Title:
Child's garment for use with carrier
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A garment is provided which may be worn by a child, and easily adapted for use in a carrier. A child wearing the garment can be rapidly placed into a carrier, e.g., car seat without accumulating materials between the child and the car seat straps. A method is also provided for use of the garment.



Inventors:
Eng, Donna (Milburn, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/706769
Publication Date:
08/21/2008
Filing Date:
02/15/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D11/00
View Patent Images:
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20090119959COLORED SNAP BACKING SYSTEMMay, 2009Brown
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20060236439Dress shieldOctober, 2006Bailey
20040244095Protective attachment assembly for headgearDecember, 2004Sonne et al.
20080282445Correct grip sports glove - the hand wedgeNovember, 2008Taliento et al.
20080092262Cooking GlovesApril, 2008James Carr
20050120455Kneepad having adjustable sizing piecesJune, 2005Cunningham
20090229033Permanently embedded protective covering for articles of clothingSeptember, 2009Mertz



Primary Examiner:
ANDERSON, AMBER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOXIE & ASSOCIATES LLC (MILLBURN, NJ, US)
Claims:
1. A garment comprising: a material forming a front panel and rear panel, said front and rear panels sharing a top portion, said front panel extending to a front bottom; a neck opening at the top portion sized to be disposed over and receive a child's head; an opening between said front bottom and neck opening to form left and right panels, said left and right panels joined with reversible joining means to allow variable length communication between said left and right panels, said reversible joining means bound between a first and second variable length continuous opening wherein said left and right panels are not in communication, said first variable length continuous opening in communication with said neck opening and bound between said neck opening and reversible joining means, said second variable length continuous opening bound between said front bottom and said reversible joining means, said rear panel sized to fit over a child's back when worn as a garment.

2. The garment of claim 1 wherein said reversible joining means comprises a zipper comprising a top slider bound between the variable length of communication and the neck opening.

3. The garment of claim 2 wherein said reversible joining means further comprises a bottom slider proximal the front bottom relative to the top slider, said bottom slider bound between the variable length communication and the front bottom.

4. A garment comprising: a material forming a front panel and rear panel, said front and rear panels sharing a top portion, a neck opening at the top portion for disposition over a child's head, said front panel extending to a front bottom and comprising left and right panels, said left and right panels joined with reversible joining means to allow communication between said left and right panels, said reversible joining means bound between a first and second variable length continuous opening wherein left and right panels are not in communication, said first variable length continuous opening in communication with said neck opening and bound between said neck opening and reversible joining means, said second variable length continuous opening bound between said front bottom and said reversible joining means, said rear panel sized to fit over a child's back when worn as a garment.

5. The garment of claim 4 further comprising first and second reversible joining means, wherein communication between left and right panels is a variable length of communication bound between said first and second reversible joining means.

6. The garment of claim 5 wherein said first and second reversible joining means comprise first and second zipper sliders.

7. The garment of claim 6 wherein the first zipper slider varies communication between left and right panels between the variable length of communication and the neck opening.

8. The garment of claim 6 wherein the second zipper slider varies the communication between left and right panels between the variable length communication and the front bottom.

9. The garment of claim 5 wherein said joining means causes left and right panels to be in continuous communication between said neck opening and front bottom when said first slider is extended to the neck opening and said second slider is extended to said front bottom.

10. The garment of claim 5 further comprising a hood affixed to said rear panel around said neck opening.

11. The garment of claim 5 wherein said reversible means is a two-way zipper.

12. The garment of claim 5 wherein said rear panel is sized to fit over the back panel of a carrier when the child is placed in the carrier, said carrier comprising a seat portion for receiving a child, a back panel posterior to the child to communicate with the child's back, and a harness for securing said child to said seat and back panel.

13. The garment of claim 12 wherein said carrier is a car seat.

14. A method of transporting a child comprising: dressing a child in the garment of claim 5, arranging the child in a carrier comprising a back panel, seat portion and harness, draping said rear panel on the back panel, decreasing communication between left and right panels, securing said child in said seat without collecting said garment between said child and said harness, and increasing the communication between said left and right panels.

