Title:
Belt positioner for juvenile booster seat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A juvenile booster seat assembly is provided for use in a vehicle having a vehicle seat and a vehicle passenger restraint system. The booster seat comprises a base, a tether belt coupled to the base, and a shoulder belt positioner mounted for movement on a free end of the tether belt. The shoulder belt positioner is coupled to a shoulder belt included in the vehicle passenger restraint system and moved along the tether belt either to shorten or lengthen the effective length of the tether belt so as to control the position of the shoulder belt as it passes over the torso of a juvenile seated on the base.



Inventors:
Kain, James M. (Troy, OH, US)
Application Number:
09/907078
Publication Date:
02/14/2002
Filing Date:
07/17/2001
Assignee:
KAIN JAMES M.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B60N2/28; (IPC1-7): A47C1/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
EDELL, JOSEPH F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard A. Rezek (Indianapolis, IN, US)
Claims:
1. A juvenile booster seat assembly for use in a vehicle having a vehicle seat and a vehicle passenger restraint system, the booster seat comprising a base adapted to set on a vehicle seat and formed to include a seating area adapted to support a juvenile seated thereon, a tether belt coupled to the base, and a shoulder belt positioner mounted for movement on the tether belt to adjust the position of a shoulder belt included in a vehicle passenger restraint system and coupled to the shoulder belt positioner relative to a torso of a juvenile seated on the base.

2. The booster seat of claim 1, wherein the shoulder belt positioner includes a clip formed to include a belt channel sized to receive a shoulder belt therein and an access channel opening into the belt channel to permit a user to pass a shoulder belt there through to insert a shoulder belt into the belt channel.

3. The booster seat of claim 2, wherein the clip is C-shaped.

4. The booster seat of claim 2, wherein the shoulder belt positioner further includes a clip position adjuster formed to include a slot receiving the tether belt there through and the clip is coupled to the clip position adjuster for movement therewith along the tether belt to a position selected by a user.

5. The booster seat of claim 1, wherein the booster seat further comprises a first armrest coupled to one side of the base and a second armrest coupled to an opposite side of the base and the tether belt includes a middle portion arranged to engage the first armrest in a first operating position of the tether belt and to engage the second armrest in a second operating position of the tether belt.

6. The booster seat of claim 5, wherein the base includes a rear end positioned to lie between the first and second armrests, an upper portion of the tether belt is coupled to the shoulder belt positioner, and a lower portion of the tether belt is coupled to the rear end of the base.

7. The booster seat of claim 6, wherein each armrest includes an outer surface facing away from the rear end of the base and the middle portion lies between the upper and lower portions and engages the outer surface of one of the armrests.

8. The booster seat of claim 6, wherein the lower portion of the tether belt is coupled to a center portion of the rear end positioned to lie about midway between the first and second armrests.

9. The booster seat of claim 5, wherein each armrest includes an upstanding post and an arm portion cantilevered to the upstanding post and arranged to extend toward a forward edge of the base, and each upstanding post includes an outer side surface facing away from the seating area, an inner side surface facing toward the seating area, and a forwardly facing front side surface extending between the inner and outer side surfaces, the middle portion of the tether belt engages the outer side surface of the first armrest and passes over the forwardly facing front side surface of the first armrest upon movement of the tether belt to the first operating position, and the middle portion of the tether belt engages the outer side surface of the second armrest and passes over the forwardly facing front side surface of the second armrest upon movement of the tether belt to the second operating position.

10. A juvenile booster seat assembly for use in a vehicle having a vehicle seat and a vehicle passenger restraint system the booster seat comprising a base adapted to set on a vehicle seat and formed to include a seating area adapted to support a juvenile seated thereon, a tether belt coupled to the base, a shoulder belt connector adapted to be coupled to a shoulder belt included in a vehicle passenger restraint system associated with the base, and means for moving the shoulder belt connector between selected positions on the tether belt to vary the position of the shoulder belt connector relative to the base when the shoulder belt connector is coupled to a shoulder belt included in a vehicle passenger restraint system associated with the base and arranged to restrain a juvenile seated on the base so that the shoulder belt connector is retained in a selected position on the tether belt to establish a desired position of the shoulder belt on a torso of a juvenile seated on the base.

11. A juvenile booster seat assembly comprising a base adapted to set on a vehicle seat and formed to include a seating area adapted to support a juvenile seated thereon, a shoulder belt positioned to lie above the seating area of the base, a tether belt coupled to the base, and a shoulder belt positioner coupled to the shoulder belt and mounted for movement on a free end of the tether belt to shorten and lengthen an effective length of the tether belt so as to control the position of the shoulder belt as it passes over the torso of a juvenile seated on the seating area of the base and under the shoulder belt.

12. The booster seat of claim 11, wherein the base includes a rear end wall, a lower portion of the tether belt is coupled to the rear end wall, and an upper portion of the tether belt carries the movable shoulder belt positioner.

13. The booster seat of claim 12, further comprising an armrest coupled to each of left and right sides of the base and the tether belt includes a middle portion located between the lower and upper portions and arranged to wrap round a first of the armrests when the base is placed on one side of a vehicle seat and the tether belt is oriented in a first position with respect to the base and a second of the armrests when the base is placed on an opposite side of a vehicle seat and the tether belt is oriented in a second position with respect to the base.

