Title:
Item of apparel including a garment and detachable infant carrier
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An item of apparel comprising a garment and an infant carrier that can be removably secured to the garment. The garment and the infant carrier can be provided with corresponding connector elements, such as snap-fit elements, to secure the infant carrier to the garment. The garment and infant carrier can be coordinated to fashionably match.



Inventors:
Davis, Gloria (Chicago, IL, US)
Application Number:
10/348216
Publication Date:
07/22/2004
Filing Date:
01/21/2003
Assignee:
DAVIS GLORIA
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D3/00; (IPC1-7): A41B1/00
View Patent Images:
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20080023460Garment with heating assemblyJanuary, 2008Huang
20050015849D-BANDJanuary, 2005Norment
20080233549BODY ANATOMIE VISUAL AID GARMENTSSeptember, 2008Daniels
20030150047Securing ornamental headgearAugust, 2003Hyman
20070294800Seamless down cloth and manufacturing method thereofDecember, 2007Huang
20090205550TEMPORARY HEMMING DEVICEAugust, 2009George et al.
20030200596Support belt and buckleOctober, 2003Johnston
20080235849Art by hollis international wearbagsOctober, 2008Mccray-clark et al.
20020014273Manufacturing process for the pouf/puffFebruary, 2002Masterson
20060117464Inflatable bladder for pants and beltsJune, 2006Capstran



Primary Examiner:
VANATTA, AMY B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RICHARD C. HIMELHOCH (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. An item of apparel for carrying an infant comprising: a garment configured for wear on an upper portion of a person; and, an infant carrier detachably connected to the garment.

2. The item of apparel of claim 1 comprising a plurality of connectors for detachably connecting the infant carrier to the garment.

3. The item of apparel of claim 2 wherein each of the plurality of connectors comprises a first snap-fit element on the garment, and a second snap-fit element on the infant carrier wherein the first snap-fit element interacts with the second snap-fit element to secure the infant carrier to the garment [plastic clasps, metal snaps].

4. The item of apparel of claim 2 wherein each of the plurality of connectors comprises a button on one of the garment and infant carrier and a corresponding button hole the other one of the garment and the infant carrier.

5. The item of apparel of claim 1 wherein the garment is a jacket.

6. The item of apparel of claim 1 wherein the garment is a shirt.

7. The item of apparel of claim 2 wherein a first one of the plurality of connectors is attached proximate a shoulder portion of the garment, and a second one of the plurality of connectors is attached proximate a waist portion of the garment.

8. The item of apparel of claim 2 wherein a first one of the plurality of connectors is attached proximate a right shoulder portion of the garment, a second one of the plurality of connectors is attached proximate the left shoulder portion of the garment, and a third one of the plurality of connectors is attached proximate a back portion of the garment.

9. The item of apparel of claim 1 wherein the infant carrier includes a pocket.

10. The item of apparel of claim 2 further comprising hook and loop fastener material on the garment and infant carrier to prevent the infant carrier from swinging freely from the connectors when attached to the garment.

11. The item of apparel of claim 2 wherein the garment includes a flap in a front portion of the garment to allow for nursing of an infant in the infant carrier.

12. An item of apparel for fashionably holding and carrying an infant comprising: a garment configured as one of a shirt and a jacket to be worn on the upper portion of a person, the garment having a right side and a left side and including a first connector component secured to the right side of the garment, and a second connector component secured to the left side of the garment; and, a infant carrier having a first end and a second end disposed from the first end and configured to hold an infant in a substantially prone position, the infant carrier including a third connector component secured to the first end of the infant carrier and adapted to be releasably connected to the first connector component secured to the garment, and a fourth connector component secured to the second end of the infant carrier and adapted to be releasably connected to the second connector component secured to the garment.

13. The item of apparel of claim 12 further comprising a fifth connector component secured to the garment, and a sixth connector component secured to the infant carrier and adapted to be releasably connected to the fifth connector component secured to the garment.

14. The item of apparel of claim 12 wherein the first connector component secured to the garment comprises a first snap-fit element, and the third connector component secured to the infant carrier comprises a second snap-fit element adapted to cooperate with the first snap-fit element of the first connector component.

15. The item of apparel of claim 12 further comprising a first element of a hook and loop material fastener secured to the garment, and a corresponding second element of the hook and loop material fastener secured to the infant carrier [to maintain the infant carrier in place when connected to the garment].

16. The item of apparel of claim 12 wherein the first connector component is secured proximate a right shoulder portion of the garment, and the second connector component is secured proximate a mid portion of the garment.