15. The method of claim 14 further comprising draping the rear panel over the back panel.

16. The method of claim 14 wherein said carrier is a car seat.

17. (canceled)

18. (canceled)

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a garment suitable to be worn by a child while being transported in a carrier, and methods for use thereof.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A child safety seat, child restraint system, or a “car seat,” is a restraint equipped with one or more safety harnesses to hold a child secured to an automobile. Car seats are ubiquitous, as all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories have child passenger safety laws requiring the use of car seats for children below a certain age, weight, or height. Although the use of car safety seats has decreased overall death and injury of children, an average of 7 children under the age of 15 are killed and about 800 are injured in motor vehicle crashes every day. A portion of these injuries and deaths are attributed to improper use of child safety seats. Child safety seats are either improperly installed in vehicles, and/or children are improperly secured in car safety seats. A common problem, in terms of safety and convenience, is children wearing coats while riding in car seats.

Parents usually dress their infants and children in coats to keep them warm during travel in a vehicle. However, coats can compromise a child's safety when worn in a car seat. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in order for a car seat or toddler booster seat to function properly, the straps need to remain tight against the child's chest. Coats interfere with car seat safety because they change the way a child fits into the car seat. For example, when coat material collects between the child and the straps, the car seat straps don't properly fit the child, and there is a chance the child could be ejected from the car seat during a collision, resulting in serious injury or death. Thus, the car seat strap needs to stay close to the child's body at all times. A recent study found that up to 57% of car seats are misused because of loose harness straps. Decina, L., and Lococo, K., Misuse of Child Restraints, Publication No. DOT HS 809 671, May 2003, U.S. Department of Transportation/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Washington, D.C. Additionally, it is unsafe to put a coat or blanket between the child's back and a car seat, as the coat or blanket could compress, resulting in the child being ejected from the car seat. This leaves parents with few alternatives in transporting their child in cold weather.

Parents may have been advised to remove their child from a coat, put the child into the car seat, and then cover the car seat with the coat, or a blanket. However, this is quite inconvenient as millions of parents have discovered that it takes much time to deal with squirmy limbs, putting on a coat and removing the coat every time the child is put into the car seat. Forcing a child to shed their coat prior to being put into the car seat obviates the intent of dressing them warmly in the first place.

Even if a coat is safe for use in a car seat, the straps pull the coat tightly against the child. This can cause the child can become overheated and uncomfortable. Thus, new garments and methods are also needed which provide a parent with greater convenience when putting a child into a car seat.

Various blankets and garments have attempted to address these problems. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,401,248 discloses a blanket for use in a car seat; however, the blanket is not placed on the child until the child is strapped in a car seat. A child utilizing such a blanket is still forced to remove its coat prior to being strapped into the car seat. U.S. Pat. No. 6,055,686 discloses a child's bunting for use in an infant carrier; however, bunting material remains collected between the infant and infant carrier, compromising the infant's safety. U.S. Pat. No. 5,437,061 discloses a protective garment for a child on a carriage; however the garment does not provide a parent sufficient access to straps and buckles to secure a child into a car seat. As current alternatives are less than ideal, new garments are needed to address these and other problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A garment is provided for use by a child in a carrier.

The garment of the present invention generally comprises a flexible material forming a front panel and rear panel, which share a common top portion which rests over a child's shoulders. The front panel extends to a front bottom. A neck opening is provided at the common top portion to receive a child's head. An opening between the front bottom and neck opening is provided to form left and right panels. The left and right panels are joined with reversible means for variable length communication between the left and right panels. In one embodiment, the reversible means is a two-way zipper.

The reversible means is bound between a first and second variable length continuous opening. The first variable length continuous opening is bound between the neck opening and reversible means. The second variable length continuous opening is bound between the front bottom and the reversible means. The reversible means may include one or more means for causing or maintaining communication between the left and right panels.

The rear panel is sized to cover a child's back and preferably also over the back panel of a carrier.

The garment of the present invention may also have a hood affixed to said rear panel around said neck opening.

Other advantages of the present invention will be apparent to those of skill in the art.

DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a front view of an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a top view of an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a front view of an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3a is a rear view of an embodiment of the present invention

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6. is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7. is a top view of an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8. illustrates use of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The term “carrier” as used in connection with the present invention, is used in a broad sense to encompass essentially any type of carrier for a child, whether or not that child is the age of an infant or older. Thus, and for purposes of the invention, the term “carrier” would include, but is not limited to, car seats, infant carrier seats, baby strollers, bicycle seats and the like. Preferably, a carrier is a car seat. Carriers generally have a seat portion for receiving a child, a back panel posterior to the child to communicate with the child's back, and a harness for securing said child to said seat and back panel.

The terms “child” and “infant” generally refer to humans being of a weight, height, or age which requires that they be transported in a carrier, e.g., a car seat. The requirement for transportation in a car seat may be mandated by law, regulation, custom, or preference by the child or parent.