14. The booster seat of claim 11, wherein the shoulder belt positioner includes a clip formed to include a belt channel sized to receive a shoulder belt therein and an access channel opening into the belt channel to permit a user to pass a shoulder belt there through to insert a shoulder belt into the belt channel.

15. The booster seat of claim 14, wherein the clip is C-shaped.

16. The booster seat of claim 14, wherein the shoulder belt positioner further includes a clip position adjuster formed to include a slot receiving the tether belt there through and the clip is coupled to the clip position adjuster for movement therewith along the tether belt to a position selected by a user.

Description:

[0001] This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) to U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/218,617, filed Jul. 17, 2000, which is expressly incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to juvenile booster seats, and particularly to booster seats for use in supporting juveniles in an elevated position on a vehicle seat. More particularly, the present invention relates to juvenile booster seats adapted to be used with a vehicle passenger restraint system including lap and shoulder belts.

[0003] According to the present disclosure, a juvenile booster seat assembly is provided for use in a vehicle having a vehicle seat and a vehicle passenger restraint system. The booster seat comprises a base, a tether belt coupled to the base, and a shoulder belt positioner mounted for movement on a free end of the tether belt. The shoulder belt positioner is coupled to a shoulder belt included in the vehicle passenger restraint system and moved along the tether belt either to shorten or lengthen the effective length of the tether belt so as to control the position of the shoulder belt as it passes over the torso of a juvenile seated on the base.

[0004] In preferred embodiments, the base includes a rear end wall and an armrest is coupled to each of the left and right sides of the base. A lower portion of the tether belt is coupled to a center portion of the rear end wall and an upper portion of the tether belt carries the movable shoulder belt positioner. A middle portion of the tether belt is arranged to “wrap around” a first of the armrests when the base is placed on a right side of the vehicle seat and the tether belt is oriented in a first operating position with respect to the base. That middle portion of the tether belt can be moved relative to the base and arranged to wrap around a second of the armrests when the base is moved and placed on a left side of the vehicle seat and the tether belt is oriented in a second operating position with respect to the base.

[0005] Other features of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon consideration of the following detailed description of preferred embodiments exemplifying the best mode of carrying out the invention as presently perceived.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] The detailed description particularly refers to the accompanying figures in which:

[0007] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a juvenile booster seat assembly in accordance with the present disclosure showing a base in place on the right side of a vehicle seat and the tether belt “wrapped around” the right-side armrest (located on the right side of a juvenile seated on the base) and oriented to lie in a first operating position with respect to the base so as to control the position of a vehicle shoulder belt included in a vehicle passenger restraint lap/shoulder belt assembly associated with the base when the base is in place on the right side of the vehicle seat;

[0008] FIG. 2 is a rear elevation view of the juvenile booster seat assembly of FIG. 1 (with the vehicle seat back removed) showing that a lower end of the tether belt is coupled to a center portion of a rear end of the base;

[0009] FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the juvenile booster seat assembly of FIGS. 1 and 2;

[0010] FIG. 4 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 1 showing the base in place on the left side of the vehicle seat and the tether belt wrapped around the left-side armrest and oriented to lie in a second operating position with respect to the base so as to control the position of a vehicle shoulder belt included in another vehicle passenger restraint lap/shoulder belt assembly associated with the base when the base is in place on the left side of the vehicle seat;

[0011] FIG. 5 is a rear elevation view of the juvenile booster seat assembly of FIG. 4; and

[0012] FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the juvenile booster seat assembly of FIGS. 4 and 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] A juvenile booster seat assembly 10 comprises a base 12, a tether belt 14 coupled to base 12, and a shoulder belt positioner 16 coupled to a free end of tether belt 14 as shown, for example, in FIGS. 1-6. Shoulder belt positioner 16 is configured to couple to a vehicle shoulder belt 20 to control the position of shoulder belt 20 as it passes over the torso (not shown) of a juvenile seated on base 12. In the illustrated embodiment, shoulder belt positioner 16 is mounted for movement on and along tether belt 14 either to shorten or lengthen the effective length of tether belt 14 at the option of a caregiver. By shortening or lengthening the effective length of tether belt 14, the position of shoulder belt 20 on the juvenile seated on base 12 can be adjusted easily.

[0014] Seat assembly 10 also comprises a first armrest 22 coupled to a right side of base 12 and a second armrest 24 coupled to a left side of base 12 as shown in FIGS. 1-6. First armrest 22 is configured to form a belt receiver slot 26 under a cantilevered portion 28 of first armrest 22. Second armrest 24 is likewise configured to form a belt receiver slot 30 under a cantilevered portion 32 of second armrest 24. As shown in the drawings, each belt receiver slot 26, 30 is sized to receive tether belt 14 along with a portion of a vehicle lap belt 34.

