

For use, the baby carrier 11 in the spread state shown in FIG. 6 through FIG. 8 is folded as shown in FIG. 2 through FIG. 5 along the middle part in a width direction, so that the portions on one side and the portions on the other wide overlap each other in the entirety of the circumferential direction thereof.

Regardless of whether the baby carrier 11 is folded such that the portions on one side is outer to the portions on the other side or the baby carrier 11 is folded such that the portions on one side is inner to the portions on the other side, the same two-layer structure is provided. Therefore, the baby carrier 11 may be folded such that the portions on one side is either outer or inner to the portions on the other side.

Here, the outer part of the sheet-like member 16 of the two-layer structure is set as an outer cloth 16o and the inner part thereof is set as an inner cloth 16i.

The put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 is formed as each of an outer put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14o located at a top end of the outer cloth 16o in the wrapping portion 12 and an inner put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14i located at a top end of the inner cloth 16i in the wrapping portion 12.

Each put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 has a tubular accommodation portion 25 along a length direction thereof, and the rubber string 15 is accommodated in the tubular accommodation portion 25 (see the partial enlarged view of FIG. 5).

The rubber string 15 is formed of an elastic material having a higher level of stretchability (elasticity) than that of the cloth used for the sheet-like member 16, and has a natural length shorter than the entire length of the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14.

Inside the tubular accommodation portion 25, the rubber string 15 is stretched to a length corresponding to the entire length of the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 and is integrally fixed to, and integrated with, the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 and the tubular accommodation portion 25 in this stretched state. In this manner, the rubber string 15 is located through the entire length of the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14.

How the rubber string 15 is fixed to the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 and the tubular accommodation portion 25 will be described in detail.

Both ends of the rubber string 15 in a length direction thereof are each fixed by an overlapped, sewn and fixed portion 27, and an intermediate position of the rubber string 15 is fixed by a sewn and fixed portion 28.

The overlapped, sewn and fixed portion 27 is formed as follows as shown in an enlarged view of an important part in FIG. 4(a). At each of the length-direction ends of each put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14, the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 and the tubular accommodation portion 25 are overlapped and folded together with the rubber string 15 accommodated in the tubular accommodation portion 25 to form an overlapping part (tucked part), and the overlapping part is sewn and fixed.

The sewn and fixed portion 28 is formed at, for example, each of two intermediate positions which equally divide the length of the rubber string 15 into three. Each sewn and fixed portion 28 is formed by sewing and fixing such a position of the rubber string 15 to the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 and the tubular accommodation portion 25.

Owing to the above-described structure, the rubber string 15 urges the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 in the contracting direction. Therefore, the rubber string 15 is contracted together with the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 and the tubular accommodation portion 25.

Now, with reference to FIG. 9 through FIG. 12, an example of a production method of the baby carrier 11 described above will be described regarding each step.

(Step 1) As shown in FIG. 9(a), one sheet-like member 16 formed of a knit material is made into a rectangular shape. The sheet-like member 16 can be formed into a rectangular shape by means of, for example, cutting or sewing. Where the means of sewing is used, rib knitting (rubber knitting), both-sided knitting (interlock knitting), plain knitting, latitude knitting such as circular knitting, longitude knitting, or a combination thereof is usable.

The rectangular sheet-like member 16 includes a hollow portion 17 along both ends thereof in the width direction which can accommodate the rubber string 15.

Specifically, as shown in FIGS. 9(a-1) and (a-2), the hollow portion 17 is formed by knitting each width-direction end part, of the sheet-like member 16, having a predetermined width, such that one knit surface 16A and the other knit surface 16B form a hollow part so as not to contact each other, i.e., so as to be separable from each other.

FIGS. 9(a-1) and (a-2) are respectively an enlarged cross-sectional view of FIG. 9(a) taken along line A-A and an enlarged cross-sectional view of FIG. 9(a) taken along line B-B.

(Step 2) As shown in FIG. 9(b), the sheet-like member 16 is formed to be ring-shaped (tubular) by sewing together ends thereof in a longitudinal direction.

At this stage, the shoulder engagement sewing line 21 can be formed along the part at which the longitudinal-direction ends are sewn together.

(Step 3) The sheet-like member 16 is folded along a middle part 18 (middle part in the width direction) represented in FIG. 9(b) by the phantom line (middle part in the up-down direction in FIG. 9(b)).

Specifically, as shown in FIG. 10(c), a bottom half below the width-direction middle part (middle part in the up-down direction in the figure) is folded inside or outside a top half above the middle part to form a two-layer structure having the outer cloth 16o and the inner cloth 16i.

As a result, as shown in FIG. 10(c-1), the folded part (the above-mentioned middle part 18) is located at a bottom end of the two-layer sheet-like member 16, and the hollow part 17 along the width-direction ends is located at a top end of the sheet-like member 16.

FIG. 10(c-1) is an enlarged cross-sectional view of FIG. 10(c) taken along line C-C.

(Step 4) As shown in FIG. 10(d), a part of the folded part 18 of the sheet-like member 16 is cut off along cut line C represented by the one-dot chain line in the figure.

Specifically, a part in the circumferential direction of the folded part 18 (bottom end circumference) is cut off, such that cut line C forms an arc inclined at, for example, about 30 degrees, with respect to the bottom end circumference.

(Step 5) As shown in FIG. 10(e), the part of the folded part 18 which is cut in step (4) is sewn. By this sewing step, the fold sewing line 22 can be formed.

(Step 6) As shown in FIG. 10(f), a part of each hollow portion 17 along the top end circumference of the knit sheet-like member 16, the part not corresponding to the fold sewing line 22, is set as the tubular accommodation portion 25 capable of accommodating the rubber string 15. At each of length-direction ends of the tubular accommodation portion 25, a slit-like accommodating opening 26, through which the rubber string 15 can be inserted to be accommodated in the tubular accommodation portion 25 is formed.

As shown in the partial enlarged view of FIG. 10(f) and FIG. 10(f-1), the accommodating opening 26 is formed in both of the inner cloth 16i and the outer cloth 16o.

FIG. 10(f-1) is an enlarged cross-sectional view of FIG. 10(f) taken along line D-D, namely, a cross-sectional view of the cut part of the top end circumference of the sheet-like member 16 at which the accommodating openings 26 are formed.

The tubular accommodation portion 25 is provided as each of an outer tubular accommodation portion 25o located on the outer cloth 16o and an inner tubular accommodation portion 25i located on the inner cloth 16i.

A part of the sheet-like member 16 in the circumferential direction, the part not corresponding to the fold sewing line 22, corresponds to the wrapping portion 12.

(Step 7) As shown in FIG. 11(g), two rubber strings 15 are respectively accommodated in the tubular accommodation portions 25.

Specifically, among the two rubber strings 15, one rubber string 15 is inserted through the accommodation opening 26 on the outer cloth 16o to be accommodated in the outer tubular accommodation portion 25o, and the other rubber string 15 is inserted through the accommodation opening 26 on the inner cloth 16i to be accommodated in the inner tubular accommodation portion 25i.

As a result, the rubber strings 15 can be accommodated in the tubular accommodation portions 25 as shown in FIGS. 11(h), (h-1), (h-2) and (h-3).

FIG. 11(h-1) is an enlarged cross-sectional view of FIG. 11(h) taken along line E-E. FIGS. 11(h-2) and (h-3) are schematic views showing the arc-shaped tubular accommodation portions 25 in FIG. 11(h) in a planar, spread state. FIG. 11(h-2) is provided to illustrate a cross-section in a thickness direction of the tubular accommodation portions 25 of the sheet-like member 16. FIG. 11(h-3) is a partially cut view provided to explain the rubber string 15 accommodated in the tubular accommodation portion 25.

