Title:
Combination Bassinet and Toddler Chair
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A combination bassinet and toddler chair is disclosed. One dual-purpose frame is provided which is capable of supporting both the bassinet and the toddler chair with minimal reconfiguration effort by the parent or caretaker. In one configuration, a bassinet is held horizontally onto one or more frame members by coupling members mounted to the frame members and mounting mechanisms mounted on either side of the bottom panel of the bassinet. Easy-to-use lever mechanisms are provided on the sidewall of the bassinet that release the latches and allow for removal of the bassinet. With the bassinet removed, a toddler chair, with fabric loops on either side of the seating area, slides over the frame members and is frictionally held in place and suspended between the frame members.



Inventors:
Myers, Peter Jonathan (Wheaton, IL, US)
Application Number:
12/120521
Publication Date:
11/19/2009
Filing Date:
05/14/2008
Assignee:
BABY PLANET LLC (Glen Ellyn, IL, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
297/440.11
International Classes:
A47D11/00; A47D1/00; A47D7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ABRAHAM, TANIA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MILLER, MATTHIAS & HULL (ONE NORTH FRANKLIN STREET, SUITE 2350, CHICAGO, IL, 60606, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A combination toddler chair and bassinet assembly, comprising: a bassinet; a toddler chair comprising a middle seating surface disposed between two opposing loops; a support frame comprising a horizontal base connected to two spaced-apart frame members extending upward from the base and terminating at two spaced-apart distal ends; one or more coupling members connected to each frame member proximal the distal end of each frame member, the distal end of each frame member being detachably connected to a head rail with the head rail extending between and connecting the distal ends of the frame members; the coupling members being detachably connected to the bassinet when the frame members, coupling members and head rail support the bassinet on top of the frame members; upon removal of the head rail from the frame members, the frame members receiving the opposing loops of the toddler chair and supporting the toddler chair between the frame members.

2. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the bassinet comprises a bottom panel, the bottom panel being connected to two spaced-apart latches disposed on either side of the bottom panel, the latches being detachably coupled to the coupling members when the bassinet is detachably connected to the coupling members and supported above the frame members by the coupling members, frame members and head rail.

3. The assembly of claim 2, wherein each latch is connected to a release cable, each release cable being connected to a lever, movement of each lever causing each latch to move from a locked to an unlocked position with respect to its respective coupling member.

4. The assembly of claim 3, wherein each lever is disposed within a handle assembly mounted on either side of the bassinet above the latches.

5. The assembly of claim 3, wherein each latch is accommodated in a housing connected to opposing sides of the bottom panel of the bassinet, each latch housing accommodating a spring, the springs biasing the latches towards a locked position.

6. The assembly of claim 2, wherein each coupling member comprises a traverse rod received by one of the latches when the latches are in a locked position and the bassinet is detachably connected to the coupling members.

7. The assembly of claim 6, wherein each latch comprises one or more spaced-apart fingers including a lower finger and upper finger, the traverse rod of each coupling member being disposed between the fingers when the latch is in a locked position and the bassinet is detachably connected to the coupling members.

8. The assembly of claim 7, wherein each latch is pivotally connected to its respective housing by a pin, and wherein upward tension on each release cable causing the upper finger of each latch to pivot downward past the traverse rod of its respective coupling member to unlock the latches and detach the bassinet from the coupling members.

9. The assembly of claim 1, further comprising an accessory shelf removably mounted to the base when the bassinet is detachably connected to the frame members.

10. The assembly of claim 9, wherein the accessory shelf comprises one or more spaced-apart downwardly extending posts and the horizontal base comprises one or more spaced-apart holes for receiving the posts of the accessory shelf.

11. The assembly of claim 10, wherein the horizontal base comprises lower horizontal portions of the frame members that are connected by a rear cross rail and a front cross rail, the spaced-apart holes for receiving the posts of the accessory shelf being disposed along the front cross rail.

12. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the coupling members are detachably connected to each frame element and the coupling members are removed prior to the frame members receiving the opposing loops of the toddler chair.

13. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the coupling members are secured to the frame members by at least one removable fastener.

14. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the frame members are separated by a greater distance at their distal ends than at the horizontal base.