17. The item of apparel of claim 12 further comprising a flap in a front portion of the garment configured to allow nursing of an infant positioned in the infant carrier.

18. The item of apparel of claim 12 further comprising a storage pocket in the infant carrier.

19. The item of apparel of claim 12 wherein the garment includes an outer fabric layer having a pattern, and the infant carrier includes an outer fabric layer that matches the outer fabric layer of the garment.

20. The item of apparel of claim 12 wherein the garment further includes a first strap secured to an upper portion of an interior of the garment, and a second strap secured to the upper portion of the interior of the garment, the first and second straps adapted to cooperatively be secured to a person wearing the item of apparel to counterbalance the weight of the infant carrier.

21. The item of apparel of claim 12 wherein the first connector component secured to the garment comprises a button hole, and the third connector component secured to the infant carrier comprises a button.

22. The item of apparel of claim 12 wherein the infant carrier further includes a strap securing the third connector component to the first end of the infant carrier.

23. A garment for use with a detachable infant carrier comprising a piece of material configured to be worn on an upper portion of a person, the piece including a right arm sleeve, a left arm sleeve and a main body portion; a first connector component secured to the main body portion, the first connector component adapted to engage a corresponding connector component on an infant carrier; and, a second connector component secured to the main body portion, the second connector component adapted to engage a corresponding connector component on an infant carrier.

24. The garment of claim 23 further comprising a third connector component secured to the main body portion, the third connector component adapted to engage a corresponding connector component on an infant carrier.

25. The garment of claim 23 wherein the piece of material is configured as a jacket.

26. The garment of claim 23 wherein the piece of material is configured as a shirt.

27. The garment of claim 23 further comprising a first flap on a front portion of the main body portion of the piece of material to allow for nursing of an infant in an infant carrier.

28. The garment of claim 23 further comprising a first strap secured to an upper interior portion of the piece of material, and a second strap secured to the upper interior portion of the piece of material, the first and second straps configured to attach to a user of the garment to counterbalance an attached infant carrier.

29. The garment of claim 23 wherein the first connector component comprises a first part of a snap-fit connector.

30. The garment of claim 23 wherein the first connector component comprises a button.

31. The garment of claim 23 further comprising a first portion of a hook and loop material fastener secured to the main body portion of the garment, the first portion of the hook and loop material positioned to coincide with a second portion of the hook and loop material secured to an infant carrier when the infant carrier is connected to the garment.

32. An infant carrier configured to be detachably connected to a garment to form an item of apparel comprising: a main body having a first end and a second end; a first connector component secured proximate the first end of the main body, the first connector component adapted engage a corresponding connector component on a garment; and, a second connector component secured proximate the second end of the main body, the second connector component adapted to engage a corresponding connector component on a garment.

33. The infant carrier of claim 32 further comprising: a third connector component secured to the main body, the third connector component adapted to engage a corresponding connector component on a garment.

34. The infant carrier of claim 32 wherein the main body includes a bottom generally flat panel portion, a first side panel portion and a second side panel portion, the bottom panel portion, first side panel portion and second side panel portion configured to hold an infant in a generally prone position.

35. The infant carrier of claim 32 wherein at least one of the first connector component and the second connector component is attached to a strap extending from the main body of the infant carrier, and wherein the connector component attached to the strap can connect proximate to an opposing side of the main body to provide a handle for carrying the infant carrier.

36. The infant carrier of claim 32 further comprising a divider in the main body of the infant carrier.

37. The infant carrier of claim 32 further comprising a generally c-shaped rigid member disposed proximate one end of the main body to maintain a generally open structure in the main body.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention is generally directed to an item of apparel which include structure to facilitate carrying an infant; and more particularly, to a combination of a garment in the form of a jacket or shirt and an infant carrier that can be removably secured to the garment.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Carrying an infant in one's arms for a great length of time can become extremely tiring and uncomfortable. Additionally, it prevents or limits the one carrying the infant from effectively using their arms for any other activities.

[0003] Many carriers exist for holding an infant or small child. For example, many infant or baby carseats include a carrier that snaps into a base unit secured in the car. Such carriers also can be snapped into strollers. Additionally, such carriers include handles for otherwise carrying the infant when not placed in the car or stroller. Unfortunately, these carriers do not allow the infant to be in close contact with another human being. Moreover, the additional weight of the carrier can become even more tiring when carrying the infant from place to place utilizing only the carrier (i.e., not in a stroller or car).

[0004] Backpack or frontpack type carriers overcome some of the problems associated with carrying infants or babies. However, such carriers are not configured to maintain the infant in a prone position, and in some cases cannot be utilized for very small infants. Additionally, such carriers are not particularly stylish or fashionable.

[0005] The present invention is provided to overcome these problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention provides an item of apparel that fashionably combines a garment with an infant carrier that can be removably attached to the garment. The infant carrier is designed to connect to the garment, and in effect, become a single item of apparel. Both the garment and the infant carrier are provided with connecting components that allow the carrier to be secured to the garment and subsequently removed as desired.

[0007] The garment is designed to be worn on the upper body, such as a coat, shirt, sweater, sweatshirt, vest, robe etc. In this manner, the garment can be made from a wide variety of materials and designs, as dictated by the popular styles at the time. The infant carrier can also be made from the same materials (i.e., at least the outer layers) in order to match (e.g., the exact same design as the garment) or compliment (e.g., a solid color from a pattern in the garment) the garment.

[0008] Preferably, the infant carrier attaches to the garment in the front and maintains the infant in the carrier in a prone position close to the user's chest. This design allows the user to easily carry an infant, while freeing the user's hands.

[0009] The garment and infant carrier each include a number of cooperating connector components, such as snap-fit connectors, buttons/button holes etc., to attach the infant carrier to the garment. In this regard, the garment may optionally be provided with a number of connector components to allow for different positioning of the infant carrier with respect to the garment (e.g., reversing the side of the infant carrier proximate the user so that the infant is facing the other way—this may facilitate nursing).

[0010] In one embodiment of the invention, an item of apparel for carrying an infant comprises a garment configured for wear on an upper portion of a person and, an infant carrier detachably connected to the garment. The infant carrier is connected in a manner to preferably maintain the infant in a prone position. The garment and infant carrier include a plurality of connectors for detachably connecting the infant carrier to the garment. The connectors can be positioned proximate the shoulder portions of the garment and the waist portions of the garment. However, other locations are possible.

[0011] The connectors can be in the form of a first snap-fit element on the garment, and a second snap-fit element on the infant carrier wherein the first snap-fit element interacts with the second snap-fit element to secure the infant carrier to the garment. The snap-fit elements can be, for example, plastic clasps (such as the clasps found on many forms of luggage etc.) or metal snaps. Alternatively, the connectors may comprises a button on one of the garment and infant carrier and a corresponding button hole the other one of the garment and the infant carrier. Other conventional connecting elements may also be used.

[0012] The garment can be in the form of a jacket, shirt, sweatshirt, or other item of clothing worn on the upper portion of a person. The garment can have short sleeves or long sleeves, and can be fashioned from a variety of materials in a variety of styles. Additionally, the garment may be provided with a flap in a front portion of the garment to allow for nursing of an infant in the infant carrier.

[0013] The infant carrier is preferably designed to maintain an infant in a prone position close to the chest of the person wearing the garment. The carrier includes a substantially flat bottom portion and side portions extending upward from the bottom portion. A top portion can be provided to cover the infant in the carrier. However, at least a portion of the top should remain open. Additionally, the infant carrier may include one or more pockets for carrying items associated with the care of a child (e.g., diapers, bottle, etc.).

[0014] The garment and infant carrier can be provided with hook and loop fastener material to prevent the infant carrier from swinging freely from the connectors when attached to the garment. Additional snaps, buttons or other materials may also be used.

[0015] In another embodiment of the invention, an item of apparel for fashionably holding and carrying an infant comprises a garment configured as a shirt or a jacket to be worn on the upper portion of a person. The garment includes a right side and a left side and including a first connector component secured to the right side of the garment, and a second connector component secured to the left side of the garment. The item of apparel further comprises an infant carrier having a first end and a second end disposed from the first end and configured to hold an infant in a substantially prone position. The infant carrier includes a third connector component secured to the first end of the infant carrier and adapted to be releasably connected to the first connector component secured to the garment, and a fourth connector component secured to the second end of the infant carrier and adapted to be releasably connected to the second connector component secured to the garment. The item of apparel may further comprise a fifth connector component secured to the garment, and a sixth connector component secured to the infant carrier and adapted to be releasably connected to the fifth connector component secured to the garment.

[0016] The first connector component secured to the garment may comprises a first snap-fit element, and the third connector component secured to the infant carrier may comprise a second snap-fit element adapted to cooperate with the first snap-fit element of the first connector component. Other types of connector components or elements may also be used. For example, snaps, buttons, zippers etc.