(Step 8) As shown in FIGS. 11(i-1) and (i-2), the rubber strings 15 are stretched in the tubular accommodation portions 25 to reach both of the length-direction ends of the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14.

(Step 9) As shown in FIGS. 12(j-1) and (j-2), each of the length-direction ends of the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14 is overlapped and folded together with the tubular accommodation portion 25 and the rubber string 15 accommodated in the accommodation portion 25. The overlapped and folded part (tucked part) is sewn and fixed. Thus, the overlapped, sewn and fixed portion 27 is formed at each of both the length-direction ends of each accommodation portion 25.

(Step 10) As shown in FIGS. 12(k-1) and (k-2), at an intermediate position of each rubber string 15 in the length direction, a sewn and fixed portion 28 is formed for sewing and fixing the rubber string 15 to the accommodation portion 25 and the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14. The sewn and fixed portion 28 is formed at each of two intermediate positions of each rubber string 15 which equally divide the length (L) of the rubber string 15 into three (L/3).

As a result of carrying out the steps (1) through (10), the baby carrier 11 shown in FIG. 13(l) can be formed. At this stage, the baby carrier 11 is in the state where the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14 are contracted as shown in FIG. 13(l-1), the partial enlarged view of FIG. 13(l-1) and FIG. 13(l-2).

Using the baby carrier 11, the child care giver can hold a baby in the above-mentioned “cradle” manner as well as in a “forward directed” manner shown in FIG. 14 in which the baby is directed forward in the wrapping portion 12 or in a “facing” manner (not shown) in which the baby faces the child care giver.

Where the baby is held in the “forward directed” manner or the “facing” manner, like where the baby is held in the “cradle” manner, substantially the entire body of the baby can be wrapped in the wrapping portion 12 and also the baby can be held so as not to fall out from the wrapping portion 12 owing to the use of the urging force of the rubber strings 15 included in the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14.

Regardless of whether the baby is held in the “cradle” manner, the “forward directed” manner or the “facing” manner, the baby can be put into, or taken out from, the wrapping portion 12 by substantially the same procedure.

Hereinafter, with reference to FIG. 15, a procedure of putting the baby into, or taking the baby out from, the wrapping portion 12 will be described in the case where, for example, the baby is held in the “forward directed” manner shown in FIG. 14.

First, the baby is put into the wrapping portion 12 as follows. The child care giver, while wearing the baby carrier 11 obliquely hung from one shoulder, holds only the outer put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14o or the vicinity thereof with one hand. In this state, the child care giver pulls the outer put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14o or the vicinity thereof outward against the urging force of the rubber string 15 included in the outer put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14o to separate the outer put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14o from the inner put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14i. Thus, the put-in/take-out permission portion 14A can be opened between the outer put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14o and the inner put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14i.

The child care giver holds and puts the baby to the wrapping portion 12 with the other hand through the put-in/take-out permission portion 14A. As a result, as shown in FIG. 15, the baby can be accommodated in the wrapping portion 12.

The child care giver gradually alleviates the force of pulling the outer put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14o outward and releases the outer put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14o from his/her hand. Thus, the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 contract by the urging force of the rubber string 15. As a result, as shown in FIG. 16, the baby can be wrapped in the wrapping portion 12 and held by the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14.

The baby can be taken out from the wrapping portion 12 as follows. Like in the case of putting the baby into the wrapping portion 12, the child care giver pulls only the outer put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14o outward against the urging force of the rubber string 15 with one hand to open the put-in/take-out permission portion 14A, and holds and pulls the baby out from the wrapping portion 12 with the other hand (not shown).

Using the baby carrier 11, the child care giver may also hold the baby in a manner called “vertical and facing” manner as shown in FIG. 17 as well as the above-mentioned manners.

In the case where the baby is held in the “vertical and facing” manner, the inner cloth 16i of the wrapping portion 12 is not located between the child care giver and the baby unlike in the case of the “cradle” manner, but an overlapped assembly of the outer cloth 16o and the inner cloth 16i wraps the baby from his/her back.

