Title:
Transferable baby seat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A child seat includes a base portion, a seat portion that is connected to the base portion, and a connection piece. The connection piece is attached to the base portion and/or the seat portion, and is adapted to removably couple the attached portion to an external frame, such as a high chair frame or a swing frame.



Inventors:
Gibree, Steven (Slatersville, RI, US)
Application Number:
11/286275
Publication Date:
08/17/2006
Filing Date:
11/23/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C1/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GARRETT, ERIKA P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
IP Strategies (P.O. Box 6446, Asheville, NC, 28816, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A child seat, comprising: a base portion; a seat portion that is connected to the base portion; and a connection piece attached to at least one of the base portion and the seat portion that is adapted to removably couple at least one of the base portion and the seat portion to an external frame.

2. The child seat of claim 1, wherein the connection piece is attached to the base portion, and is adapted to removably couple both the base portion and the seat portion to the external frame.

3. The child seat of claim 1, wherein the connection piece is attached to the seat portion, and is adapted to removably couple the seat portion to the external frame.

4. The child seat of claim 3, wherein the seat portion is removably connected to the base portion, and the connection piece is adapted to removably couple the seat portion to the external frame after the seat portion has been removed from the base portion.

5. The child seat of claim 1, wherein the external frame is one of a high chair frame and a swing frame.

6. The child seat of claim 1, further comprising the external frame.

7. The child seat of claim 6, wherein the external frame is one of a high chair frame and a swing frame.

8. The child seat of claim 7, wherein the connection piece is a first connection piece, and the external frame includes a second connection piece, wherein the first connection piece and the second connection piece mate to removably couple the at least one of the base portion and the seat portion to the external frame.

9. The child seat of claim 8, wherein the at least one of the base portion and the seat portion is suspended above the ground when the at least one of the base portion and the seat portion is coupled to the external frame.

10. The child seat of claim 9, wherein the external frame is a swing frame, and the first connection piece and the second connection piece mate in a pivoting manner.

11. The child seat of claim 10, wherein the swing frame is adapted to remain stationary on a solid surface, and the at least one of the base portion and the seat portion are able to move in a swinging motion with respect to the swing frame.

12. The child seat of claim 8, wherein the second connection piece is formed integrally with the external frame.

13. The child seat of claim 1, wherein the connection piece is formed integrally with the at least one of the base portion and the seat portion.

14. The child seat of claim 1, wherein the seat portion includes a seat frame and a seat cover.

15. The child seat of claim 1, wherein the base portion includes a frame that supports the seat portion.

16. The child seat of claim 15, wherein the base portion includes a vibration mechanism that imparts an oscillating motion to the seat portion.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This is related to and claims priority from co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/630,440, which was filed on Nov. 23, 2004.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to seats and other accessories for infants and small children, in which a child can be placed or transported, and which might provide some other functionality.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Young children require many accessories. Parents of young children who cannot walk or be left unattended especially need a number of products, particularly when transporting the child. Baby seats, rockers, swings, bouncers, and many different types of carriers are available for keeping an infant or small child stationary or for transporting the child. Each of these typically is a stand-alone apparatus, so parents are required to purchase numerous items if they are to provide the functionality of a number of these accessories. It would be advantageous to provide such an accessory that is a combination of two or more of these apparatus, or that can be converted to provide the functionality of more than one accessory.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a bouncer or other type of baby seat that can be coupled with a frame of a high chair, swing, or other type of baby accessory or furniture.

According to an aspect of the invention, a child seat includes a base portion, a seat portion that is connected to the base portion, and a connection piece. The connection piece is attached to the base portion and/or the seat portion, and is adapted to removably couple the base portion and/or the seat portion to an external frame. The connection piece can be formed integrally with the at least one of the base portion and the seat portion.

For example, the connection piece can be attached to the base portion, and therefore can be adapted to removably couple both the base portion and the seat portion to the external frame. Alternatively, the connection piece can be attached to the seat portion, and therefore can be adapted to removably couple the seat portion to the external frame. In this case, the seat portion can be removably connected to the base portion, and the connection piece can be adapted to removably couple the seat portion to the external frame after the seat portion has been removed from the base portion.

The external frame can be, for example, a swing frame, or a high chair frame, and can be included as part of the invention. The connection piece can be a first connection piece, and the external frame can include a second connection piece. The second connection piece can be formed integrally with the external frame. The first connection piece and the second connection piece can mate to removably couple the base portion and/or the seat portion to the external frame. The base portion and/or the seat portion can be suspended above the ground when the base portion and/or the seat portion is coupled to the external frame. If the external frame is a swing frame, the first connection piece and the second connection piece can mate in a pivoting manner. The swing frame can be adapted to remain stationary on a solid surface, such that the base portion and/or the seat portion can move in a swinging motion with respect to the swing frame.

The seat portion can include a seat frame and a seat cover. The base portion can include a frame that supports the seat portion. In addition, the base portion can include a vibration mechanism that imparts an oscillating motion to the seat portion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

FIG. 1 is an illustration of an exemplary bouncer seat.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of an exemplary high chair frame.

FIG. 3 is an illustration of an exemplary high chair assembly.