[0017] The item of apparel may also include a first element of a hook and loop material fastener secured to the garment, and a corresponding second element of the hook and loop material fastener secured to the infant carrier to maintain the infant carrier in place when connected to the garment. Additional hook and loop material may be added.

[0018] The first connector component may be secured proximate a right shoulder portion of the garment, and the second connector component secured proximate a mid or waist portion of the garment. The connectors may also be configured in reverse (e.g., from the left shoulder portion).

[0019] The item of apparel may include certain functional features. For example, the garment may include a flap in a front portion of the garment configured to allow nursing of an infant positioned in the infant carrier. Additionally, the infant carrier may include storage pockets for holding items such as bottles or diapers.

[0020] The garment and infant carrier may include an outer fabric layer with matching or otherwise complimentary patterns. The garment and infant carrier can collectively form a fashionable item of apparel.

[0021] The garment may further include a first strap secured to an upper portion of an interior of the garment, and a second strap secured to the upper portion of the interior of the garment. The first and second straps can be adapted to cooperatively be secured to a person wearing the item of apparel to counterbalance the weight of the infant carrier.

[0022] In another embodiment of the invention, a garment for use with a detachable infant carrier comprises a piece of material configured to be worn on an upper portion of a person, the piece of material including a right arm sleeve, a left arm sleeve and a main body portion. The garment further comprises a first connector component secured to the main body portion, the first connector component adapted to engage a corresponding connector component on an infant carrier and, a second connector component secured to the main body portion, the second connector component adapted to engage a corresponding connector component on an infant carrier. The garment may further comprise a third connector component secured to the main body portion, the third connector component adapted to engage a corresponding connector component on an infant carrier. The piece of material can be configured as a jacket, shirt, or other similar item.

[0023] The garment may further comprise a first flap on a front portion of the main body portion of the piece of material to allow for nursing of an infant in an infant carrier. A second flap may also be included.

[0024] Additionally, the garment may further comprise a first strap secured to an upper interior portion of the piece of material, and a second strap secured to the upper interior portion of the piece of material. The first and second straps can be configured to attach to a user of the garment to counterbalance an attached infant carrier.

[0025] In yet another embodiment of the invention, an infant carrier configured to be detachably connected to a garment to form an item of apparel comprises a main body having a first end and a second end, a first connector component secured proximate the first end of the main body, the first connector component adapted engage a corresponding connector component on a garment and, a second connector component secured proximate the second end of the main body, the second connector component adapted to engage a corresponding connector component on a garment. Additionally, the infant carrier may comprise a third connector component secured to the main body, the third connector component adapted to engage a corresponding connector component on a garment.

[0026] The main body of the infant carrier may include a bottom generally flat panel portion, a first side panel portion and a second side panel portion. The bottom panel portion, first side panel portion and second side panel portion may be configured to hold an infant in a generally prone position.

[0027] Additionally, at least one of the first connector component and the second connector component may be attached to a strap extending from the main body of the infant carrier. In this instance, the connector component attached to the strap can connect proximate to an opposing side of the main body to provide a handle for carrying the infant carrier. Alternatively, a separate strap may be provided to connect to the infant carrier.

[0028] The infant carrier may further comprise a generally c-shaped rigid member disposed proximate one end of the main body to maintain a generally open structure in the main body.

[0029] In yet another alternative embodiment, the infant carrier may be configured to carry two infants. In this case, the infant carrier may be provided with a divider in the main body of the infant carrier.

[0030] The present invention can also be utilized to enhance care of preterm babies. Two neonatologists working in Bogota Columbia in 1983 discovered that mothers who held their babies twenty four hours a day increased the survival rate of the preterm babies. The neonatologists did not have access to sophisticated medical equipment, such as incubators and ventilators, and instead, instructed the mothers of the preterm babies to continuously hold the babies under their blouses or in a shawl that formed a “pouch.” The present invention provides an item of apparel that takes this practice to another level. Continuously holding a preterm baby in the item of apparel may bring about a more stable body temperature, a more regular heartbeat, improved breathing patterns, increased weight gain and growth, improved sleep patterns and increased levels of alertness. The close continuous contact may also improve the mother's lactation.