15. The assembly of claim 14, wherein the toddler chair is frictionally held in place on the frame members as lower portions of the frame members that are spaced apart by a greater distance than distal ends of the frame members apply tension to the opposing loops of the toddler chair as the toddler chair is slid downward over the frame members.

16. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the opposing loops of the toddler chair are tubular with lower openings that each receive one of the distal ends of the frame members and upper openings through which the distal ends of the frame members extend when the toddler chair is disposed on the frame members and ready for use.

17. The assembly of claim 16, wherein the loops of the toddler chair and the coupling members are sized so removal of the coupling members prior to installment of the toddler chair on the frame members is not required.

18. The assembly of claim 16 further comprising a second head rail for attachment to the distal ends of the frame members when the toddler chair is installed over the frame members, the second head rail and padding disposed on an upper end of the toddler chair serving as a head rest.

19. A combination toddler chair and mounting frame for the toddler chair, comprising: a base connected to one or more spaced-apart frame members that extend upward from the base, the frame members each comprising a distal end and bottom end connected to the base; the toddler chair comprising left and right loops with a seat area disposed there between, each loop being tubular with a bottom opening for receiving a distal end of one of the frame members so the seat area is suspended between the frame members when the frame members are inserted through the loops of the toddler chair, the bottom ends of the frame members being spaced apart by a greater distance than the distal ends of the frame members and by a greater distance than the loops of the toddler chair thereby enabling the toddler chair to be frictionally held in space on the frame members when the toddler chair is slid downward over the frame members.

20. A combination toddler chair and bassinet assembly, comprising: a bassinet comprising a bottom panel connected to a continuous sidewall extending upward from the bottom panel, the bottom panel being connected to two downwardly extending latch mechanisms disposed on either side of the bottom panel, the sidewall being connected to two handles disposed on either side of the sidewall and above the latch mechanisms, the handles each comprising a lever, each lever being connected to a cable, each cable being connected to one of the latch mechanisms for releasing the latch mechanisms from a locked position; a toddler chair comprising a middle seating surface disposed between two opposing loops, each loop comprising a bottom opening; a support frame comprising a horizontal base connected to two spaced-apart frame members curving upward from the base and terminating at two spaced apart distal ends, the frame members being spaced apart by a first distance at the base and a second distance at the distal ends of the frame members, the first distance being greater than the second distance, the bottom openings of the toddler chair being separated by a third distance that is at least as great as the second distance and less than the first distance; one or more coupling members connected to each frame member proximal the distal end of each frame member, the distal end of each frame member being detachably connected to a head rail with the head rail extending between and connecting the distal ends of the frame members; the coupling members been detachably connected to the bassinet when the frame members, coupling members and head rail support the bassinet on top of the frame members; upon removal of the head rail from the frame members, the frame members receiving the opposing loops of the toddler chair and frictionally supporting the toddler chair between the frame members as the bottom openings of the loops of the toddler chair are slid downward towards the base.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

Furniture for infants and small children is disclosed. More particularly, a combination bassinet/toddler chair assembly is disclosed with a single frame that is capable of functioning as a bassinet in one configuration and that can be easily and quickly converted to a toddler chair in a second configuration.

BACKGROUND

Baby and child accessories such as bassinets and toddler chairs are well known. Bassinets are used provide a safe environment in which an infant can rest or sleep. Bassinets are typically elevated with a frame or stand and include a padded horizontal sleeping surface with enclosed with sidewalls or a continuous sidewall enclosure. Bassinets also normally include a canopy above the sidewall to shade the infant from excess light.

On the other hand, toddler chairs are generally used to comfortably support an infant or toddler in an upright, seated position when the child is awake and wishes to sit up to participate in surrounding activities. Typically, the toddler chair is covered with a soft fabric, is inclined slightly and the supporting frame may permit some type of rocking or bouncing motion.

It is not uncommon for families with a small child to purchase both a bassinet and a toddler chair. However, all of these units occupy storage or closet space, and the costs of purchasing a bassinet and a toddler chair can be prohibitive or burdensome to some families. Bassinet-playpen combinations are known which fill the need for a compact, easy-to-store piece of furniture that provides multiple ways for the child to play and rest. Bassinet-changing table combinations, bassinet-bedside sleeper combinations, bassinet-bouncer combinations, and stroller-toddler chair combinations are also known.

However, there is a need for a combination bassinet and toddler chair that is easy to configure by a parent or caretaker. Moreover, a single combination assembly that functions as both a bassinet and toddler chair is desirable as separately purchased devices create additional costs and require more storage space, which is a limited commodity in many households.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

Accordingly, a combination bassinet and toddler chair apparatus is disclosed which is easy to store, easy to switch between bassinet and toddler chair configurations, and which provides both a sleeping area and sitting area for a small child or infant.

In accordance with one aspect of the disclosure, a combination toddler chair and bassinet assembly is disclosed which comprises a bassinet, a toddler chair and a support frame. The toddler chair comprises a middle seating surface disposed between two opposing loops, loops or means of attachment. The support frame comprises a horizontal base connected to one or frame members that extend upward from the base and that terminate at two space-apart distal ends. The assembly further comprises one or more coupling members connected to each frame member proximal the distal end of each frame member. The distal end of each frame member is detachably connected to a head rail. The head rail extends between and connects the distal end of the frame member(s). The head rail also supports and protects one end of the bassinet, where the infant's head is typically placed. The coupling members are detachably connected to the bassinet when the frame member(s), coupling members and head rail support the bassinet on top of the frame member(s). Upon removal of the head rail and coupling members from the frame member(s), the frame member(s) receive the opposing loops of the toddler chair and frictionally support the toddler chair between the frame member(s).

In accordance with another aspect of the disclosure, a combination toddler chair and mounting frame for the toddler chair is disclosed which comprises a base and a toddler chair. The base is connected to one or more frame members that extend upward from the base. The frame member(s) each comprise a distal end and bottom end connected to the base. The toddler chair comprises left and right loops with a seat area disposed there between. Each loop is preferably tubular with a bottom opening for receiving a distal end of one of the frame members so the seat area is suspended between the frame when the distal ends of the frame are inserted through the loops of the toddler chair. The bottom ends of the frame are spaced apart by a greater distance than the distal ends of the frame and by a greater distance than the loops of the toddler chair. As a result, the toddler chair is frictionally held in space on the frame or suspended between the frame when the toddler chair is slid downward over the frame.

In accordance with another aspect of the disclosure, the sidewall of the bassinet includes one or more fabric layers supported by an internal side frame that provides a soft continuous sidewall with structural integrity. The bottom panel is connected to two downwardly extending latch mechanisms disposed on either side of the bottom panel. The sidewall, or more accurately, the internal frame of the sidewall, is connected to two handles disposed on either side of the sidewall and above the latch mechanisms. The handles each comprise a lever. Each lever is connected to a cable. Each cable is connected to one of the latch mechanisms for releasing the latch mechanisms from a locked position with respect to the coupling members mounted near the distal ends of the frame.

It will be noted that the bassinet may be secured to the frame by a variety of means including hook and loop fasteners, magnetic couplers, snap fit connectors, etc. The latch mechanism disclosed here is just one of many exemplary ways to secure the bassinet on top of the frame in a secure horizontal position.

These and other aspects and features of the disclosure will become more readily apparent upon reading the following detailed description when considered with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a frame for alternatively supporting a bassinet and toddler chair, configured to hold a bassinet with an accessory shelf disposed below the bassinet;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the frame, bassinet and accessory shelf shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a partial view illustrating the coupling member and latch mechanism used to secure the bassinet to the frame member;

FIG. 4 is a partial sectional view of a handle and lever mechanism used to release the bassinet from the frame and coupling member;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view of one of the latching or mounting mechanisms mounted on either side of the bottom panel of the bassinet and which is used to detachably connect the bassinet to the coupling members disposed on either frame member;

FIG. 6 is a top perspective view of one of the coupling members;

FIG. 7 is a partial exploded and perspective view of the coupling member of

FIG. 6 illustrating the use of fasteners to secure the coupling member to the frame;

FIG. 8 is a perspective and exploded view of the frame, toddler chair and coupling members, particularly illustrating the attachment of the toddler chair after the coupling members are removed;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the toddler chair cross piece assembly, removed from the frame;

FIG. 10 is a partial side view of the cross piece assembly of FIG. 9 connected to one of the frame;

FIG. 11 is a partial bottom view of the cross piece of FIG. 9 connected to one of the frame;

FIG. 12 is a perspective and partial exploded view illustrating the frame with the bassinet and accessory shelf removed, the toddler chair installed on the frame and further illustrating the installment of a cross piece behind the toddler chair; and

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of the assembly in the toddler chair configuration.

While the present disclosure is susceptible to various modifications and alternative constructions, certain illustrative embodiments thereof have been shown in the drawings and will be described below in detail. It should be understood, however, that there is no intention to limit the disclosure to the specific forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, alternative constructions, and equivalents falling within the spirit and scope of the disclosure as defined by the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENTLY PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the drawings and with specific reference to FIGS. 1-2, a combination bassinet and toddler chair 20 is shown, configured for use as a bassinet. The bassinet 25 includes standard bassinet features such as a canopy 21 supported by a plurality of U-shaped support members 22 and a sleeping pad 32. The canopy 21 may be elevated in the raised position shown or it may be collapsed so that its frame rests on top of the sidewall 34. The sidewall 34 comprises one or more fabric layers with a supporting frame covered by the fabric layers.

A base 30 comprises a cross rail 31, two bottom base legs 29, with a rear cross member 35 for enhanced stability. An outer head support 33 at the rear of the bassinet 25 provides stability and security for the bassinet 25. A music device 26 is attached to the sidewall 34 by means of a clamp 27. An accessory shelf 37 is provided beneath the bassinet to hold items such as diapers and baby wipes, and is detachably connected to opposing end pieces 39 of the cross rail 31 by the downwardly extending posts 38 that are received in holes 36 in the end pieces 39 (FIG. 2).

Referring to FIG. 2, the bassinet 25 is detachably connected to the frame 28 by one or more coupling members 40 that are disposed near the distal ends 28a of the frame 28. One or more handles 24 is connected to top of the sidewall 34 of the bassinet 25. As discussed below in connection with FIG. 3, enclosed within the handles 24 are levers 23 which, when squeezed, release the bassinet 25 from the coupling members 40. One or more fasteners 41 holds the coupling members 40 to the frame 28. After removal of the bassinet 25 from the base 30, the outer head support assembly 42 with outer head support board 33, head rail 43, and ends 44 of the head rail 43 are slid outward from the frame 28 and removed. The connection between the ends 44 of the head rail 43 from the distal ends 28a of the frame 28 is illustrated in FIGS. 9-11 which describe the connection between the head rail 81 of the toddler chair 85 and the distal ends 28a of the frame 28.

The connection between the latches 51 disposed on either side of the bottom panel 50 of the bassinet 25 and the coupling members 40 of the frame member(s) 28 is shown in greater detail in FIG. 3. The coupling member 40 is held to the frame member 28 by the fasteners 41 (FIG. 2). Each coupling member 40 comprises a traverse rod 56. The elongated opening 55 of the latch mechanism 51 receives the traverse rod 56 as shown in FIG. 5. Returning to FIG. 3, the latch mechanism 51 and its housing 54 are connected to the bottom panel 50 of the bassinet 25. Two sides 54a, 54b of the latch mechanism housing 54 on either side of the elongated opening 55 are received in the aperture 59 formed in the coupling member 40.

Turning to FIG. 4, the support members 22 are connected pivotally to the supporting frame 34a of the sidewall 34 via a pivotal connection between the end member 62 and a lockable collar 63 mounted to the frame 34a. Within the handle 24 is a lever 23 which, when squeezed, exerts an upward force on the release cable 64. Slack for the release cable 64 is taken up within the housing 24a of the handle 24.

FIG. 5 illustrates how the release cable 64 applies force to the latch 69. In the latched position shown in FIG. 5, the latch 69 is biased upward by the spring 67 such that the lower finger 70 engages the underside of the traverse rod 56 and the transverse rod 56 is securely disposed between the fingers 68, 70. When the release cable 64 is pulled upward in the direction of the arrow 200, the latch 69 pivots downward about the pin 72 in the direction of the arrow 201 thereby enabling the curved upper finger 68 of the latch 69 to move downward past traverse rod 56. When the upper finger 68 has pivoted past the traverse rod 56, the cut-out area 202 of the latch 69 provides sufficient clearance between the latch body 69 and a transverse rod 56 thereby releasing the latch mechanism 71 from the coupling member 40 and enabling the bassinet 25 to be lifted off of the coupling members 40 and head rail assembly 42.

FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate the coupling member 40 in greater detail. The coupling member 40 comprises a bottom panel 78 and split top portions 77 which together form a tubular slot 79 for receiving the frame member 28. Fastener orifices 76 in the bottom panel 78 of the coupling member 40 receive the fasteners 41 for fastening the coupling member 40 to the frame member 28 as shown in FIG. 7. Removal of the fasteners 41 may or may not require the use of the heat and tool. Also, in other embodiments, removal of the coupling members 40 may not be required as the toddler chair 85 can be installed over the coupling members 40.

FIGS. 8-13 illustrate the features of the assembly in the toddler chair 85 configuration. In FIG. 8, the toddler chair 85 is installed by removing the coupling members 40 from the frame member(s) 28. Then, the toddler chair 85 is mounted over the frame member(s) 28 by inserting the distal ends 28a of the frame member(s) 28 into the lower ends 87a of the loops 87 disposed on either side of the toddler chair 85. As can be seen in FIGS. 8 and 13, the distance D1 between the distal ends 28a of the frame member(s) 28 is smaller than the distance D2 between the bottom ends 28b of the frame member(s) 28. Further, the distance D3 between the loops 87 of the toddler chair 85 is less than the distance D2 but greater than the distance D1. As a result, the toddler chair 85 is frictionally held in place and suspended between the frame member(s) 28 as the loops 87 are slid downward over the frame member(s) 28.

Turning to FIG. 9, the male ends 95 of the second head rail 81 slide telescopically into the distal ends 28a of the frame member(s) 28 after the head rest 91 has been pulled downward as shown in FIG. 12. The second head rail 81 may or may not be of the same configuration as the head rail 43 of FIG. 2. However, the connection mechanism between the header rails 43, 81 and the ends 28a of the frame member(s) 28 are the same and it is described in FIGS. 9-11. The spring clips 96 are each connected to a release button 82 which, as shown in FIG. 10, are received in holes 82a disposed in each frame member 28. When the ends 95 of the head rail 81 are inserted into the female distal ends 28a of the frame member(s) 28, the spring-biased buttons 82 will eventually line up with the holes 82a in the ends 28a of the frame member(s) 28 and snap into place as shown in FIG. 10. To remove the second head rail 81, the release buttons 82 are pressed and the head rail 81 is pulled to the right in FIG. 10 to release the clips 96 and ends 95 from the ends 28a of the frame member(s) 28. The snaps 97 seen in FIG. 11 are used to hold the head rest 91 in place over the second head rail 81 when the toddler chair 85 is installed as shown in FIG. 12.

FIG. 12 further illustrates how the toddler chair 85 slides onto the frame member(s) 28. Before installation of the toddler chair 85, coupling members 40 are preferably removed from the frame member(s) 28. While traditional screws 41 are illustrated (FIG. 7), it is anticipated that the coupling members 40 can be connected to the frame member(s) 28 using a quick-disconnect mechanism. Further, it is also anticipated that the loops 87 of the toddler chair 85 could be designed so that removal of the coupling members 40 is not necessary. Fabric loops 87 then slide onto the frame member(s) 28. The frame member(s) 28 are closer together at the top (D1) than at the bottom (D2) as illustrated in FIG. 8. As the distance D3 between the fabric loops 87 falls between D1 and D2, the loops 87 are able to fit onto the frame member(s) 28 but are not able to slide all the way down to the bottom 28b of the frame member(s) 28 and are frictionally held in place above the base 30.

FIG. 13 depicts the assembled toddler chair 85. The loops 87 are made of fabric, and the sidewalls of the seat have vents 88. Sidewalls 89 contain side vents 88 embedded therein to allow the child to view his or her surroundings peripherally and to provide air flow. A restraining belt 100 is provided with straps attached to the lower portion of the sidewalls 89. The restraining belt 100 somewhat restrains the child in the toddler chair 85. A head rest 91 is provided for larger children.

Accordingly, a bassinet 25 and toddler chair 85 are provided in one assembly, using a common frame 30 that saves space and cost.

While only certain embodiments have been set forth, alternatives and modifications will be apparent from the above description to those skilled in the art. These and other alternatives are considered equivalents and within the spirit and scope of this disclosure and the appended claims.





 
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