Title:
Head restraint device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a head restraint system for supporting the head of a person wearing headwear while seated. The head restraint is comprised of a headwear portion and a rear mounting portion. The headwear portion is comprised of an article of headwear with one part of a fastener attached at the rear of the headwear. The rear mounting portion comprises the other part of said fastener attached to the rear mount such that a user wearing the headwear may lean his or her head against the seat thereby engaging the parts of the fastener and intern restraining the users head. In some embodiments, the rear mount is the back of a seat, and in other embodiments a separate rear mounting fixture is provided.



Inventors:
Massey, Jody Russell (Macon, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/076505
Publication Date:
12/08/2005
Filing Date:
03/09/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A42B1/06; A42B1/24; A47C16/00; A61F5/37; B60N2/48; (IPC1-7): A42B1/06
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Primary Examiner:
QUINN, RICHALE LEE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jody Russell Massey (Macon, GA, US)
Claims:
1. A head restraint apparatus comprising: at least one fastener having a first and a second fastening portions; an article of headwear, wherein said first fastener portion is joined to a rear portion of said headwear and said second fastener portion is joined to a mounting area on the back of a seat such that said first and second portions are operable to be fastened together while a person wearing the article of headwear is sitting in a normal sitting position in the chair.

2. The head restraint apparatus of claim 1, wherein the article of headwear is an eyeglass having an attached lanyard, and said first fastener portion is joined to the lanyard.

3. The head restraint apparatus of claim 2, wherein said first portion of said fastener is fixedly joined onto a sleeve, which sleeve is operable to be removably joined to the lanyard by sliding the lanyard through the sleeve.

4. The head restraint apparatus of claim 1, wherein said fastener is a Velcro system.

5. The head restraint apparatus of claim 1, wherein said first portions of said fastener is Velcro hooks and said second portions of said fastener is the material of the seat, which material comprises small loops that are operable to removably fasten to the Velcro hooks.

6. The head restraint apparatus of claim 1, wherein the article of headwear is a baseball cap.

7. The head restraint apparatus of claim 6, wherein said first portion of said fastener is fixedly joined onto a sleeve, which sleeve is operable to be removably joined to the baseball cap by sliding a detachable adjustment strap at the rear of the baseball through the sleeve.

8. The head restraint apparatus of claim 1, wherein the fastening of said first and second portions of said fastener is removable.

9. The head restraint apparatus of claim 1, wherein the fastening of said first and second portions of said fastener is permanent.

10. The head restraint apparatus of claim 1, wherein said first portion of said fastener is fixedly joined onto a clip, which clip is operable to be removably clipped onto to the article of headwear.

11. A head restraint apparatus comprising: at least one fastener having a first and a second fastening portions; an article of headwear, wherein said first fastener portion is joined to a rear portion of said headwear and said second fastener portion is joined to a mount, said mount being located near the back of a seat such that said first and second portions are operable to be removably fastened together while a person wearing the article of headwear is sitting in a normal sitting position in the chair.

12. The head restraint apparatus of claim 11, wherein the article of headwear is an eyeglass having an attached lanyard, and said first fastener portion is joined to the lanyard.

13. The head restraint apparatus of claim 11, wherein said mount is mounted onto a rigid structure.

14. The head restraint apparatus of claim 11, wherein said mount is mounted onto the seat.

15. The head restraint apparatus of claim 11, wherein said mount is a raised head support portion manufactured as part of the seat.

16. The head restraint apparatus of claim 11, wherein said fastener is Velcro system.

17. The head restraint apparatus of claim 1, wherein the fastening of said first and second portions of said fastener is removable.

18. The head restraint apparatus of claim 1, wherein the fastening of said first and second portions of said fastener is permanent.

19. The head restraint apparatus of claim 1, wherein said first portion of said fastener is fixedly joined onto a clip, which clip is operable to be removably clipped onto to the article of headwear.

20. A head restraint apparatus comprising: an article of headwear, and means for joining the article of headwear to a mounting area that is operable to join with said joining means while a person wearing the article of headwear is sitting in a normal sitting position in the chair.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present Utility patent application claims priority benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) of the provisional application for patent No. 60/553004 filed on Mar. 12, 2004.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to the field of safety head restraints. More particularly, the invention relates to head restraints used to limit head movement when seated.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Head restraints have been known for many years in the prior art, yet few are geared to support the wearer's head if the wearer looses head control. Some known patents in the prior-art are designed for this purpose. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,339,151 shows a head restraint in the Figures that utilizes a strap, which is tied around the back of chair with strings. A headband is placed around the wearer's forehead and is either riveted to strap or attached by a cord to strap at a single point. This approach is generally useful when being discreet is not important and the application permits such a relatively complex installation.