The term “parent” is not limited to the biological status of a person with respect to a child. The term “parent” is used herein as a term of convenience, encompassing anyone who, e.g., puts a child into a carrier, removes a child from a carrier, or dresses a child. This may include relatives, teachers, caretakers, health care providers, emergency response personnel, or any one else associated with the care and transportation of a child.

The garment of the present invention is suitable to be worn by anyone, so long as the garment is appropriately sized for the person, as determined by one of ordinary skill in the art. As described in the methods of the present invention, the garment is particularly useful for transporting a child in a carrier.

As shown in the accompanying drawings, a garment 2 is provided which is shaped from one or more pieces of fabric. The fabric is generally folded over itself to form a front panel 4 and a rear panel 6, each having an external and internal surface. The front and rear panel share a top edge 10, in which a neck opening 12 is provided to receive a child's head. The neck opening may be centrally located, or slightly offset from the top portion. Generally, when a child's head is disposed through the opening 12, the front panel 4 will be situated across the child's chest, and the rear panel 6 will cover the child's back so that the child's torso resides between the front and rear panel. The front and rear panels are sized to extend over a child, such that the shared top portion 10 can rests over the child's shoulders. Additional material of the top portion which extend beyond a child's shoulders may form side portions, which may extend, e.g., to the child's hands, wrists, or elbows, or beyond the child's elbows, including beyond the child's wrists, including beyond the child's hands. Front panel 4 terminates in front bottom 8, and rear panel 6 terminates in a rear base 18.

An opening 20 is provided on the front panel between front bottom 8 and neck opening 12, such that the front panel forms a left panel 14, and a right panel 16. The edges of the left and right panels are attached to each other with reversibly joining means such that the left and right panels may be reversibly attached along a variable length of communication.

“Reversibly joining” refers to the left and right panels being able to be attached and separated from each other. Means for reversibly joining the left and right panel include all means known in the art, such as a zipper, button, buckle, snap fasteners, toggles, Velcro, or magnets. The left and right panels may be reversibly joined to form a continuous panel without substantial gaps, e.g., gaps greater than one inch in length.

“Variable length of communication” refers to the left and right panels being in communication with one another along a length, and the length of the communication may be varied, i.e., the length of communication may be increased or decreased.

Preferably, the left and right panels are easily and rapidly joined and can be easily and rapidly separated. Preferably, the left and right panels are joined with a zipper, more preferably a two-way zipper.

Zippers are known in the art. Generally, two strips of fabric, containing metal or plastic teeth, are affixed to edges to be joined. Alternatively, the teeth may be directly joined to the garment. A slider, operated by hand, moves along the rows of teeth. Inside the slider is a “Y”-shaped channel that meshes together the opposing rows of teeth to join them together, or separates the opposing rows of teeth. Whether the teeth are joined or separated is dependent on the direction of the movement of a slider, e.g., movement in one direction joins teeth, and movement in the opposite direction separates the teeth. The teeth of a zipper are located between the beginning point, and a point of termination. Generally, beginning point 26 is proximal front bottom 8, and point of termination 28 is proximal neck opening 12.

Preferably, the zipper will have two sliders. This is commonly known as a two-way zipper. Two-way zippers are known in the art. Generally, a top slider 22 is provided which is proximal the neck opening 12, and a bottom slider 24 is provided which is proximal the front bottom 8. When desiring to join the left and right panels, the top slider 22 is brought into contact with bottom slider 24 at the bottom of the front panel. Zipper teeth are brought into contact in the two sliders, and top slider 8 is moved along the length of the teeth to “zip” the teeth together, forming a continuous panel between left and right front panels as the bottom slider is held in place at bottom 8. When desiring to separate the left and right panels, the top slider is brought back down to bottom 8, whereby the top and bottom sliders contact so that the teeth may be removed from the sliders. Thus, when using a two-way zipper, two separate reversible joining means (top and bottom sliders) are provided to increase or decrease communication between the left and right panels. Preferably, the zippers are be provided with top and bottom stops to prevent the slider from running off the zipper teeth. Preferably the zipper is close ended proximal the neck opening so that the left and right panels are in communication with each other when the top slider is brought to the top. Preferably the zipper is open ended in the bottom so that left and right panels may be separated from each other when the top and bottom slider are brought to the bottom of the zipper. It is understood that the bottom of the zipper need not be at the junction of front bottom 8, and right and left panels, and the zipper point of termination need not be at the junction of neck opening 12, and right and left panels. Rather, the beginning point and point of termination in the figures is merely provided as points of reference.