FIG. 4 is an illustration of an exemplary infant swing frame.

FIG. 5 is an illustration of an exemplary infant swing.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The apparatus of the invention is a baby or infant seat that can be transferred among any of several support structures. For example, the seat can function as the seat in a high chair, and can be removed from the high chair structure and placed in a bouncer frame. The transferable seat can include a seat frame and a cover. The seat frame provides the structure for the seat as well as the hardware necessary to couple the seat to the desired support structure, that is, to the high chair and the bouncer, for example. The seat cover is disposed on the seat frame and provides resilient support for the seated infant. Alternatively, the seat can be a unitary structure, such as a molded plastic seat, or can be configured in any manner that includes a mechanism that couples the seat to the support structure, and support for an infant.

FIG. 1 shows a typical child seat 1, in this example in the form of a bouncer, such as that disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,431,646 to Summer Infant, Inc. As shown, the seat 1 includes a base portion 2, a seat portion 3, and a pair of connection pieces 4. The base portion 2 in this example provides a stationary base for the seat 1, and also provides a frame 5 for the flexible seat portion 3, which can be made of fabric or other supporting material, and which covers the frame 5, in which the child can sit. Although a bouncer seat is shown as an example, any type of child seat can be provided, including a seat having unitary construction, such as a molded plastic seat. If a particular embodiment of the invention utilizes a bouncer seat, the base portion 2 will typically include a vibration mechanism 6 that imparts an oscillating motion to the seat portion 3. Each connection piece 4 is attached to the base portion 2 or the seat portion 3, or both, and is adapted to removably couple the base portion 2 and/or the seat portion 3 to an external frame, which is described below. The connection piece 4 can be a separate component that is attached to the base portion 2 and/or seat portion 3, or it can be formed integrally with the at least one of these components.

If the connection piece 4 is attached to the base portion 2, both the base portion 2 and the seat portion 3 can be coupled to the external frame together. Alternatively, if the connection piece 4 is attached only to the seat portion 3, the seat portion 3 can be coupled to the external frame by itself, if the seat portion 3 can be removed from the base portion.

The external frame is preferably one that changes the environment somewhat for the child, or that provides a beneficial change for an adult who is monitoring the child. For example, the external frame 10 can be a high chair frame 11, an exemplary embodiment of which is shown in FIG. 2. When the child seat 1 is coupled to the high chair frame 11, as shown in FIG. 3, the child is placed in a stationary position off the floor, providing a better location for an adult to feed or observe the child. If the child seat 1 utilized is a bouncer, the high chair frame 11 preferably provides a base against which the bouncer base has contact, so that the vibration feature of the bouncer can be used while the bouncer seat is coupled to the high chair frame 11.

In an alternative embodiment, the external frame 10 can be a frame for a swing 21, as shown in FIG. 4. When the child seat 1 is coupled to the swing frame 21, as shown in FIG. 5, the child is placed in a position off the floor, but one in which the seat 1 can be swung, pendulum style, in a motion that often soothes a cranky child. The swing frame 21 can include a latch mechanism that will hold the seat in a stationary position, so that the assembly can be used as a high chair, or so that the vibration feature of the bouncer seat can be used.

The external frame can include a second connection piece 13 that mates with the connection piece 4 on the child seat in order to couple the seat 1 to the frame 10. The second connection piece 13 can be formed integrally with the external frame. The first connection piece 4 and the second connection piece 13 can mate to removably couple the base portion and/or the seat portion of the child seat 1 to the external frame. The second connection piece 13 can be a separate component that is attached to the external frame 10, or it can be formed integrally with the external frame 10. The connection pieces can be adapted to mate in any known fashion. For example, one connection piece can include a threaded extension, and its mating connection piece can include a threaded collar that engages the threaded extension to couple the connection pieces. Alternatively, the connection pieces can include mating extensions and recesses, friction fit, a snap-fit mechanism, or any other type of mating mechanism that provides for easy coupling and de-coupling. If the external frame is a swing frame, the first connection piece and the second connection piece can mate in a pivoting manner, such as by a hinged mating mechanism, or by an extension that mates with a larger recess that allows room for one connection piece to move pivotally with respect to the other. As shown in the exemplary embodiment of FIGS. 4 and 5, the second connection pieces 13 can be swing arms 14 that connect pivotally to a first pivot point 15 on the swing frame 21, and which connect to the connection pieces 4 of the child seat 1 at second pivot points 16. It will be apparent to those of skill in the art that any of a number of conventional connection pieces is suitable for use with the present invention.

Although it is contemplated that a preferred embodiment includes the child seat and the external frame as described above, it is also contemplated that the invention could include only the seat, adapted with hardware to allow removable coupling with previous designs for high chairs, swings, and other external frames, or even for existing bouncers. As previously noted, the child seat 1 can also have a unitary construction, such as a molded plastic seat, which can function as a stand-alone seat or which can attach to a separate base portion when not coupled to the external frame.

Particular exemplary embodiments of the present invention have been described in detail. These exemplary embodiments are illustrative of the inventive concept recited in the appended claims, and are not limiting of the scope or spirit of the present invention as contemplated by the inventor.





 
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