In this state, the wrapping portion 12 can support the baby while the bottom part thereof is curved by the weight of the baby in compliance with the buttocks of the baby. At the same time, the rubber strings 15 included in both of the outer put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14o and the inner put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14i urge the baby carrier 11 in the contracting direction and thus firmly support the baby from his/her back.

Accordingly, even for holding the baby in the “vertical and facing” manner, like for holding the baby in the other manners, the baby carrier 11 can hold the baby without letting the baby in the wrapping portion 12 to fall out from the put-in/take-out permission portion 14A even if, for example, the child care giver releases the wrapping portion 12 from his/her hand or the baby puts his/her weight toward the back.

In the case of holding the baby in the “vertical and facing” manner, the put-in/take-out permission portion 14A through which the baby is put into, and taken our from, the wrapping portion 12 corresponds to the opening formed between the front bodice of the child care giver and the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14.

In the case of holding the baby in the “vertical and facing” manner, the baby can be put into, or taken out from, the wrapping portion 12 as follows. As shown in FIG. 18, the child care giver holds both of the inner put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14i or the vicinity thereof and the outer put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14o or the vicinity thereof in an overlapped state and pulls the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14 against the urging force of the rubber strings 15 included therein to open the put-in/take-out permission portion 14A.

Hereinafter, the functions and effects of the baby carrier 11 described above will be explained.

As described above, use of the baby carrier 11 allows the child care giver to hold the baby/toddler in various manners. In whichever manner the baby may be held among the above-described manners, the baby carrier 11 can guarantee the comfort of both of the baby and the child care giver and the safety of the baby.

In more detail, the wrapping portion 12 is formed to be like a bag including the outer cloth 16o, the inner cloth 16i and the folding part, and is sufficiently large to wrap the baby. Owing to the wrapping portion 12 having such a structure, even where the wrapping portion 12 is formed of a cloth having a low level of stretchability, the baby can be wrapped comfortably (see FIG. 15).

As described above, the baby carrier 11 further includes the elastic rubber strings 15 in the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14 in the state where the rubber strings 15 having the natural length thereof are urged in the contracting direction. Therefore, the urging force of the rubber strings 15 can always act as the force to hold the baby.

The length of the rubber strings 15 is changed by extension or contraction in accordance with, for example, the manner of holding the baby, the physique of the baby, and the posture and motion of the baby in the wrapping portion 12. In accordance with the change in the length, the urging force of the rubber strings 15 is also changed. Therefore, the baby in the wrapping portion 12 can be held with an appropriate holding force.

Especially while the baby is held in the “cradle” manner, the back of the baby in the wrapping portion 12 leans on the outer cloth 16o of the wrapping portion 12 (see FIG. 1). Even with such a posture, the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14 can be wrung tight by the urging force of the rubber strings 15 so that the put-in/take-out permission portion 14A is not inadvertently opened. Thus, the baby can be held firmly so as not to fall out from the put-in/take-out permission portion 14A.

An urging force F of the rubber strings 15 in the contracting direction of the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14 (holding force F in FIG. 13(l-2)) can be obtained as follows easily and with a simple structure. The rubber strings 15 are formed to have a natural length shorter than the length of the parts of the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14 in which the rubber strings 15 are to be located, and the rubber strings 15 are fixed to the parts in a stretched state.

Since the rubber strings 15 are provided in the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14 in this manner, the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14 of the baby carrier 11 are not bulky unlike a structure in which the put-in/take-out permission portion 14A is fixed to be size-adjustable by use of fixing means such as a belt or a plurality of buckles located in the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14.

In addition, since the rubber strings 15 are accommodated in the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14, the rubber strings 15 do not disturb the motion of putting the baby/toddler into, or taking the baby/toddler out from, the wrapping portion 12, and also allow the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14 to appear neat.

