Title:
Baby/Child Support
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
There is provided a baby support (10) having a base (11) and a support portion (12). The support portion has a back portion (13) and a pair of side portions (15, 16). The baby support (10) has a waist harness for retaining a baby (31) in the support. The baby support (10) enables the baby (31) to reach in many directions, including forwards and sideways, whilst remaining in a safe, seated position.



Inventors:
Jimenez, Albert (Bristol, GB)
Application Number:
11/628099
Publication Date:
10/18/2007
Filing Date:
06/03/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C1/00; A47D1/00; A47D13/08; A47D15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DUNN, DAVID R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ARTHUR G. SCHAIER (CARMODY TORRANCE SANDAK & HENNESSEY LLP 195 CHURCH STREET P.O. BOX 1950, NEW HAVEN, CT, 06509-1950, US)
Claims:
1. A baby/child support comprising a base, a support portion upstanding from the base and retention means comprising a waist harness for retaining a baby/child relative to the support portion, the support portion having a degree of flexibility and resilience and comprising a raised back portion and oppositely disposed side portions of lower height than the back portion, the base extending laterally beyond the footprint of the support portion, such that in use the side portions extend below the arms of the baby/child to allow a degree of sideways leaning.

2. A support as claimed in claim 1 wherein the support portion is generally U-shaped in plan view, with the back portion being curved and continuing smoothly into the two side portions.

3. A support as claimed in claim 1 wherein the waist harness comprises two side straps secured with respect to the respective side portions of the support portion and a central strap extending from the base.

4. A support as claimed in claim 3 wherein the harness straps are adjustable in length and are secured to each other using a releasable buckle.

5. A support as claimed in claim 3 wherein the two side straps extend through their respective side portions and extend around the back of the raised back portion and are adjustably secured relative to each other.

6. A support as claimed in claim 1 wherein the inner surface of the back portion curves smoothly to meet the base of the support.

7. A support as claimed in claim 1 wherein the base incorporates means for attaching thereto activity/learning equipment.

8. A support as claimed in claim 7 wherein the means for attaching the activity/learning equipment comprises releasable clips.

9. A support as claimed in claim 7 wherein the activity/learning equipment comprises a keyboard and a screen incorporating means which are controlled by means of a programmable or pre-programmed computer disc or cartridge.

10. A support as claimed in claim 1 wherein the support portion is formed from a non-rigid plastics or rubber-based material or foam.

11. A support as claimed in claim 10 wherein the support portion has a rigid core.

12. A support as claimed in claim 1 wherein the base is in the form of a base plate.

13. A support as claimed in claim 12 wherein the support portion is releasably secured relative to the base plate.

14. A support as claimed in claim 13 wherein the base plate has an aperture through which the support portion is inserted.

15. A support as claimed in claim 14 wherein the aperture has an associated surrounding recess and the support portion has a flange around its lower edge which is received in the recess.

16. A support as claimed in claim 1 wherein the height of the side portions is in the range of ⅓ to ⅔ the height of the back portion.

Description:

The present invention relates to a baby/child support.

As a baby develops, it becomes able to take up a sitting position. However, once in the sitting position the baby is initially unstable and is prone to slumping forwards or backwards or to falling sideways. This can harm the baby and can cause distress to both the baby and to the parent or carer. At this stage of development, it is usually necessary for the parent/carer to be extra vigilant to ensure the well-being of the baby. The situation is made more difficult because at this stage of a baby's development it is unlikely to sit still and will regularly try to reach out for toys and other objects or people.

According to the present invention there is provided 1 baby/child support comprising a base, a support portion upstanding from the base and retention means for retaining a baby/child relative to the support portion, the support portion having a degree of flexibility and resilience and comprising a raised back portion and oppositely disposed side portions of lower height than the back portion, the base extending laterally beyond the footprint of the support portion, such that in use the side portions extend below the arms of the baby/child to allow a degree of sideways leaning, and the retention means comprising a waist harness.

In preferred arrangements the base is in the form of a base plate. Normally the support portion is generally U-shaped in plan view, with the back portion being curved and continuing smoothly into the two side portions. Ideally the back portion extends higher than the two side portions.

It is a preferred feature that the retention means comprises a harness. Normally the harness comprises two side straps secured to the respective side portions of the support portion and a central strap extending from the base. Preferably the harness straps are adjustable in length and are secured to each other using a releasable buckle. A further preferred feature is that the inner surface of the back portion curves smoothly to meet the base of the support.

In some arrangements the base incorporates means for attaching thereto activity/learning equipment. Preferably the means for attaching the activity/learning equipment comprises releasable clips. With some embodiments the activity/learning equipment comprises a keyword and a screen incorporating means which are controlled by means of a programmable or pre-programmed computer disc or cartridge.

With some embodiments the support portion is formed from a non-rigid plastics or rubber-based material. In some arrangements the support portion has a rigid core.

Preferably the support portion is releasably secured to the base, perhaps using suitable clips.

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described in more detail. The description makes reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a baby support according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the baby support shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side view showing a baby in a baby support similar to that shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 4 is a plan view of learning equipment for attachment to the baby support shown in the figures,

FIG. 5 is an underplan view of a base plate of an alternative baby support according to the present invention,

FIG. 6 is a side view of a support portion for use with the base plate of FIG. 5, and

FIG. 7 is a part sectioned front view of the assembled alternative baby support.

In the drawings there is shown a baby support 10 which comprises a base plate 11 and a support portion 12 mounted thereon. The base plate 11 is formed from a rigid plastics material but other materials could be used such as wood. The base plate 11 is in this embodiment generally heart-shaped but again other shapes are possible.

The support portion 12 is generally U-shaped and is secured to the base plate 11. The attachment to the base plate 11 may be a fixed attachment or the support portion 12 could be removably attached to the base plate 11 using releasable means such as screws or clips (shown in FIG. 3 as 30). The support portion 12 has a back portion 13 which is curved in plan view so as to engage snugly the back of a baby 31 and which extends upwardly to perhaps the shoulder blade region of the baby when seated on the base plate 11 to prevent the baby falling backwards. The back portion 13 can, in some embodiments, extend higher to behind the head/neck of the baby so as to support the baby's head/neck. This is useful if the baby is tired and falls asleep. The height the back portion 13 reaches on the baby will, of course, depend on the dimensions of the baby. The inside surface of the back portion 13 in this particular embodiment curves smoothly at 14 where it meets the base plate 11 so as to provide comfort and support for the baby but the junction between the back portion 13 and the base plate 11 could be more abrupt (as indicated in FIG. 3).

The back portion 13 slopes downwardly into two side portions 15, 16 of reduced height. Ideally the side portions are between ⅓ and ⅔ the height of the back portion 13, preferably about half the height, such that the side portions can extend below the baby's arms. The side portions 15, 16 provide side support for the baby if it tries to lean to the side. Attached to each of the side portions 15, 16 is a side strap 17, 18 which form part of a restraining harness 19. A centre strap 20 is also provided and the three straps 17, 18, 20 can be releasably secured together using a suitable buckle arrangement 21. Ideally, the straps 17, 18, 20 are adjustable in length so as to accommodate comfortably babies of varying dimensions. The centre strap 20 in the embodiment shown, extends through the base plate 11 and could be removable for selected purposes such as cleaning.

The support portion 12 is ideally formed from a flexible, resilient material. Some foamed materials, such as open-cell foams, would be suitable. Preferably the material is a soft-feel plastics material or rubber-based material which will provide sufficient flexibility to allow the baby to move but will not simply give way under the weight of the baby. Also the material will be resilient so that it returns to its original shape after flexing. For example, a latex foam having suitable rebound qualities may be suitable although the precise material is a matter of design choice. The soft-feel of the plastics or rubber-based material will also be less likely to cause injury if anyone falls against the support portion 12. Ideally all materials can be easily wiped clean. Another possibility is that the support portion has a removable cover which could be washable. It is also possible that the support portion could have a more rigid core to provide strength whilst still providing the essential flexibility and rigidity of the support portion 12.

As babies learn to sit, they rarely sit still and will tend to lean in all directions particularly when something (such as a toy or other object) or someone attracts their attention. When a baby is just able to sit unaided, such a leaning action will invariably result in the baby falling and this can lead to injury, distress and frustration for the baby and of course can lead to distress for the parent or carer.

In use of the baby support 10, the baby is placed in the support portion 12 and held there using the harness 19. The baby is, therefore, supported in a sitting position by means of the support portion 12 and the harness 19 with the side portions 15, 16 extending below the arms of the baby. If the baby leans forward the harness supports the baby and tends to pull the side portions 15, 16 inwardly to grip the sides of the baby. If the baby leans back, the back portion 13 allows some movement but ultimately restrains the baby and again this movement tends to cause the side portions 15, 16 to be pulled inwardly to grip the sides of the baby. Movement to the sides is similarly allowed to a degree but ultimately restrained by the side portions 15, 16. The marginal portion of the base plate 11 which surrounds the support portion 12 assists in stabilising the baby support 10 by making it very difficult for the baby to tip the baby support 10 over. As the baby is in a less dangerous environment, less strict supervision is required and the parent/carer can be more at ease whilst their back is turned.

In FIG. 4 there is shown activity/learning equipment 40 which can be secured to the base plate 11. The attachment is ideally releasable and may comprise clips, suction cups, bolts or any other suitable means perhaps even in combination. In the arrangement shown the equipment has spaced feet 41 which clip into spaced holes 42 provided in the base plate 11. The precise nature of the activity/learning equipment is a matter of design choice but could include a keyboard 43 and screen 44, shape-sorters, bead coasters, or any other devices for improving the baby's dexterity, awareness, learning or enjoyment. The keyboard 43 and screen 44 could be controlled using programmable and/or pre-programmed means such as computer discs or cartridges, CDs, DVDs. The complexity of the learning/play tasks can, therefore, be varied according to age and/or development. The activity/leaning equipment 40 is located in front of the baby and can also extend around the baby's side.

FIGS. 5 to 7 show an alternative baby support which is similar in many ways to the embodiments described earlier. Like components have therefore been given like reference numerals. The base plate 11 is formed with a U-shaped aperture 50 which has in its underside a surrounding recess 51. The support portion 12 is generally U-shaped in plan view and has a back portion 13, side portions 15, 16 and a flange 52 around its lower edge. The support portion 12 is inserted through the aperture 50 in the base 11 so that the flange 52 lies in the recess 51. This is shown clearly in FIG. 7. The support portion 12 is therefore easily removable for cleaning or for replacement. Additional fasteners can be provided to hold the support portion 12 in its correct location.

Also there is a strap receiving hole 53 in the base 11 and this hole also has a surrounding recess 54. The centre strap 20 of the harness is inserted through the hole 53 and a retaining plate (not shown) attached to one end of the centre strap 20 is received in the recess 54.

FIG. 7 also shows an additional shoulder/body harness 55 which can be attached to the basic waist straps 17, 18 of the restraining harness 19. Also shown is an optional seat cushion 56 which can be retained about the centre strap 20 and secured relative to the base with, for example, VELCRO type fastenings.

FIG. 6 shows a slot 57 formed in each side portion 15, 16 to allow the side straps 17, 18 to pass through. The side straps then pass around the rear of the back portion 13 and are adjustably secured to each other. Suitable strap retaining loops may be provided on the support portion 12 to hold the side straps correctly.

In particularly preferred arrangements, the height of the back portion 13 is about 300 mm above the base plate 11 and the height of the side portions 15, 16 is about 150 mm above the base plate 11.

It will be appreciated that changes can be made to the precise construction of the baby support and to the types of material used and the precise shapes of the components. For example, the ends of the U-shape (in plan view) could be modified such that the front ends of the side portions 15, 16 are directed slightly inwardly towards each other so as to improve the fit of the support portion around the baby.