[0031] Further aspects of the invention are described below and are shown in the accompanying Figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0032] FIG. 1 is a perspective view an item of apparel in accordance with the present invention having portions of a garment and attached infant carrier shown in phantom;

[0033] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the item of apparel of FIG. 1 showing the outer layer of the garment and infant carrier;

[0034] FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the item of apparel of FIG. 1;

[0035] FIG. 4 is a side perspective view of an embodiment of the item of apparel of the present invention;

[0036] FIG. 5 is a perspective of the opposite side of the item of apparel of FIG. 4;

[0037] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an embodiment of an infant carrier for use with a garment;

[0038] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a connector for use with the item of apparel;

[0039] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a connector for use with the item of apparel;

[0040] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of a connector for use with the item of apparel;

[0041] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of a connector for use with the item of apparel;

[0042] FIG. 11 is a front perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the item of apparel in accordance with the present invention;

[0043] FIG. 12 is a back perspective view of the item of apparel of FIG. 11;

[0044] FIG. 13 is a front perspective view of another alternative embodiment of the item of apparel in accordance with the present invention;

[0045] FIG. 14 is a front perspective view of another embodiment of the item of apparel in accordance with the present invention;

[0046] FIG. 15 is a front perspective view of another embodiment of the item of apparel in accordance with the present invention; and,

[0047] FIG. 16 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the infant carrier with portions shown in phantom.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0048] While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated.

[0049] An item of apparel 10 made in accordance with the present invention is shown in FIG. 1 (with portions shown in phantom). The item of apparel 10 includes a garment 12 and an infant carrier 14 attached to the garment 12. A right and left side view of the infant carrier 14 and garment 12, are shown in FIGS. 4 and 5.

[0050] The garment 12 shown in FIG. 1 is configured as a jacket. However, the garment can be a shirt, sweatshirt, vest, robe or other type of garment designed to be worn on or cover the upper portion of a person.

[0051] The infant carrier 14 attached to the garment 12 is designed to hold an infant 16 in a generally prone position against the chest of the wearer of the garment 12. Preferably, the infant carrier 14 is connected to the garment 12 in a two or more locations to maintain this position.

[0052] The infant carrier 14 is secured to the garment by plurality of connectors 18 having a first portion secured to the garment 12 and a second portion secured to the infant carrier 14. Referring to FIG. 3, the garment 12 preferably includes a first connector element 20 attached to the garment 12 proximate the right shoulder portion of the garment 12 (right/left side is from the wearer's perspective). Preferably, the first connector element 20 is permanently secured to the garment 12 by sewing it to the garment 12. However, the first connector element 20 may be removably secured to the garment 12 (e.g., by buttons or a zipper, etc.), and removed when an infant carrier is not attached to the garment 12. The infant carrier 14 is provided with a second connector element 22 attached at a first end 24 of the infant carrier 14, that corresponds to the first connector element 20 connected to the garment 12. The first connector element 20 is designed to mate with and connect to the second element 22.

[0053] A third connector element 26 is secured to the garment 12 proximate the waist portion of the garment 12 on the left hand side. The infant carrier 14 includes a fourth connector element 28 secured to a second end 30 of the infant carrier that corresponds to the third connector element 26 on the garment 12. The fourth connector element 28 is designed to mate with and connect to the third connector element 26 on the garment 12. Connecting the first and second connector elements 20 and 22, and the third and fourth connector elements 26 and 28, attaches the infant carrier 14 to the garment 12. Preferably the garment 12 also includes a fifth connector element 32 secured proximate the waist portion on the right side of the garment 12, and the infant carrier includes a corresponding sixth connector element 34 secured to the bottom of the infant carrier 14. The fifth and sixth connector elements 32 and 34 further secure the infant carrier 14 to the garment 12 and prevent the infant carrier 14 from swinging. Additionally, the garment 12 and infant carrier 14 can be provided with mating portions of hook and loop material 36 strategically placed to further secure the infant carrier 14 to the garment.

[0054] The connectors 18 are preferably plastic snap-fit elements (shown connected in FIG. 7) having a male portion 38 with a first and a second flange 40 and 42, and a female portion 44. The male and female portions 38 and 40 can be secured to either the garment 12 or the infant carrier 14 with the other portion secured to the opposite component. Alternative connecters 18 may include, for example, a metal loop 46 and rivet 48 assembly as shown in FIG. 8, male 50 and female 52 conventional snap elements as shown in FIG. 9, or a button 54 and hole 56 assembly as shown in FIG. 10. Other connectors 18 (e.g., zippers, belt connections, etc.) may also be utilized without departing from the spirit of the present invention.

