Sharon Abendschoen, of York
Township, holds her creation, the sea Shell Baby Carrier, in the
office at thier home.
Easing Mom's burden
Twp. woman creates, sells lightweight baby carriers
M. LIFSHIN Dispatch/Sunday News
It took an outing with her daughter-in-law and then newborn granddaughter
for Sharon Abendschoen, a 56-year-old grandmother, to learn how heavy
modern baby carriers had become.
"I went to carry the car seat carrier and I had
trouble carrying it," Abendschoen said. "It was a car seat
carrier and those things are heavy ... I wanted to find something
else." But when she couldn't find what she was looking for -- just a
baby carrier -- she decided to do something about it.
Abendschoen of York Township recently finished the final
touches on her See Shell Baby Carrier -- a new invention she says
decreases the strain on the mother and improves infant safety.
The carrier, which Abendschoen says has passed several
consumer safety tests, is shaped like a sea shell -- decorated with
sea-life inspired padding, along with safety belts covered with padding
cut out as sea horses.
"This is a carrier that isn't a car seat," she
said, noting that the average car seat can become very heavy and bulky.
For a 10 lb. car seat carrier, a 7 lb. baby could have the increasing its
weight to nearly 20 lbs.
But as infants grow and the carrier is still used, the
combined weight will increase and add to a mother's physical stress of
carrying the child, Abendschoen said.
Abendschoen said it wasn't hard to come up with the
concept since she used similar products when she was a young mother for
her two sons.
Abendschoen, who also owns a local maintenance supply
company, said that when her sons were born decades-ago, mothers used
simple baby carriers rather than the modern transports that release from
"I hated those things," said the businesswoman
who last summer introduced the carrier to the baby supply market. "I
looked for a couple of weeks to see if one was on the market ... but when
there wasn't, I sketched one."
Abendschoen said she pictured the proposed
"lightweight" carrier as a sea shell -- a place where the baby
could be "nestled in a shell shaped chair." Beginning in 1999,
she began the process by applying and receiving the patent.
Then came the hard part.
During the past few years, Abendschoen spent most of her
time searching for manufacturers for all components of the baby carrier --
from its plastic body to all the metal pieces used.
Now, with the baby carriers being completely assembled
at a manufacturing facility in Wisconsin, Abendschoen -- who is looking
for investors and wholesalers -- is using her prototype to push sales.
She also sells the carriers on her Web site and has sent
some samples for review to a few department stores. Still, the carriers --
which retail for $98 -- are not yet in stores. But despite the slow start,
she does regret her decision to start a second business. "It's taking
forever ... but I love it."
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