[0015] Seat assembly 10 is shown in place on a right side of vehicle seat 36 in FIG. 1 while tethered shoulder belt positioner 16 is coupled to vehicle shoulder belt 20. Seat assembly 10 is also shown in place on a left side of vehicle seat 36 in FIG. 4 while tethered shoulder belt positioner 16 is coupled to another vehicle shoulder belt 120. Vehicle 38 is shown to include a vehicle passenger restraint system comprising a shoulder belt 20 and a lap belt 34 located on the right side of vehicle seat 36 as shown in FIG. 1 and a shoulder belt 120 and a lap belt 134 located on the left side of vehicle seat as shown in FIG. 4.

[0016] When seat assembly 10 is placed on the right side of vehicle seat 36 as shown in FIG. 1, shoulder belt positioner 16 is coupled to shoulder belt 20 and is moved along tether belt 14 by a caregiver to place shoulder belt 20 in a preferred position on the torso (not shown) of a juvenile seated on base 12. On the other hand, when seat assembly 10 is placed on the left side of vehicle seat 36 as shown in FIG. 4, shoulder belt positioner 16 is coupled to shoulder belt 120 and is moved along tether belt 14 by a caregiver to place shoulder belt 120 in a preferred position on the torso (not shown) of a juvenile seated on base 12. By moving shoulder belt positioner 16 back and forth along tether belt 14, it is possible for a caregiver to change the effective length of tether belt 14 anchored to base 12 so as to retain shoulder belt 20 (or 120) in a position well suited for smaller or larger juveniles.

[0017] It is within the scope of this disclosure to couple a lower portion 40 of tether belt 14 to base 12. In the illustrated embodiment, base 12 includes a rear end 42 and lower portion 40 of tether belt 14 is coupled to a center portion 44 of rear end 42 about midway between first and second armrests 22, 24 as shown best in FIGS. 2, 3, and 5, 6. By anchoring lower portion 40 of tether belt 14 in this location, it is easy to move tether belt 14 between the first operating position shown in FIGS. 1-3 and the second operating position shown in FIGS. 4-6. It is within the scope of this disclosure to anchor lower portion 40 of tether belt 14 to base 12 so it can rotate about axis 46 (see FIGS. 2 and 5) relative to base 12 to facilitate movement of tether belt 14 between the first and second operating positions. Although lower portion 40 of tether belt 14 is shown to extend underneath a portion of base 12 in FIGS. 3 and 6, it is within the scope of this disclosure to position lower portion 40 to extend along rear end 42 and a lower region 66 of either first or second armrest 22, 24 so that lower portion 40 does not lie underbase 12.

[0018] Shoulder belt positioner 16 comprises a belt clip 50 and a clip position adjuster 52. In the illustrated embodiment, shoulder belt positioner is a monolith made of a plastics material to cause one end of belt clip 50 to be coupled to one edge of clip position adjuster 52.

[0019] Belt clip 50 is a C-shaped member formed to include a belt channel 54 sized to receive shoulder belt 20 (or 120) therein. Belt clip 50 is also formed to include an access channel 56 opening into belt channel 54 as shown best in FIGS. 2 and 5 to permit a user to pass shoulder belt 20 (or 120) therethrough to insert that shoulder belt 20 (or 120) into the belt channel 54. it is within the scope of this disclosure to configure belt clip 50 to be coupled to shoulder belt 20 (or 120) without separation of shoulder belt 20 (or 120) from vehicle seat 36.

[0020] Clip position adjuster 52 is formed to include slots 58 adapted to receive a free end of tether belt 14 therethrough. By moving tether belt 14 through slots 58 relative to clp position adjuster 52, a user can easily change the effective length of tether belt 14.

[0021] Each armrest 22, 24 includes a forwardly facing outer surface 60 facing away from rear end 42 of base 12, an inner surface 62 facing toward a seating area 64 on base 12, and an outer surface 66 facing away from seating area 64 on base 12. In one embodiment, a middle portion 68 of tether belt 14 engages forwardly facing outer surface 60 and it can also be arranged to engage outer surface 66 as middle portion 68 of tether belt 14 wraps around a portion of one of armrests 22, 24.

[0022] One boundary of belt receiver slot 26 is defined by sloping wall 70 oriented to lie at an angle 72 with respect to a horizontal plane established by seating area 64 (as shown, for example, in FIG. 2). Likewise, one boundary of belt receiver slot 30 is defined by sloping wall 74 oriented to lie at an angle 76 with respect to a horizontal plane established by seating area 64 (as shown, for example, in FIG. 5). Sloping walls 70 and 74 are arranged to form an included angle therebetween of about 95°. Sloping walls 70 and 74 cooperate to guide and tension lap belt 34 (or 134) that extends over the thighs (not shown) of a juvenile seated on base 12.

[0023] It is expected that, in practice, vehicle shoulder belt 20 will be arranged to lie under cantilevered portion 32 of armrest 24. Likewise, vehicle shoulder belt 120 will be arranged to lie under cantilevered portion 28 of armrest 22. The belts 20, 120 are shown to overlie portions of the armrests in the drawings only to show the underlying lap belts more clearly.

[0024] Although the present invention has been described in detail with reference to certain preferred embodiments, variations and modifications exist within the scope and spirit of the present invention as described and defined in the following claims.