[0055] As illustrated in FIG. 2, the garment 12 includes an outer layer of material 58 having a pattern. The pattern may be any fashionable style or design. The infant carrier 14 preferably includes an outer layer of the same material as the garment 12. Alternatively, the infant carrier can be provided with a complimentary pattern, design or solid color. Moreover, the infant carrier 14 can include other stylistic elements from the garment 12 (e.g., border trim, pockets, buttons, zippers etc.) so that the item of apparel can make a fashionable statement. This may include other structural features, for example, the collar 60 of the garment 12 may structurally match a fringe 62 about the opening in the infant carrier 14.

[0056] The item of apparel 10 may include other functional features. For example, the garment 12 may be provided with flaps 64 (shown in phantom in FIGS. 1 and 3) to allow for nursing of the infant without removing the garment 12. The flaps 64 may include a zipper, hook and loop material, buttons, or other conventional closures. Moreover, the flaps could be formed to look like pockets on the garment 12. The infant carrier 14 can be provided with a matching flap. The flaps 64 may act as a drape to cover the baby's face while nursing.

[0057] The garment may also include an internal support system. One embodiment of the support system is shown in phantom in FIG. 3. The support system includes a first strap 66 and a second strap 68 secured to the interior of the garment 12 proximate the right and left shoulder portions. The straps 66 and 68 can be connected to the wearer's belt or otherwise used to provide a counter-support to the balance the weight of the infant carrier. In one embodiment, the straps 66 and 68 may include hook and loop material (or other fasteners) at or near the ends of the straps to connect the straps together to provide an adjustable belt portion. Additionally, braces can be provided in the interior of the garment to facilitate the crossing of the straps 66 and 68, or the bend of the straps 66 and 68 into the belt portion.

[0058] The garment 12, or the straps 66 and 68, may be provided with additional padding in the shoulder areas to provide for more comfort and reduce any cutting into the wearer's shoulder from the straps. As shown in FIG. 3, the straps 66, 68 are crossed at the mid point of the back of the garment 12.

[0059] The infant carrier 14 can be provided with pockets (as shown in FIG. 6) for carrying items necessary for the care of the infant. Such items may include bottles, pacifiers, diapers, wipes etc. The pockets can be provided with a lining to prevent milk or other liquids from leaking onto an infant in the infant carrier 14. Moreover, the pockets are preferably arranged or configured so that items in the pockets do not place any harmful pressure on an infant placed in the infant carrier 14.

[0060] The infant carrier 14 is generally designed to include a bottom portion 72, and a first and second side portions 74 and 76 extending upward from the bottom portion 72. The infant carrier 14 is further configured to include an opening 78 (best illustrated in the side view of FIG. 5) in a top portion 80 of the carrier 14. A rigid member (e.g., a piece of hard plastic) inserted in the fabric of the carrier 14 may be used to keep the opening 78 in an open position.

[0061] The infant carrier 14 may be suitably formed with padding and insulating materials to maintain a comfortable, warm environment for an infant. Additionally, ventilated material may be used in portions of the carrier for warmer climates. Alternatively, lighter materials (e.g., a mesh) may be used to lighten the carrier 14. The infant carrier may also include a removable lining to allow for easily cleaning the lining.

[0062] When not connected to a garment, a handle or strap may be connected to the second and fourth connector elements 22 and 28. This would allow one to carry the infant carrier by the handle or strap. In some embodiments, the handle or strap may be integrally part of the infant carrier.

[0063] In an alternative embodiment shown in FIGS. 11 and 12, an infant carrier 82 is connected to a garment 84 at the right shoulder 86 and left shoulder 88 of the garment 84, and in the back 90. The style of the garment 84 and infant carrier 82 is different from that of FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0064] In another alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 13, an infant carrier 92 is attached to a garment 94 at the left shoulder portion 96, and at the right waist portion 98. Again, a different style is shown.

[0065] Additional alternative embodiments are shown in FIGS. 14 and 15. In these embodiments, the carrier 100 and 102, are secured by buttons 104 to the front of the respective garments 106 and 108. In an alternative embodiment similar to that shown in FIG. 14, the infant carrier may only include one side, and use the exterior of the garment as a second side to form a location for the infant. In this embodiment the infant carrier would only be used in combination with the garment, and not as a separate item.

[0066] In yet a further embodiment, an infant carrier 110 can be configured to accommodate two infants (e.g., twins). This concept can be expanded for three infants etc.

[0067] While the specific embodiments have been illustrated and described, numerous modifications come to mind without significantly departing from the spirit of the invention and the scope of protection is only limited by the scope of the accompanying Claims.