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The present invention is generally related to the specialized work station arts and, in particular, to devices known in the art as baby changing stations.
Prior art systems, especially for commercial uses, have used a fold-down-from-a-wall methodology which has proven to be cumbersome to use in practice.
Moreover, such prior art systems have proven to be dangerous in practice to the extent that numerous product liability suits have been filed pertaining to such fold-down structures. The fold-down systems have also proven to be costly to manufacture and install.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to set forth a novel baby changing station which is more sturdy and safe as compared to systems currently in use.
It is a further object of the invention to describe a baby changing station which may be economically manufactured and installed for use in both home and commercial environments.
It is also an object of the invention to show a baby or toddler changing station which includes three lower storage compartments, two of which are for materials related to baby changing. A third lower compartment contains slideable and retractable stairs which are usable by a toddler with assistance from baby changing personnel.
It is a still further object to demonstrate a specially designed top portion of a baby or toddler changing station which includes protective ridges having lateral depressions formed therein to enable easier access to the sink and to allow a toddler, being properly assisted, to step from the stairs onto the top of the station.
These and other objects and advantages of the present system will be apparent to those of skill in the baby and toddler changing station arts.
During the course of preparing this specification for filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a full search of the prior art was conducted related to baby changing stations and to the work station arts in general.
U.S. Pat. No. 7,222,820, issued to Wentland et al. in 2007 and assigned to the Boeing Company, shows at FIGS. 15-19 a fold-down type of baby changing station. It does not include applicants' lower storage compartments, specially designed ridges or stairs to assist a toddler.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,151,737, issued to Henninge in 2000, teaches the used of a wall-mounted baby changing station with a strengthened hinge and a trough for receipt of a baby when it is in the folded down position.
The present invention is believed to be patentable over these and other related systems in the baby and toddler changing arts.
The description and drawings set forth a baby or toddler changing station which is mounted on the floor of a building or home structure for improved safety as compared to wall-mounted and fold-out units.
A top portion of the changing station has side and back rails or ridges to protect the baby or toddler while being changed.
The top portion also includes a front rail with depressed areas located over a small staircase and also at a sink area for advantageous use.
The baby or toddler changing station also includes a lower cabinet portion with three compartments.
The compartments are utilized for storage and to contain a small staircase which can be used by a toddler with appropriate assistance from the changing person.
FIG. 1 is an overall view of the baby or toddler changing station including a top portion with specially shaped ridges and three lower compartments for storage and staircase containment.
FIG. 2 is a front view of the baby or toddler changing station.
FIG. 3 is a schematic view of the staircase which includes a side wall having a formed aperture therein to effectively provide a railing for a hand to grasp.
FIG. 4 is a schematic view of the top portion of the changing station and illustrates the ridge depressed areas in relation to the small staircase and the sink.
FIG. 5 is a partial schematic view of the slideable staircase in relation to its storage compartment. Slide means are indicated.
Referring to the drawing FIG. 1, numeral 10 indicates an overall baby or toddler changing station having a base 12 which is mounted to a floor 14 of a building structure.
Baby station 10 has a top molded structure 20 mounted thereon which has a central flat area 21 and a right flat area 22. As further shown, the top portion further has a left side 23 with a sink 24 formed therein and apertures for hot and cold water supply piping.
The top portion 20 further has rails or ridges 31-34 as follows:
right rail 31, back rail 32 and left rail 33 are solid elements of about six inches in height;
front rail 34 has a central portion which is about six inches in height and side depressed areas 34a and 34b which are on the order of fourteen inches wide and three inches deep as indicated.
Regarding the top portion 20, the ridge dimensions and depressed areas are important aspects of the invention as will be further appreciated.
The baby or toddler changing station further has a lower cabinet portion which is divided into three compartments indicated at numerals 40, 50 and 60.
Compartment 40 is for general under-sink storage of items such as tote bags etc.
Compartment 50 is centrally located and has fourteen drawers placed therein which are utilized for such items as diapers, lotions and powders which are used in the baby or toddler changing process. See the drawers shown in FIG. 2.
Compartment 60, shown in the lower right of FIGS. 1 and 2, has slide-out and retractable stairs or steps placed therein. The purpose of the slide-out small staircase is for a toddler to climb with the assistance of baby changing personnel when the particular conditions warrant.
As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the small staircase has six steps formed thereon with slide-out elements 67 enabling slideable movement as indicated by arrow 67a.
The small staircase also has a side wall 61a connected thereto which has an elongated curved aperture 68 formed therein. The curved aperture 68 is for a toddler to grasp with his/her hand when in the process of assistedly climbing the staircase.
The steps of the small staircase are indicated generally at numerals 61-66.
FIG. 4 shows in detail the front rail or ridge 34.
As will be appreciated, the first depressed area 34a is positioned over the small staircase having a top step 66 to enable a toddler to step onto the top of the changing station with the assistance of changing personnel.
The second depressed area 34b is to be further described.
The depression 34b is located just outside of the sink 24 as indicated in the drawing figures.
Such enables a person working at the changing station to more easily access the sink without bumping his or her fingers and elbows on the ridge or rail.
The depression 34b is thus an important aspect of the overall invention since it allows the changing procedure to be accomplished in a more efficient way while still retaining the central ridge portion to keep a baby or toddler from rolling off the table.
The combination of the two depressed areas 34a and 34b in the front rail 34 are thus important aspects of the invention and thus critical to the overall effective use of the described changing station.
During the manufacturing process, the depressions 34a and 34b may be created in the front rail 34 as part of an overall molding process or cut into the front rail at the option of the manufacturer.
Referring to FIG. 5, showing a schematic view of the compartment 60 containing the staircase, 60a is a left side wall and numeral 60b is a right side wall of the compartment 60.
A left slide element 70a and a right slide 70b are further shown in FIG. 5.
Numerals 80a and 80b show schematically rollers or equivalent slide elements which are mounted to the sides of the small staircase at a location near the the height of the second step 62.
Thus, the small staircase is storable within the compartment 60 and may be readily pulled out for use by a toddler as needed.
While a particular embodiment has been shown and described, it is intended in this specification to broadly cover all equivalent systems and related structures which would reasonably occur to those of skill in the baby changing station and work station arts.
The method or process steps involved with the practice of the invention are as follows: