Title:
Disposable protective toilet seat cover
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A disposable toilet seat cover (10) formed of sheet material includes a seat panel (10a) to be placed on a toilet seat and left and right side pockets (16 and 18) attached along opposite sides of the seat panel and having openings (19) directed toward a front edge of the toilet seat cover for receiving hands of a user. A user extends his hands into the left and right side pockets for manipulating the disposable toilet seat cover for placing it on a toilet seat. In a preferred embodiment, the seat panel defines a seat-panel pocket having an opening (13) directed toward a rear edge of the disposable toilet seat cover for it receiving the toilet seat. In one embodiment, the toilet seat cover is made of resinous sheet plastic and in one embodiment, the sheet material forming the seat panel has frangible lines for allowing removal of at least a center blank for creating an opening in the seat panel corresponding to an opening in a toilet seat.



Inventors:
Nnaji, Gwendolyn T. (Newport News, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/472482
Publication Date:
12/28/2006
Filing Date:
06/22/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K13/14
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080235865McClains Bathtub MonitorOctober, 2008Smushkovich et al.
20040221381Whirlpool bath filter and suction deviceNovember, 2004Roy Jr. et al.
20080005835Steel DrainJanuary, 2008Shipley et al.
20090300838Adjustable curved double curtain rod shower assemblyDecember, 2009Didehvar
20090199331Lift apparatus for toilet seatAugust, 2009Tong
20100000010Splash shield and kit for use when plunging a toiletJanuary, 2010Martinisko
20090013455Disposable inflatable toilet seat coverJanuary, 2009Richardson
20030140406Western water closetJuly, 2003Miwa et al.
20050288105Target game apparatus and system for use with a toiletDecember, 2005Piccionelli et al.
20080295239JUVENILE BATHTUB WITH WATER-RINSE SYSTEMDecember, 2008Ristuccia et al.
20050138721Lavatory seat sealing systemJune, 2005Bowman et al.



Primary Examiner:
PHILLIPS, CHARLES E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BIRCH, STEWART, KOLASCH & BIRCH, LLP (FALLS CHURCH, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A disposable toilet seat cover formed of flexible sheet material comprising: a seat panel for covering an upper surface of a toilet seat on which a user is to be seated; and left and right side pockets attached along opposite sides of said seat panel, said left and right side pockets defining openings at a front end of said disposable toilet seat cover for receiving hands for manipulating said disposable toilet seat cover to apply it to said toilet seat while the hands are protected from germs from the toilet seat.

2. A disposable toilet seat cover as in claim 1, wherein said seat panel defines a seat-panel pocket having an opening at a rear edge thereof for receiving said toilet seat.

3. A disposable toilet seat cover as in claim 2, wherein said seat panel and said side pockets are made of resinous plastic sheet material.

4. A disposable toilet seat cover as in claim 3, wherein said sheet material forming said seat panel has scored lines therein for allowing removal of at least one blank for creating an opening in said seat panel corresponding to an opening in the toilet seat.

5. A disposable toilet seat cover as in claim 2, wherein said sheet material forming said seat panel has scored lines therein for allowing removal of at least one blank for creating an opening in said seat panel corresponding to an opening in the toilet seat.

6. A disposable toilet seat cover as in claim 1, wherein said sheet material forming said seat panel has scored lines therein for allowing removal of at least one blank for creating an opening in said seat panel corresponding to an opening in the toilet seat.

7. A disposable toilet seat cover as in claim 1, wherein said seat panel and said side pocket are made of resinous plastic sheet material.

Description:

This Non-provisional application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. ยง 119(e) on Provisional Application No. 60/693,063 filed on Jun. 23, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Ever since it became known that personal contact in public places can transmit diseases through germs and other infectious matter, people have feared the use of public toilet facilities. Many measures have been suggested and employed for sanitizing use of such facilities, such as ultra-violet radiation, sanitizing sprays and disposable paper toilet-seat covers. In this regard, many people simply place toilet paper on tops of toilet seats before they sit on them. Similarly, dispensers containing annularly-shaped paper sheets to be placed on toilet seats are often mounted in public rest rooms. However, these devices are not sufficiently sanitary in that it is often difficult to manipulate and use them without coming into contact with the toilet seats and they often do not stay securely on the toilet seats during use. Also, bodily fluids can often permeate through toilet-seat-cover materials so that when they are used the user still comes into contact with unhealthy germs.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,144,698 to McKenzie describes a toilet seat cover including a handling mitt that is broken away from a central area of the toilet-seat cover at scored lines. This toilet-seat cover forms an envelope having one end open so that it can be slipped over a toilet seat to enclose the toilet seat for sanitary purposes. Although this toilet-seat cover has many advantages, it is still too difficult to maneuver it, as well as a toilet seat, when it is slid onto the toilet seat; thus, a user is in undue danger of coming into contact with the toilet and/or toilet seat. Further, a user must put on and take off the mitt multiple times during use, again increasing the chance of picking up germs from the mitt. Yet another problem with this toilet seat is that it does not adequately protect a child from touching sides of a toilet during use.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,806,406 to Akerman et al. similarly describes a sanitary toilet seat cover that defines an envelope for receiving a toilet seat, there being a pair of pull tabs on opposite sides of the envelope for pulling the envelope onto the toilet seat. Further, there is a front pouch formed at a front edge portion of the envelope as a container for the cover and to help pull the cover from the toilet seat after use. The toilet seat cover in this invention can be made of flexible plastic material. This toilet-seat cover also has some advantages; however, the side tabs and front pouch do not provide sufficient positive manipulation of the toilet seat cover and/or a toilet seat so that a user is assured of avoiding germs.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,813,784 to Thompson describes a sanitary toilet seat protector having side flaps. The side flaps extend below a toilet seat and permit easy grasping of the toilet seat by users, especially children, when stabilizing, or positioning, themselves on the toilet seat. Again, a difficulty with the toilet seat protector described in this patent is that it does not provide sufficient protection from touching a toilet seat when the toilet seat and the seat protector are manipulated and it can slide from the toilet seat unless extra steps are taken, such as applying an adhesive.

Other US Patents describing toilet seat covers and protectors include U.S. Pat. Nos. 1,304,511 to Quackenbush; 5,887,291 to Bellizzi; 6,711,756 to Mullendor; and D451,178 to Massey.

However, none of these prior-art patents discloses a disposable protective toilet seat cover that is sufficiently sanitary, easy to manipulate, positively maintained on a toilet seat, and sufficiently protective of users, especially children.

Thus, it is an object of this invention to provide a disposable protective toilet seat cover that overcomes these problems.

Similarly, it is an object of this invention to provide a disposable toilet seat cover that, while being easy to carry, use and dispose of by both adults and children, also prevents users from coming into contact with germs to a great degree.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to principles of this invention, a disposable toilet seat cover is formed of flexible sheet material to include a seat panel for being placed on a toilet seat and left and right side pockets attached along opposite sides of the seat panel. The side pockets have openings directed toward a front edge of the toilet seat cover for receiving hands of a user and hang over sides of the toilet when the seat panel is on the toilet seat. A user can extend his hands into the left and right side pockets for manipulating the disposable toilet seat cover as well as the toilet seat when placing the cover on the toilet seat. In one embodiment, the seat panel defines a seat-panel pocket, or envelope, having an opening directed toward a rear edge of the disposable toilet seat cover for receiving the toilet seat.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is explained and described in more detail below using embodiments shown in the drawings. The described and drawn features, in other embodiments of the invention, can be used individually or in preferred combinations. The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of the preferred embodiments of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawing, in which reference characters refer to the same parts throughout the different views. The drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed on illustrating principles of the invention in a clear manner.

FIG. 1 is a fragmented, partially-isometric, partially-plan, top view of a disposable toilet seat cover of this invention, as seen from above a toilet seat, as the toilet seat cover is being placed on the toilet seat by a user; and

FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1, but as seen from below the toilet seat.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 illustrates a disposable protective toilet seat cover 10 of this invention. The disposable toilet seat cover 10 is formed of flexible sheet material and, in a preferred embodiment, is formed of a flexible resinous plastic sheet material.

Basically, the disposable toilet seat cover 10 includes a seat panel 10a formed as a pocket, or envelope, by a top-ply sheet 12 and a bottom-ply sheet 14. In this regard, the top and bottom-ply sheets 12 and 14 form the seat-panel pocket to have a rear seat-panel-pocket opening 13 for receiving a toilet seat 11. It should be noted that the seat-panel-pocket opening 13 is directed toward a back, or rear, edge of the disposable toilet seat cover 10, while a front edge 15 of the seat panel 10a is closed.

The disposable toilet seat cover 10 further includes left and right pockets 16 and 18, attached along closed side edges 17 of the seat panel 10a. The left and right elongated pockets 16 and 18 define openings 19 at front ends for receiving left and right hands and arms of a user. Rear ends 19a of the left and right elongated pockets 16 and 18 are closed. Thus, the user can extend his or her left and right arms into the front openings 19 of the left and right side pockets 16 and 18 to manipulate the disposable protective toilet seat cover 10, as well as the toilet seat 11, to thereby slide the seat panel 10a of the toilet seat cover 10 onto the toilet seat 11. The left and right elongated side pockets 16 and 18 then also hang below the toilet seat on the left and right sides thereof, over the toilet, substantially below the toilet seat 11, to protect children from touching the unsanitary toilet. In this regard, children must often use their hands to support and stabilize themselves when using toilets. These elongated pockets also enable the user, in a similar manner, to remove the disposable toilet seat cover 10 from the toilet seat 11 without touching the toilet seat with bare hands.

A smaller, scored out, blank 20 of the top-ply sheet 12 of the disposable toilet seat cover 10, when torn away at perforations 21, leaves a smaller hole, to be used by a child, in the top-ply sheet 12. The torn away blank 20 can then be used as protection from touching any unsanitary objects or things in a bathroom. A larger, scored out, blank 22 of the top-ply sheet 12, once removed at perforations 22a, conforms the disposable toilet seat cover to accommodate an adult by making a bigger center opening in the top-ply sheet 12. Again, the leftover blank material can be used as protection from touching unsanitary objects or things. Tabs 24 and 26, attached to the smaller and larger blanks 20 and 22 respectively, are selectively pulled rearward to remove the smaller and larger blanks 20 and 22 for creating the desired openings for conforming the toilet seat cover to accommodate a child or an adult, as desired. The bottom-ply sheet 14 has a permanent, larger open space 28 in its center for allowing fluids and other materials to pass through it and into the toilet.

Looking now at how the disposable toilet seat cover of this invention is to be used, it can be carried in a container by an individual user or it can be dispensed in public restrooms. The disposable toilet seat cover 10 is removed from a container or a dispenser, unfolded, and the top- and bottom-ply sheets 12 and 14 of the seat panel 10a are separated to open the rear seat-panel-pocket opening 13. The user's left and right hands are respectively inserted into the front openings 19 of the left and right elongated side pockets 16 and 18. The user's hands are then used to manipulate the disposable toilet seat cover 10 and the toilet seat 11 so that a toilet seat 11 is received in the rear seat-panel-pocket opening 13. The toilet seat cover is, thusly, slid onto the toilet seat while the toilet seat 11 is lifted up by the hands in the side pockets. It will be understood that when a user has his hands in the side pockets, he can not only manipulate the disposable toilet seat cover, but he can use both his hands, through the flexible sheet material, to manipulate the toilet seat 11 as well as anything else that must be manipulated. Basically, in this attitude, both hands are available for use to manipulate things. The hands, of course are fully protected by the side pockets 16 and 18. The hands are then removed from the side pockets and the desired tab 24 or 26 is pulled back to form a desired opening for either a child or adult in the top-ply sheet 12. The blank that is removed at the scores is saved to be used later for protection, for operating a flush lever, for example. Once the user is finished, his hands are again placed in the side pockets and the disposable toilet seat cover 10 is pulled from the toilet seat 11. If desired, the hands can be manipulated in the side pockets to turn the cover inside out into one of the side pockets so that all outer surface portions of the disposable toilet seat cover are now inside the side pocket. The used seat cover is then disposed of in a trash container. In this respect, if the seat cover is made of a flushable paper, it can be flushed in the toilet, however, if it is made of plastic, it is disposed of in a trash container. In a preferred embodiment, the disposable toilet seat cover of this invention is made of a resinous plastic so that it prevents migration of fluids through the material to come into contact with a user. The saved blank material 20 or 22 can be further used to open a bathroom door and is then disposed of in a trash container.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, in one embodiment, there is only one scored-out plastic blank. In another embodiment, the blank or blanks are attached by break-away adhesive rather than by scores. In yet another embodiment, there are no break-away center material pieces, rather just a hole. The disposable protective toilet seat cover can be simply placed on top of a toilet seat. However, if it is only laid on top of the toilet seat, it is not positively held to the toilet seat and may slip around during use. Similarly, the side pockets could be used with a single-ply seat panel that is used by laying it on top of a toilet seat. With such an embodiment, adhesive could be used for holding the seat cover to the toilet. The side and/or seat-panel pockets could open at both rear and front edges.

In one embodiment, the toilet seat cover is made of resinous sheet plastic and in one embodiment, the sheet material forming the seat panel has frangible lines for allowing removal of at least one center blank for creating, at a use site, an opening in the seat panel corresponding to an opening in the toilet seat. Still further, in one embodiment a powder, such as a talc powder, is placed inside the side pockets and/or the seat-panel pocket so that the respective pockets are easier to open.