Another technique is shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 of U.S. Pat. No. 4,707,031 where a head restraint includes a seat band, which is secured around the head rest portion of the seat. A band is secured at the back of the band and along both sides to a securement band and is wrapped around the wearer's forehead and secured by a “Velcro” type securement. As with the previous approach, the attachment of the wearer's head to the seat is by indiscreet means.

The Ross U.S. Pat. No. 6,301,716 shows a head support assembly for physically disabled persons and includes a headband 16, which is loosely supported to a seat back by a pair of cords 20 and 22. This device is designed to permit a substantial amount of movement of the wearer's head and would be inappropriate for supporting the wearer's head while sleeping. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 6,266,825 provides for an indiscreet head support mechanism by way of an adhesive strap secured to a seat harness and a head harness secured by a loop that passes over the wearer's forehead, but does not surround the wearer's head. U.S. Pat. No. 6,607,245 is another example of an indiscreet head support devise for use during sleeping.

In view of the foregoing, there is a need for improved techniques for simple, discreet seat head restraints such that a casual observer of the head restraint wearer is likely unaware of the head restraint.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the Figures of the accompanying drawings and in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a back view of the headwear portion of the preferred embodiment of the present invention

FIG. 2 illustrates a front view of the seat portion of the preferred embodiment.

FIG. 3 illustrates an unattached side view of the preferred embodiment.

FIG. 4 illustrates a top view of the preferred embodiment.

FIG. 5 illustrates an attached side view of the preferred embodiment.

FIG. 6 illustrates how to attach the fastener that is attached to the headwear portion in an alternate embodiment.

FIG. 7 illustrates the side view of how to attach a clip to the headwear portion in an alternate embodiment.

FIG. 8 illustrates a side view of the seat portion in an alternate embodiment.

FIG. 9 illustrates a front view of the seat portion in an alternate embodiment.

FIG. 10 illustrates a top view of the seat portion of an alternate embodiment.

Unless otherwise indicated illustrations in the Figures are not necessarily drawn to scale.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To achieve the forgoing and other objects and in accordance with the purpose of the invention, a seat head restraint is described.

An aspect of the present invention provides for a head restraint supporting the wearer's head while seated, which head restraint supports the wearer's head to thereby limit the movement thereof if the wearer falls asleep, for example, while seated. In one embodiment of the present invention, the head restraint is comprised of a headwear portion and a rear mounting portion. The headwear portion is comprised of an article of headwear with one part of a fastener attached at the rear of the headwear. The rear mounting portion comprises the other part of the fastener attached to the rear mount such that a user wearing the headwear may lean the wearer's head against the seat thereupon engaging the parts of the fastener consequently restraining the users head. In some embodiments, the rear mount is the back of a seat, and in other embodiments a separate rear mounting fixture is provided.

Other features, advantages, and object of the present invention will become more apparent and be more readily understood from the following detailed description, which should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is best understood by reference to the detailed Figures and description set forth herein.

Embodiments of the invention are discussed below with reference to the Figures. However, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that the detailed description given herein with respect to these Figures is for explanatory purposes as the invention extends beyond these limited embodiments.

The present invention is directed towards head restraints for supporting the wearer's head while seated. In an embodiment of the present head restraint system a headwear portion and a seat attachment portion is provided, whereby the user's head is adequately secured to the headwear, which headwear is adequately to the seat attachment portion, thereby sufficiently securing the user's head to the seat.

A multiplicity of suitable headwear devices are contemplated that may be configured according to the teachings of the present invention. The headwear should preferably have a comfortable and secure fit with the wearer's head and have a rear location where an attachment means can be fixedly joined. For example, FIG. 1 illustrates the back of a baseball cap embodiment adapted in accordance with the principles of the present invention wherein headwear portion 5 comprises a headwear 1, shown as a baseball cap, and an attachment means 2 is fixedly joined with headwear 1. In this embodiment, a Velcro attachment system is shown. Moreover, in the Figure, attachment means 2 is shown to be joined at the bottom, backside of headwear 1, however, those in the art will appreciate that any suitable location may be selected according to the application and depending on where the desired point of headwear fixation is located. A seat portion 6 according to an embodiment of the present invention is shown in front view in FIG. 2 and includes a seat back 4 and attachment means 3, which removably mates with attachment means 2 of FIG. 1 with a sufficient attachment force for the application. Attachment means 3 is fixedly joined to seat back 4 using known methods suitable for the type of attachment system selected for the application as described in more detail below.

FIG. 3 illustrates a vertical profile of the relative orientation headwear portion 5 prior to being removably attached to seat portion 6 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Headwear portion 5 is engaged onto seat portion 6 by moving headwear portion 5 backwards until attachment means 2 and attachment means 3 are sufficiently engaged and attached to one another, thereby securing headwear portion 5 to seat portion 6 as shown in FIG. 4, which illustrates a top view of the attachment between headwear portion 5 to seat portion 6.

FIG. 5 illustrates the side, profile view of user 7 wearing headwear portion 5 when it is attached to seat portion 6 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. When engaged as shown the present headwear attachment system made according to the present invention adequately secures the users head to seat back 4, while being relatively unnoticeable and discreet. The proper selection and implementation of headwear portion 5 and seat portion 6 will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art depending on the aesthetic and performance constraints of the application. By way of example and not limitation, if the user is a baby or child sitting in a car seat then this embodiment of the present invention may be a baseball cap headwear with the first part of a self-adhesive Velcro system joined to the back of the baseball cap at a suitable location to conveniently attach with the second part of the self-adhesive Velcro system, which is joined to the car seat at convenient location relative to the user's comfortable head orientation. To disengage the present head restraint system, suitable force is applied to separate attachment means 2 and attachment means 3 from one another. This can be accomplished by the user or another person.

A multiplicity of known alternative attachment means are contemplated which achieve the foregoing requirements. By way of example, and not limitation, suitable attachment means include hook and loop Velcro and snap fasteners, which may be self adhesively, glued, sewn, or otherwise secured in place by known techniques. The strength, size, and implementation of the attachment means depends on how much attachment force is required to hold the users head in place during peak and average loading, and is well within the averaged skilled artisan to properly select from known approaches.

It should be appreciated that headwear 1 is understood to encompass all suitable and common headgear in accordance with the teachings of the present invention, including, but not limited to, hats, caps, visors, turbans, hoods, hoods built into other items, head scarves, and head stockings. Alternative headwear embodiments of the present invention (not shown), also include other suitable items normally worn on the head, for example, but not limited to, eyeglass lanyards, eyeglass restraints, earmuffs, and head wrapping earphones.

FIG. 6 illustrates another embodiment of the present invention, which is a variation of the embodiment, where, instead of the attachment means being directly on the headwear, it is adhered to a sleeve 8 which is slipped over the headwear at an appropriate location, such as at headwear strap 9.

Similarly, other alternative embodiments of the present invention include attachment means, which are readily joined and removed from the headwear as shown in FIG. 7. For example, the attachment means may be Velcro fixedly adhered to a clip 10, which is clipped onto headwear 1.

Yet other alternative embodiments of present invention implement a variation of attachment means 3 of FIG. 1 whereby seat attachment means 11 is instead attached to seat attachment strap 12 at its headwear engagement end as shown in FIG. 8, which is joined, by sewing it in place for example, at its opposite seat attachment end to seat back 4. With this approach, headwear portion 5 is strapped to seat back 4 when the user wearing headwear portion 5 engages attachment means 2 and seat attachment means 11, thereby restraining the users head to seat back 4 via seat strap 12. The length of strap 12 is chosen according to the desired range of motion for headwear portion 5, and, in turn, the wearer's head. Alternate embodiments of this approach may have the seat attachment end of seat strap 12 attached at more distant locations of the seat or even at appropriate location off the seat such that headwear portion 5 is suitable restrained according to the requirements of the particular application.

Yet other alternative embodiments of present invention implement a variation of attachment means 3 of FIG. 1 whereby seat attachment means 11 is instead attached to seat attachment strap 13 at the strap headwear engagement area and also such that strap 13 is then strapped to the seat 4 in one of a variety ways with one such example shown in FIGS. 9 and 10.

Furthermore, some embodiment of the present invention may have the seat portion manufactured as a part of seat back 4 in compliance with the teachings of the present invention. Similarly, some embodiment of the present invention may have the headwear attachment means manufactured as part of the headwear.

Those in the art will readily appreciate that the described embodiments of the present invention is suitable to assist a user, especially a child, while sleeping in a car seat by providing a head restraint, which supports the user's head to limit the movement thereof if the user falls asleep while seated or otherwise needs head restraint.

Having fully described at least one embodiment of the present invention, other equivalent or alternative methods of implementing a head restraint system according to the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art. The invention has been described above by way of illustration, and the specific embodiments disclosed are not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed. For example, the particular implementation of the attachment means may vary depending upon the particular requirements of the application. Whereby, in some alternate embodiments, the attachment means of the headwear and seat portions can be replaced with one or more known types of fasteners, snaps for example, and are contemplated as within the scope of the present invention. The invention is thus to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the following claims.





 
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