Title:
Disposable absorbent auto seat cover and method of use
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A disposable, highly absorbent vehicle seat cover and method of using same. The cover can be used by police officers to protect their police car seats from stains and odors caused by apprehended suspects riding in the police cars. The cover includes a highly absorbent material, such as a super absorbent polymer, so that urine and other substances are quickly absorbed into the cover instead of staining the vehicle seat and defiling the vehicle. The cover can also be conveniently attached and removed from the vehicle seat by means of hook and loop or other fasteners.



Inventors:
Monday, Wesley T. (Fortville, IN, US)
Application Number:
10/288705
Publication Date:
05/08/2003
Filing Date:
11/06/2002
Assignee:
MONDAY WESLEY T.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C31/02; A47C31/10; B60N2/60; (IPC1-7): A47C31/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CRANMER, LAURIE K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL C. BARTOL, Esq. (INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. In combination: a vehicle seat having attachment means; and a plurality of disposable covers, each said cover containing a super absorbent material and having fasteners that mate with said attachment means, whereby each said cover is removably attachable to said seat.

2. The combination of claim 1, wherein each said seat cover includes a fluid resistant liner on a bottom side thereof.

3. The combination of claim 1, wherein said attachment means comprises tabs disposed on said vehicle seat and said fasteners comprising bands which extend from each said cover.

4. The combination of claim 3, wherein said tabs and said bands comprise hook and loop fasteners.

5. A method of protecting a vehicle seat from soiling by an individual, said method comprising the following steps: (a) providing a plurality of disposable seat covers made of highly absorbent material, each cover including cover fasteners for attachment to the seat; (b) providing the vehicle seat with seat fasteners that mate with the cover fasteners; (c) attaching a first one of the seat covers to the seat; (d) placing the individual in the covered seat; (e) removing the individual from the covered seat; and (f) disposing of the cover.

6. The method of claim 5, further comprising repeating steps (c)-(f) with a second individual and a second one of the covers.

7. The method of claim 5, wherein the vehicle is a police vehicle, the individual is suspected or has committed a crime, and the individual soils the seat cover after set (d) and prior to step (e), whereby the vehicle seat is protected from soiling.

8. The method of claim 7, further comprising repeating steps (c)-(f) with a second individual and a second one of the covers.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This U.S. utility patent application claims priority from U.S. provisional patent application serial No. 60/332,862, filed Nov. 6, 2001,having the same title and same inventive entity as the present application.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates generally to auto seat covers and more particularly to single use, disposable auto seat covers.

BACKGROUND

[0003] The normal course of police activities involves apprehending and arresting suspects and placing them in a police car. While seated in the police vehicle and en route to the police station, the suspect frequently becomes incontinent, either urinating, defecating, or both, or becomes sick and vomits. Such occurrences create an unpleasant mess in the vehicle for the officer to clean up. The vehicle is normally cleaned by the officer during or after his shift, which is an activity looked forward to most unfavorably by the officer. Aggravating the clean up is that the stains left by the suspects can be difficult to remove and the residual odor can persist in the vehicle for days or even weeks after the vehicle has been cleaned. Many jurisdictions allow their police officers to use their cruisers when the officer is “off duty,” but it can be undesirable to do so when the seats are stained and the vehicle has become malodorous.

[0004] Seat covers to protect an automobile seat are known in the art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 1,985,222 to J. W. Menhall discloses a temporary paper protective covering that is drawn off a supply roll mounted at the top of the seat back, advanced over the seat back cushion, fed through a guide rod located where the seat back meets the seat cushion, then pulled over the seat cushion. The paper is then taken up by another roller mounted to the front of the seat cushion. One disadvantage of the cover disclosed by the '222 patent is that used and soiled cover material is merely taken up by a roller and kept inside the vehicle rather than being removed from the vehicle and discarded. Another disadvantage is that the disclosed roller system is ungainly.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 5,709,431 to Horn discloses a disposable seat cover made from a double-layered piece of plastic film for use by mechanics while servicing a vehicle. The disclosed cover consists of a co-extruded plastic material having a high friction coefficient on the surface which faces the seat and a comparatively low friction coefficient on the opposite surface of the cover on which the mechanic sits. However, the disclosure of this patent does not address a situation wherein fluid, possibly a large volume, is excreted by the occupant.

[0006] What is needed is a disposable seat cover that overcomes the disadvantages of the prior art and which can be conveniently used by police officers to protect their vehicle seats from suspects who become sick or incontinent.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The present invention is a disposable, highly absorbent vehicle seat cover and method of using same. The cover can be used by police officers to protect their police car seats from stains and odors left by apprehended suspects who ride in the vehicles. The cover includes a highly absorbent material, such as a super absorbent polymer, so that urine and other substances are quickly absorbed into the cover instead of staining and defiling the vehicle seat. The cover can also be conveniently attached and removed from the vehicle seat by means of hook and loop or other fasteners.

[0008] In one form thereof, the present invention provides a method of protecting a vehicle seat from soiling by an individual. First, a plurality of disposable seat covers made of highly absorbent material is provided, each cover including cover fasteners for attachment to the seat. If needed, the vehicle seat can be configured with seat fasteners that mate with the cover fasteners. In one embodiment, hook and loop fasteners are used. One of the new seat covers is taken from the container and attached to the seat. Once apprehended, the individual is placed on the covered seat. If the individual then becomes incontinent or vomits, the highly absorbent cover will absorb the offending substance, thereby preventing the seat from becoming stained. Once the car arrives at the police station, the individual is removed from the covered seat and the cover is discarded.

[0009] In another form thereof, the invention provides the combination of a vehicle seat and a plurality of disposable seat covers. The covers contain a highlyabsorbent or “super absorbent” material. Each of the covers have fasteners that mate with an attachment means provided on the vehicle seat, whereby each cover is removably attachable to the seat. One advantage of the present invention is that it greatly reduces the clean up of a police vehicle that an officer must conduct after his shift. With the present invention, if a suspect becomes incontinent or vomits on the vehicle seat, the inventive cover will absorb the offending substance and the officer can simply remove the cover and discard it after the suspect is removed from the vehicle. A new cover can be placed over and attached to the seat before another suspect is arrested.

[0010] Another advantage of the present invention is that it reduces the amount of time an officer must spend cleaning his or her vehicle, thereby allowing the officer to focus on other police duties.

[0011] Another advantage of the present invention is that it can be used in applications other than police activities. For example the presentinvention could be used in ambulance gurneys, for pets being transported in cars, and persons confined to wheel chairs and hospital beds, to name just a few applications.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0012] The above-mentioned and other advantages of the present invention, and the manner of obtaining them, will become more apparent and the invention itself will be better understood by reference to the following description of the embodiments of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0013] FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a police vehicle in accordance with the present invention;

[0014] FIG. 2 is a fragmentary perspective view of the vehicle of FIG. 1, additionally illustrating a removable seat cover in accordance with the present invention, the seat cover shown exploded away from the vehicle seat;

[0015] FIG. 3 is a fragmentary perspective view of the vehicle of FIG. 1, additionally illustrating the removable seat cover attached to the vehicle seat and a suspect placed in the seat;

[0016] FIG. 4 is a fragmentary perspective view of the vehicle of FIG. 3 illustrating the condition of the vehicle seat and cover after the suspect has been removed from the vehicle;

[0017] FIG. 5 is a fragmentary perspective view of the vehicle of FIG. 1 illustrating the removal and disposal of the vehicle seat cover;

[0018] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a container which holds several disposable seat covers in accordance with the present invention; and

[0019] FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of a vehicle seat cover in accordance with one aspect of the present invention.

[0020] Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0021] The embodiments of the present invention described below are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed in the following detailed description. Rather, the embodiments are chosen and described so that others skilled in the art may appreciate and understand the principles and practices of the present invention.

[0022] Referring now to FIG. 1, police vehicle or cruiser 10 has vehicle body 12 with flashing light unit 14 mounted thereon. Interior of vehicle 10 includes driver's seat 16, steering wheel 18, controls 20 and data unit 22. Vehicle 10 also includes front passenger seat 24 and rear seat 26, shown in the illustrated embodiment as two rear bucket-type seats 28. All of the aforementioned components are known in the art and need not be presented in any further detail herein.

[0023] Turning to FIG. 2, auto seat cover 30 is shown exploded away from seat 24. Cover 30 is formed of a highly absorbent material that includes a super absorbent, such as polyacrylamide, synthetic polyacrylate, polygels, etc., that are commonly employed in diapers and tampons. One suitable material for cover 30 is Ultra Pampers material, manufactured and sold by the Procter and Gamble Company. Another formulation for cover 30 includes a cloth or fabric outer material in which is contained one of the super absorbent materials discussed above. Once a fluid soaks through the cloth outer cover, the super absorbent filler absorbs the fluid. As shown in cross-section FIG. 7, a cover 30 suitable with the present invention would include an outer cloth or fabric material 31 and a super absorbent filler material 33. Importantly, the bottom of cover 30 must include a fluid resistant material or liner 35, e.g., polyethylene, polyurethane, or other suitable material so that when cover 30 becomes soiled, the fluid does not permeate the bottom of the cover and thus stain vehicle seat 24. As also shown in FIG. 7, the super absorbent material 33 may be sandwiched between outer cloth coverings 31.

[0024] Cover 30 includes straps 32 extending from the periphery thereof. In the illustrated embodiment, straps 32 can be formed with hook and loop type fastener material available under the trademark VELCRO®. Corresponding tabs 34 are adhered to seat 24 such that bands 32 mate therewith by means of the hook and loop fasteners and thereby attach cover 30 to seat 24. Tabs 34 can be adhered to seat 24 by any of a variety of commercially available adhesives, stitching, heat bonding or other known means for attachment. While not shown in the illustrated embodiment, the straps on the cover could be stretchable and configured to extend entirely around the seat back and seat cushion to hold the cover to the seat. Alternately, instead of hook and loop, a removable adhesive material could be employed to removably adhere straps 32 to tabs 34.

[0025] With reference to FIG. 6, a container 36 having an opening 38 houses several new covers 30 folded and arranged neatly within container 36. Container 36 can be kept with vehicle 10, for example in the trunk (not shown) or possibly in the glove box (not illustrated) of vehicle 10.

[0026] With reference to FIGS. 2-6, the method embodied by the present invention can be appreciated. Before the officer of vehicle responds to a call, or any time before a suspect is apprehended and placed in vehicle 10 for that matter, a new cover is taken from container 36 (FIG. 6) and is attached to seat 24. Straps 32 are removably attached to corresponding tabs 34 to secure the cover to seat 24. Next, with reference to FIG. 3, the suspect 40 is apprehended, cuffed, and placed into vehicle seat 24. Advantageously, cover 30 protects seat 24 in the event suspect 40 becomes incontinent or vomits on seat 24.

[0027] Referring now to FIG. 4, upon vehicle 10 arriving at the police station or other designated location, suspect 40 is removed from vehicle 11. As shown, objectionable excrement 42 left by suspect 40 is absorbed into cover 30. Conveniently, as shown in FIG. 5, cover 30 can be carefully removed from seat 30 by peeling straps 32 from tabs 34 and then folding or crumpling cover 30 (shown at 30′) and then discarding same into trash receptacle 44.

[0028] It can thus be appreciated that by use of disposable cover 30, clean up of vehicle 10 after apprehending suspect 40 has been greatly simplified. Further, after the clean up, a new cover 30 may be removed from container 36 and vehicle 10 is ready to respond to another call. This process may be repeated several times in a single shift as needed.

[0029] While a preferred embodiment incorporating the principles of the present invention has been disclosed hereinabove, the present invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments. Instead, this application is intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention using its general principles. Further, this application is intended to cover such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice in the art to which this invention pertains.