In the garment of the present invention, the reversible joining means is bound between a first and second variable length continuous opening. “Continuous opening” refers to a length where the left and right panels are not in communication with one another. A “variable length” continuous opening means that the length of the continuous opening may be increased or decreased.

As shown in the drawings, a first variable length continuous opening 94 is in open communication with the neck opening. The first variable length continuous opening 94 is generally bound between top slider 22 and neck opening 12. The length of the continuous opening may be increased or decreased by moving top slider 22. As can be seen, the relationship between the first variable length continuous opening 94 and variable length communication 96 is dependent on the position of top slider 22. As top slider 22 is moved proximal open neck 12, the first variable length continuous opening 94 reduces in length and variable length communication 96 increases in length, causing greater communication between the left and right panels. When the top slider moves to a point where the zipper teeth terminates proximal the neck opening, the first variable length continuous opening 94 is effectively reduced to zero. As top slider is moved distal the neck opening and proximal the front bottom, the first variable length continuous opening 92 increases in length, and variable length communication length 96 decreases, causing communication between the left and right panels to be reduced. When the top slider is moved in communication with the bottom slider, then variable length communication 96 is effectively reduced to zero, the left and right panels only being in communication where top and bottom sliders meet.

The second variable length continuous opening 98 is generally bound between the bottom slider and front bottom 8. As can be seen, the relationships between the second variable length continuous opening 98 and variable length communication 96 is dependent on the position of bottom slider 24. As bottom slider 24 is moved proximal the front bottom, communication between the left and right panels increases, and the second variable length continuous opening decreases. When bottom slider 24 is moved to the point where the zipper begins, the second variable length continuous opening 98 is effectively reduced to zero. As it is understood, the left and right panels may not be in complete communication due to the positioning of teeth beginning 26, which may be positioned, e.g., above the front bottom. When the bottom slider is moved proximal the neck opening along the length of teeth, the second variable length continuous opening 98 increases, and communication between left and right panels decrease.

As can be seen, the left and right panels may be completely separated from one another by bringing the top and bottom sliders together at the teeth beginning, and separating the teeth from between the sliders.

The variable length communication is bound between the first and second variable length continuous openings, generally between the top slider and the bottom slider, wherein the left and right panels are in communication. As previously stated, the variable length communication area enlarged or shortened as the top and bottom sliders are moved up and down the length of the teeth on the zipper.

As can be seen, the benefit of the 2-way zipper is that it enables a parent to effect communication between the left and right panels from either direction, e.g., from the neck opening, and from the bottom of the front panel. The top slider moved towards the neck opening causes greater communication between the left and right panels, and reduces communication as it is moved toward the front bottom. The bottom slider moved towards the neck opening causes less communication between the left and right panels, and greater communication as it is moved toward the front bottom.

The garment of the present invention may be made of any fabric known to those of skill in the art. Such fabric may be flexible, so that it may be easily folded. For example, the fabric may be constructed of natural materials, such as cotton, wool or silk, or synthetic materials such as polyester, acrylic, nylon, or lycra. Alternatively, the fabric may be a blend of such materials. The fabric may also be water proof, wind impervious, and/or breathable. The fabric may also contain more than one layer, such as a quilt. Preferably, the fabric is washable.

The garment of the present invention have more than one layer of fabric, such as an external waterproof/breathable shell, such as GORTEX®, and an inner fleece lining. For garments having more than one layer of fabric, the layers of fabric may be attached and separated from each other as known by those of skill in the art. Thus, a GORTEX® shell may be separated from the fleece lining so that either the shell or fleece lining may be worn by a child.

In one embodiment, a hood 30 may be attached on or around neck opening 12 to fully or partially receive a child's head. Preferably the hood is attached to the rear panel around the neck opening. The hood may also be attached to the front panel, e.g., left and right panels around the neck opening. The hood may be integral with the fabric, or may be removable by methods known by those of skill in the art, e.g., with buttons, snaps, zippers, etc. A drawstring 32 may also be provided for extending around the hood opening in order to tighten the hood about the child face.

The garment is provided in various sizes. Preferably, the garment is sized to fit on a child having an age, weight or height which requires the use of a carrier, e.g., car seat, while transporting the child. An appropriate garment size can be easily determined by a parent, or one of skill in the art.