Owing to the above-described structure, the motion of putting the baby into, or taking the baby out from, the wrapping portion 12 does not require the operation of attaching or detaching the fixing means, such as a belt or a buckle, for keeping the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14 in a contracted state.

Namely, the baby carrier 11 allows the child care giver, wearing the baby carrier 11 obliquely hung from one shoulder, to handle the baby easily and safely with one hand by extending the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14, i.e., the rubber string 15, to adjust the size of the put-in/take-out permission portion 14A.

Owing to the above-described structure, even where the cloth itself of the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14 of the sheet-like member 16 is not stretchable, the urging force in the contracting direction can be provided.

This makes it possible to form the entirety of the sheet-like member 16 including the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14 of one sheet having a low level of stretchability. This, in turn, makes it possible to produce the baby carrier 11 easily.

The overlapped, sewn and fixed portions 27 are each formed by overlapping, sewing and thus fixing the rubber string 15 and the tubular accommodation portion 25 at each of both ends of the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14.

Owing to the above-described structure, while the rubber strings 15 are extended, both of the length-direction ends thereof can be strongly attached to the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14 and the tubular accommodation portions 25, and the accommodating openings 26 at both ends of the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14 can be sealed (see the partially enlarged view of FIG. 12(j-1)).

The sewn and fixed portions 28 are each formed by sewing and thus fixing an intermediate position of the rubber string 15 to the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14. Therefore, even when the baby dynamically moves, the rubber strings 15 can be prevented from being twisted in the tubular accommodation portions 25.

In addition, the intermediate position of the rubber string 15 can be fixed at an appropriate position of the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 in the length direction. Therefore, the rubber string 15 can be prevented from being caught by a part of the tubular accommodation portion 25 or the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 and thus lopsided.

The sewn and fixed portion 28 is formed by sewing and fixing each rubber string 15 at each of two intermediate positions equally dividing the length of the rubber string 15. By forming an appropriate number of sewn and fixed portions 28 at an equal interval in the length direction of the rubber strings 15 in this manner, the put-in/take-out permission edge portions 14 can be contracted equally in the entirety of the length direction to firmly hold the baby while guaranteeing the stretchability of the rubber strings 15.

The baby carrier 11 provides various other functions and effects.

For example, the entirety of the baby carrier 11 is formed of the above-described sheet-like member 16, which is ring-shaped so as to be worn by the child care giver as being hung obliquely from one shoulder. Therefore, unlike a conventional band-like baby carrier which is lengthy in one direction, the baby carrier 11 does not require separate members, for example, connecting members for forming the baby carrier to be ring-shaped in order to be wearable by the child care giver as being hung obliquely from one shoulder. Therefore, the baby carrier 11 can be easily worn as being hung obliquely from one shoulder without the extra work of connecting the connecting members.

The baby carrier 11 is formed of members including the sheet-like member 16 and the rubber strings 15, and is entirely flexible. Therefore, the baby carrier 11 is foldable when not used, and is not bulky in the folded state and thus can be accommodated in a compact manner. The baby carrier 11 is entirely washable.

The baby carrier 11 according to the present invention is not limited to the baby carrier 11 according to the above-described embodiment, and can be carried out in many other embodiments.

For example, at least one of the outer cloth 16o and the inner cloth 16i may be formed of an air-permeable material such as a mesh material or the like, or may be formed of a fluffy material or a woven material.

The elements in the above-described embodiment and the elements of the present invention correspond as follows.

The child care giver in the embodiment corresponds to the wearer of the present invention;

    • the baby in this embodiment corresponds to the baby/toddler of the present invention;
    • the rubber string 15 in this embodiment corresponds to the elastic linear member of the present invention;
    • the entire length of the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 in this embodiment corresponds to the locating part of the present invention; and
    • the sewn and fixed portion 28 in this embodiment corresponds to the intermediate part of the elastic linear member fixed to the put-in/take-out permission edge portion 14 of the present invention.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

The present invention is usable as, among various baby/toddler-related products, a baby carrier used for holding a baby/toddler.