As shown, the front and rear panels are of similar size and shape. However, the front and rear panels may be of different shapes and different sizes, so long as the rear panel has sufficient material to fit over a child's back. Preferably the rear panel has sufficient material to be disposed over the back panel of a carrier, as later discussed. For example, one panel may be a polygon, and the other panel semi-circular, the top portion of the garment being sized and formed by one side of the polygon and the straightedge of the semi-circle. Alternatively, both panels may be polygonal, or semi-circular. Other shapes contemplated include circular segments, ellipses, super ellipse. It is to be understood that as the front and rear panel may be formed of one or more pieces of fabric, the fabric may be of one shape, and when folded to produce front and rear panels, the front and rear panels may be the same or different shape as the fabric. For example, the fabric may be shaped as a circle, thus when the fabric is folded to form front and rear panels, the front and rear panels are semi-circular or circular segments. For example, the fabric may be shaped as oval, thus when the fabric is folded to form front and rear panels, the front and rear panels are elongated circular segments. For example, the fabric may be shaped as a square or rectangle, thus when the fabric is folded to from front and right panels from opposing sides, the front and rear panels are rectangular. For example, the fabric may be shaped as a square or rhombus, thus when the fabric is folded to form front and rear panels from opposing corners, the front and rear panels are triangular.

Preferably, the panels are shaped to cover a child's front and back. As shown in FIG. 4, the front and rear panels are rectangular or square. As shown in FIGS. 2, 3, 3a, and 5, the front and rear panels are triangular. As shown in FIG. 6, the front and rear panels are semi-circular. Preferably, the front and rear panels are triangular. In one embodiment, the garment is shaped as a cape, or cloak, whereby the child can be wrapped within the material of the rear panel. In this embodiment, the front panel still has a bottom, an opening between the neck opening and bottom to form left and right panels, and means for reversible communication between left and right panels. As shown in FIG. 7, a garment assumes a frusto-conical shape when left and right panels are brought in communication to form front and rear panels. As the left and right panels are brought together, a rear panel 6 is formed, along with shoulders and side panels.

The garment of the present invention may also have one or more pockets. As shown, external pockets 50 may be attached to, or formed from, or integral with the exterior of front panel 4. Alternatively, internal pockets 52 may be attached to, formed from, or integral with the interior of front panel 4. The number, size, shape and location of the pockets may be easily designed by one of skill in the part. One or more pockets may also be attached to, or integral with the rear panel 6. Such pockets are intended to keep the child's hands warm, and/or store items which may be of use to the child or parent, e.g., cloth, diapers, and equipment associated with changing diapers and the care and feeding of a child.

The garment may also be provided with a single or pair of arm openings (not shown) through the front panels, which allow the arms of the child to project through the front panel.

Other fabric material may also be affixed to the exterior or interior of the front or rear panels. For example, one or more long stretches of fabric 36 may be affixed to the exterior or interior of the front panel so that a child may put their arms into the fabric for warmth. The garment of the present invention may also have one or more accessories for use by the child or a parent. In one embodiment, Velcro, buttons, snaps, toggles or magnets may be attached to the front panel's external surface. The Velcro, buttons, snaps, toggles or magnets may be used to attach devices for a child's amusement, e.g., pacifiers or toys, and devices for the care of the child to be used by a parent, e.g., face cleaning devices, such as cloth.

Reversible joining means may also be added to the interior portion of the garment to join front and rear panels. This may be accomplished, e.g., by placing a portion of a joining means on the interior of the front panel, and the corresponding portion of the joining means on the interior of the rear panel. Thus, when the garment is worn by the child, the front and rear panels may be joined together to form, e.g., closed sides or sleeves.

A pouch (not shown) may be provided, which is detachable or integral with the garment for storage of the garment. The pouch may be provided with a closing means, such as buttons, snaps, zipper, or Velcro to secure the garment in the pouch when the garment is placed into it.

The garment of the present invention is extremely versatile as it may also function as a blanket, nap “pad,” and diaper changing pad. The external or internal panels may be lined with a water resistant material as appropriate for use as a changing pad. In another embodiment, one or more panels may be provided with sufficient padding to form a pillow for the child's head to rest on during diaper changing, or during a nap.

In one embodiment, the garment may be provided with multiple layers for different functions. As shown in FIG. 4, a supplemental panel 40 is attached to rear panel 6, which may swing 42 open or closed. The base of supplemental panel 40 may be reversibly attached to the base of rear panel 6 by any number of methods known by those skilled in the art, such as by buttons, snaps, toggles, Velcro, or magnets. The supplemental panel may have one or more pockets attached to, or integral with the supplemental panel. Such pockets are intended to store items which may be of use to the parent, e.g., extra cloth, diapers, and equipment associated with changing diapers. The lining between the supplemental panel and rear panel may be constructed of a water resistant material. Thus, when a diaper needs to be changed, the child is removed from the garment, the supplemental panel is swung open, and the diaper may be changed on the garment. If pockets are provided, diapers and diaper changing materials may be stored in those pockets, obviating the need for the parent to carry extra packages containing such material. As will be shown, the presence of the supplemental panel will not affect operation of the garment while in use.

The garment may also have various articles of ornamentation, including tassels and cords 88, which e.g., may be integral or attached to the hood, front panel, or rear panel. The tassels may also be used to secure devices to the garment. The garment may be lined with fringes or other decorative border 90 along the periphery of the front panel bottom and rear panel bottom. The fringes may be made of the same or different material as the garment, and may be the same or different color as the garment.

Having described the garment of the present invention, it is now desirable to discuss use of the garment, e.g., in dressing and transporting a child.

Preferably, the left and right panels are in communication when dressing a child so that the child's head only needs to be put through neck opening 12. The entire left and right panels do not need to be in communication, rather, only a portion, e.g., variable length of communication, is necessary to provide for communication between the left and right panels.

The two way zipper can be adjusted by the parent or child according to the temperature, the child's comfort, or preference, e.g., aesthetic or fashionable appearance. Generally, the garment is worn like a “poncho.”

As shown in FIG. 8., as a child is placed in a carrier 60, e.g., a car seat, the rear panel 6 of the garment is draped over the top 62 of the carrier 60. This prevents the garment material from collecting between the child's back and the car seat, which may cause a child to be ejected from the car seat in the event of a collision. The bottom slider 24 is used to increase the length of the second variable length continuous opening to decrease communication between the left and right panels. Portions of the left and right panels are thus no longer in communication with each other, and those portions are moved to the child's left and right side respectively. As the left and right panels are moved to the child's left and right sides, the carrier buckle(s) 66 and strap(s) 64 are exposed. If the parent requires greater access to the straps and buckles, the length of variable continuous communication 96 may be decreased by movement of top slider 22 to increase the first variable continuous opening length 94, or bottom slider 24 to increase the second variable continuous opening length 98. The straps are tightened against the child's body, and the buckle(s) are engaged. The bottom slider is then moved towards the front bottom to increase communication between the left and right panels. The child's comfort may be adjusted by altering the length of the first variable continuous opening 98 by moving the top slider proximal or distal the neck opening. Thus, a child has been placed into a carrier without the need to shed the garment before bucking the child into the carrier. No excess material is present between the child and straps, and no excess material is present between the child's back and carrier. The garment thus adequately protects the child from cold, and the child's comfort can be easily accommodated by varying the length of the first or second variable length continuous opening. Finally, because the garment is still fitted on the child and draped over the back panel of the carrier, it will not fall off the child during operation of the car.

If the garment has pockets on the rear panel or supplemental panel, it is easy to see how the garment can be used without such pockets or supplemental panels interfering with the use of the rear panel, as the rear panel is merely draped over the carrier.

In another embodiment, the back panel may not have sufficient material to be draped over the back panel of the carrier, as different carriers have back panels of varying lengths. If this is the case, the rear panel may be draped on the back panel just posterior the child's head.

When removing the child from the carrier, the bottom slider is used to reduce the communication length between the left and right panels. The left and right panels are moved to the child's left and right side respectively. The parent can then loosen the straps and remove the buckle so that the child is no longer secured in the car seat. If the parent needs additional access to the straps and buckles, length 96 may also be decreased by increasing length 94 by movement of top slider 22. After the carrier's straps and buckles have been removed from the child, the bottom slider may then be moved downwards to close the length of area 98. The child is then removed from carrier. As the child is being removed from the carrier, the rear panel is concurrently undraped from the back of the carrier. Thus, there is no need to re-dress a child following removal from a carrier.

A garment is provided which allows a parent to place a child in a car seat without removing the child from the garment. No material from the garment collect between the child and car seat, or between the child and straps, which provides added safety. The garment of the present invention is highly versatile in that it is effectively useable with essentially all sizes and shapes of commercially available carriers.

The matters set here are offered by way of illustration only and not as limitations. While particular embodiments have been shown and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from the broader aspects of invention. The actual scope of the protection sought is defined in the following claims: