Title:
Belt Guide
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A child safety seat provided with at least one belt guide unit for the arrangement of at least a portion of a seat belt. The belt guide unit is preferably integrated in or connected to at least one section of the child safety seat or connected in/to at least an additional part arranged on or adjacent to the child safety seat. The belt guide unit is provided to be adjustable in at least a first direction, preferably the width direction, to position the seat belt correctly on the shoulder of the child, where this adjustment is caused by the relative movement between at least two sections of the child safety seat.



Inventors:
Vertegaal, Henk (Hengelo, NL)
Application Number:
11/621127
Publication Date:
01/31/2008
Filing Date:
01/09/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
297/468
International Classes:
A47C1/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
EDELL, JOSEPH F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHRISTIAN D. ABEL (Oslo, NO)
Claims:
1. A child safety seat provided with at least one belt guide unit for guiding at least a portion of a seat belt, wherein the belt guide unit is integrated in or connected to at least one section of the child safety seat, characterized in that the belt guide unit is connected to a section by a rod, whereby the relative movement between at least two sections of the child safety seat will cause the belt guide unit to adjust in a width direction

2. A child safety seat for use in a vehicle having seat belts of the type where at least a portion of the seat belt crosses the chest of the passenger, the child safety seat comprising at least one belt guide unit for adjusting the position of the chest-crossing portion of the seat belt in relation to the shoulders of the child, wherein the belt guild unit comprises a member for engaging the chest-crossing portion of the seatbelt and further wherein the belt guide unit is moveably connected by a rod (9) to a section of the child safety seat such that the belt-engaging member is movable in at least the horizontal direction.

3. A method for shifting the position of a car's seat belt to the shoulder width and/or height of a child sitting in a child safety seat, comprising: providing a child safety seat comprising a belt guide unit moveably connected to a first section of the safety seat, wherein moving at least a second section of the safety seat causes shifting of the belt guide unit, preferably moving the belt guide unit angularly or rectilinearly, placing the child safety seat in a vehicle, placing the child in the child seat, engaging a portion of the car's seat belt with the belt guide unit adjusting the second section of the safety seat until the desired positioning of the guide unit is achieved.

4. A method in accordance with claim 3, wherein moving at least the first section or/and the second section or/and third section upwards or downwards in the height direction of the child safety seat, causes shifting of the belt guide unit.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention concerns a child safety seats.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Two belt guides integrated in each of the two lateral flank of the head rest of a child safety seat, are disclosed in EP 0 751 033. Each belt guide is configured as a fixing device providing a clamping force onto a portion of the seat belt, by placing the fixing device in a closed position. When the child safety seat needs adjustment to suit children of various heights, the head rest is moved upwards or downwards according to the height of the shoulder of the child, and the belt guide then secure the correct position of the seat belt accordingly. However, as the arrangement shown in EP 0 751 033 is not prepared for adjusting the belt guide according to the width of the shoulder of the child, the belt guides are kept in a fixed position in the width direction for all height positions. By this arrangement the requirements for positioning the seat belt correctly on the shoulder of the child is not obtained for all shoulder heights.

To achieve an optimum effect of the seat belt onto the child during an emergency situation such as during a sudden retardation of the vehicle, the seat belt needs to be placed in a correct position onto the upper part of the child's body. By positioning the seat belt on to the child in such a way that the seat belt is placed crossing the middle of the shoulder as requested, the effect of reducing the forward movement of the child is optimized. As the arrangement of EP 0 751 033 is provided to allow for adjustment only in the height direction of the safety seat, the arrangement does not provide a solution adapted for producing the correct position of the seat belt in accordance with the varying width of the child's shoulder. The lack of this arrangement may cause the misplacement of the seat belt onto the neck of the child or onto the upper arm of the shoulder. These maladjusted positions of the seat belt may cause severe injuries to the child during sudden breaking of the vehicle.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

A need exists therefore for a child safety seat with a belt guide unit which is adaptable for positioning the seat belt correctly onto the shoulder. It is an object of the invention to provide a child safety seat wherein the belt guide unit is provided to assure a correct position of the seat belt on the shoulder of the child. The belt guide unit is arranged to be adjustable depending on the size of the child, wherein also the width of the shoulder of the child is taken into consideration.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the invention, a belt guide unit is provided for the arrangement of at least a portion of a seat belt. The belt guide unit may be provided as a separate unit or may be connected to at least one section of the child safety seat or to at least an additional part arranged on or adjacent to the child safety seat. Alternatively, the belt guide unit may be integrated in or connected to at least one section of the child safety seat or to at least an additional part arranged on or adjacent to the child safety seat. The belt guide unit is provided to be adjustable in at least a first direction, preferably the width direction, to position the seat belt correctly on the shoulder of the child. The belt guide unit may be provided adjustable in various directions, to obtain the correct position of the seat belt, by varying the placement of the seat belt in the width direction of the safety seat to fit the width of the shoulder of the child.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the child safety seat will be arranged adjustable in the height direction of the child safety seat, to fit the seat belt in accordance with the varying height of the shoulder of the child.

The adjustment of the belt guide unit may be carried out in various ways as long as the object of positioning the seat belt correctly on to the shoulder is achieved. The adjustment may be done manually, ie the belt guide unit may be adjusted by hand operating the belt guide unit directly, or the belt guide unit may be arranged with a structure dedicated for operating the belt guide unit, such as for instance a handle. Alternatively, the adjustment is caused by the movement of at least one section of the child safety seat or by at least an additional part arranged on or adjacent to the child safety seat.

The number and arrangement of the belt guide unit may vary according to the various versions of child safety seat. In one embodiment the child safety seat is provided with one belt guide unit. The belt guide unit may be arranged with the necessary means to be moved between the right side and left side of the child safety seat. The moving of the belt guide unit may be carried out by manually demounting the belt guide unit from one side and mounting it at the other side. Or arrangements may be provided so that the belt guide unit easily may be shifted from one side to the other, without the need of demounting and mounting.

In another embodiment the child safety seat may be provided by at least two belt guide units. Preferably, the number of belt guide units is two, but to meet particular needs, it might be necessary to arrange the child safety seat with more than two belt guide units. When using at least two belt guide units, the adjustment of one of the belt guide units may be arranged so that it causes the adjustment of at least one of the other belt guide units. By this arrangement the belt guide units need only to be adjusted to the particular child once, where after the child safety seat may be used both on the right and left side of the vehicle.

In one embodiment the child safety seat may be provided so that the movement of at least one section causes the adjustment of at least one of the two belt guide units. Thus in this embodiment the movement of the section(s) is connected to the reposition of the belt guide. In a further embodiment the adjustment of the belt guide unit causes the adjustment of at least one of the other belt guide units.

As mentioned earlier the belt guide unit is connected to at least one section of the child safety seat or to at least an additional part arranged on or adjacent to the child safety seat. The child safety seat may comprise one section, two sections, three sections, four sections etc. The section or sections where to the belt guide unit is connected may be constituted by for instance a head rest, a back rest, a sitting section, a connecting device such as a rod for connecting at least two of the sections or any other component making up the child safety seat. As the skilled person will understand, the number of sections or the functions of the sections where to the belt guide unit is connected are not completely appointed herein, as various section may be applicable for the task to be carried out. This same applies to the additional part arranged on or adjacent to the child safety seat. The additional part may be any sort of element or arrangement providing a basis for the belt guide unit, or used for adjusting the belt guide unit cooperating with other sections or other additional parts to adjust the belt guide unit.

In accordance with one embodiment the adjustment of the belt guide unit may be brought about or caused by the relative movement between at least two sections of the child safety seat. Alternatively, the adjustment might be conducted by the relative movement between at least one section of the child safety seat and/or at least an additional part arranged on or adjacent to the child safety seat. As the skilled person will realize the afore description of the sections or additional part of choice also applies for these embodiments. The relative movement may be produced by any kind of movement such as angular or rectilinear.

In one embodiment the relative movement between at least two sections of the child safety seat may be provided by at least a first section and a second section of the child safety seat, which are arranged movable relative to each other. Preferably the first section is constituted by a head section and the second section is constituted by a back section. The belt guide unit has first attachment means providing a connection to the first section of the child safety seat, and further second attachment means providing a connection to the second section of the child safety seat. The child safety seat comprises at least a first and a second section, but may also comprise a third, fourth, fifth etc section. At least the first and second section are arranged to be moved relative to each other. Alternatively, the relative movement may in accordance with the invention occur between a first, second, third, fourth sections etc. The relative movement may be conducted by moving one of the sections relative to the other, or by moving plural of the sections relative to the other(s), or by moving all sections relative to each other. The relative movement between at least the first and second section, or for instance between first, second, third etc, causes adjustment preferably displacement of the belt guide unit. As the skilled person will understand the relative movement between sections (first, second, third etc) of the child safety seat may be provided in various ways. Preferably, the first section comprises the head rest of the child safety seat. The head rest may be arranged to be moved relative to the second section, constituted by the back rest of the child safety seat. In one embodiment the second section may be constituted by both the back rest and the sitting section of child safety seat. In another embodiment the second section may be constituted by the back rest and a third section may be constituted by the sitting section. In yet another embodiment the first, second, third sections may be constituted by other parts of the child safety seat than the head rest, back rest, sitting section. As the skilled person will realize the inventive concept is to provide a solution wherein the relative movement produced by moving at least a first and a second section, is connected to the adjustment of the belt guide unit, and this solution is not necessarily restricted to dedicated parts of the of child safety seat, as various parts may appear as fit for carrying out the relative movement.

In an alternate embodiment of the invention the belt guide unit brings about the relative movement between the first and second section, or first, second, third etc section.

The relative movements between at least the first and second section may occur in various ways. The relative movement between the first and second section may be a rectilinear or an angular movement. Preferably, the relative movement is produced by the head rest (first section) being arranged to move for instance in the height direction of the child safety seat, for instance by a rectilinear movement, while the back section (second section) and/or sitting section (third section) is at rest.

Alternatively, all sections may be arranged movable or the back rest and/or sitting section may be arranged movable.

In the following the invention will be explained using an embodiment, wherein the first section (preferably the head rest) and second section (preferably the back section) are movably arranged relative to each other. As the skilled person will understand, the following explanation is to be understood applicable also to the embodiments wherein the relative movement occurs between more than two sections or in the case where the two sections are provided by other parts of the child safety seat, than the head rest and the back section.

The displacement of the belt guide unit may be arranged in different ways, for instance by moving the belt guide unit angularly, rectilinearly etc. The belt guide unit may comprise a holding portion and an attachment portion. The attachment portion may be provided with the first and second attachment means. The holding portion may be arranged for receiving a portion of the seat belt. Preferably, the belt guide unit is arranged so that the holding portion is shifted in the width direction of the child safety seat, thereby providing the opportunity of positioning the seat belt correctly onto the shoulder of the child. The seat belt may be applied to the belt guide unit by using different kind of arrangements. In a preferred embodiment the holding portion is arranged for receiving a portion of the seat belt, and the belt holding portion may arranged as an opening, an open or closable hook or any other suitable structure or arrangement.

In a first embodiment of the invention, the displacement of the belt guide unit is carried out as an angular movement. In a second embodiment of the invention the displacement of the belt guide unit is carried out as a rectilinear movement. As the skilled person will understand, the displacement of the belt guide unit may within the scope of the invention, be carried out by other arrangements than angular or rectilinear movements.

To carry out the angular displacement of the belt guide unit in accordance with the first embodiment, the first attachment means may provide a pivotal connection between the belt guide unit and the first section of the child safety seat. Further, the second attachment means may provide a pivotal connection between the belt guide unit and the second section of the child safety seat.

The pivotal connections may be provided by various arrangements. For instance a pivot bearing, a hinge, a rod shaped structure, an axle functioning as a pivot axis or other arrangements capable of providing the possibility of pivoting or angular movement. The pivotal connection may be provided by an embodiment wherein the first attachment means comprises a first connecting device. A first portion of the first connecting device is fixed to the first structure of the child safety seat, and a second portion of the first connecting device is pivotally connected to the belt guide unit. Further, the second attachment means may comprise a second fastening device. A first portion of the second connecting device may be fixed directly or indirectly to the second structure of the child safety seat, and the second portion of the second connecting device may be pivotally connected to the belt guide unit.

To carry out the rectilinear displacement of the belt guide unit in accordance with the second embodiment, the first attachment means provides a sliding connection between the belt guide unit and the first section of the child safety seat. In a preferred version of this second embodiment, the sliding connection provides for the belt guide unit to be displaced by a rectilinear movement in the width direction of the child safety seat. The second attachment means may provide a sliding connection between the belt guide unit and the second section of the child safety seat.

The second attachment means may comprise a second fastening device. The first portion of the second connecting device is fixed directly or indirectly to the second structure of the child safety seat. Further, the second attachment means may also comprise a recess provided in the belt guide unit, wherein the recess may have an angular orientation. In a preferred version of this second embodiment, the second portion of the second connecting device is received in the recess to carry out the sliding connection. As the skilled person will realize, the sliding connection may be provided by other arrangements than a fastening device and a recess, such as for instance a gear rack or rods. Further, if using a recess this may have various angular orientation other than mentioned here.

The fixing of the second connecting device to the second structure of the child safety seat may be carried out by using a joining device of some kind. For instance at least a rod may be used as the connection between the second connecting device and the second structure of the child safety seat.

The pivotal or rectilinear connection arrangement between the belt guide unit and first and second section child safety seat respectively, may be provided so that moving the first section upwards or downwards in the height direction of the child safety seat, causes the belt guide unit to pivot or move rectilinearly outwards or inwards in the width direction of the child safety seat. Alternatively the child safety seat may be arranged so that the moving of the rod causes the displacement of the belt guide unit.

The invention also includes a method for shifting the position of the belt guide unit, wherein the method is defined by the step of moving at least one of the sections or a combination of these sections. This movement causes shifting of the belt guide unit, where this movement preferably will be done angularly or rectilinearly.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the following an example an embodiment of the invention will be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings;

FIG. 1 illustrates the belt guide unit placed in a first position on the child safety seat in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates the belt guide unit placed in a second position on the child safety seat in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates the belt guide unit placed in a first position on the child safety seat in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates the belt guide unit placed in a second position on the child safety seat in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates the belt guide unit placed in a first position on the child safety seat in accordance with a third embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates the belt guide unit placed in a second position on the child safety seat in accordance with a third embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 1-6 show a child safety seat 1 comprising a first section 2, preferably a head section, and a second section 3, preferably a back section, and a third section 11, preferably a sitting section. The child safety seat 1 is provided with belt guide units 4 which acts as a control device for positioning the seat belt in the right position on the shoulder of the child. The two belt guides 4 are arranged on the left and the right side of the child safety seat 1 respectively, thereby providing the opportunity of using a seat belt placed either at the left or right side of the child safety seat 1. The belt guide unit 4 is defined by an attachment portion 5 which provides the connection to the child safety seat 1, and a holding portion 6 which provides an arrangement for the fastening of the seat belt to the belt guide unit 4. In the figures the attachment portion 5 and the holding portion 6 are shown as integrated parts of the belt guide unit 4. Alternatively, the attachment portion 5 and the holding portion 6 may be provided as separate parts connected to make up the belt guide unit 4.

The belt guide unit 4 may be arranged with an opening 10 dedicated for receiving a portion of the seat belt (not shown in the figures). The opening 10 is preferably positioned in the holding portion 6 of the belt guide unit 4, wherein the opening 10 may be constituted by an open or closable hook or any other arrangement, prepared for receiving and providing certain holding capabilities for keeping the seat belt portion in position at the belt guide unit 4.

The belt guide unit 4 as shown in the figures is provided for being regulated and thus displaced when at least one section of the child safety seat such as the first section 2, second section 3, rod 9 are moved relative to other sections of the child safety seat or relative to each other. As the skilled person will understand, the child safety seat 1 may alternatively be provided so that displacing belt guide unit 4 may cause the relative movement to occur between at least one section of the child safety seat such as the first section 2, second section 3, rod 9. In the embodiment shown in the FIGS. 1-4, the head rest is shifted in a height direction of the child safety seat 1 illustrated by arrow H, to fit the child safety seat 1 to the size of the child. As the displacement of the belt guide unit 4 is made dependent on the adjustment of the head rest, the holding portion 6 of belt guide unit 4 is caused to move in the width direction of the of child safety seat 1, indicated by arrow W in the figures. The displacement of the belt guide unit 4 may of course be connected to other sections/parts of the child safety seat 1 than the head rest, and also the head rest may be moved relative to other sections than the back section, for instance the sitting section.

To make sure the seat belt is placed correctly on the shoulder of the child, the subsequent angular displacement of the belt guide unit 4 in accordance with the first embodiment of the invention and the subsequent rectilinear displacement of the belt guide unit 4 in accordance with the second or third embodiment of the invention, when moving the head rest or other parts of the child safety seat 1 for adjusting to the size of the child, may be predetermined based on information on the correlation between shoulder heights and shoulder widths of children. In addition the child safety seat may be provided with additional means for the fine tuning of the position of the belt guide unit 4, to allow for the individual adaptation.

In FIGS. 1, 2 the first attachment means provide a pivotal connection between the belt guide unit 4 and the head rest 2 to adjust the holding portion 6 in the width direction W. The second attachment means provide a pivotal connection between the belt guide unit 4 and the back rest 3.

The first attachment means is shown provided by a first connecting device 7 and the second attachment means is shown provided by a second connecting device. 8. The first portion of the first connecting device 7 is fixed to the head rest 2, while the second portion of the first connecting device 7 is pivotally connected to the belt guide unit 4. Further, the first portion of the second connecting device 8 is fixed directly or indirectly to the back rest 3, while the second portion of the second connecting device 8 is pivotally connected to the belt guide unit 4.

First connecting device 7 provides the connection of the attachment portion 5/belt guide unit 4 to the first section as illustrated in the figs. Second connecting device 8 provides the connection of the attachment portion 5/belt guide unit 4 to the second section as illustrated. The second connecting device 8 is shown joined to the second section 3 by the arrangement of a rod 9. The second connecting device 8 may also be arranged in a more direct connection to the second section 3, by connecting the second connecting device 8 directly to the second section 3 and omitting the rod 9.

By this arrangement of the attachment means, the angular movement of the belt guide unit 4 and thereby the shifting of the holding portion 6 in the width direction W, follows the displacement of the head rest 2 in the height direction H. In the first embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the movement of the belt guide unit 4 and the movement of the head rest is connected so that moving the head rest 2 upwards in the height direction H, leads to the angularly shifting of the belt guide unit 4 and the moving of the holding portion 6 outward in the width direction W. And the other way round; moving the head rest downward in the height direction H, leads to the angularly shifting of the belt guide unit 4 and the moving of the holding portion 6 inward in the width direction W.

In FIGS. 3, 4 the first attachment means (not shown in the figs) is provided as a sliding connection to make the belt guide unit able to slide to adjust the holding portion 6 in the width direction W. By this sliding connection the belt guide unit is displaced by a rectilinear movement in the width direction W of the child safety seat.

The belt guide unit 4 is shown with a recess 12 provided in the attachment portion 6 of the belt guide unit 4. The recess 12 is arranged angularly as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. The second attachment means provides a sliding connection between the belt guide unit and the second section of the child safety seat. The second attachment means comprises a second fastening device 8 and the recess 12, wherein the first portion of the second connecting device is fixed directly or indirectly to the second structure of the child safety seat, and the second portion of the second connecting device is received in the recess 12. The second fastening device 8 is arranged to move in the recess 12, when the head rest 2 is moved in the height direction H.

By this arrangement of the first and second attachment means, the rectilinear movement of the belt guide unit 4 and thereby the shifting of the holding portion 6 in the width direction W, follows the displacement of the head rest 2 in the height direction H. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the movement of the belt guide unit 4 and the movement of the head rest are connected so that moving the head rest 2 upwards in the height direction H, leads to moving the second fastening device 8 in the recess 12. The second fastening device 8 is restricted to move in the height direction of the child safety seat, and movement in the width direction of the child safety seat, is prohibited. By this arrangement the belt guide unit is forced to move outward when the second fastening device 8 moves upward, and inward when the second fastening device 8 moves downward.

When moving the second fastening device 8 downward in the angular recess 12, a rectilinear shifting of the belt guide unit 4 occurs, and the holding portion 6 is moved outward in the width direction W, until reaching an end position as shown in FIG. 4. And the other way round; by moving the head rest downward in the height direction H, the second fastening device 8 is caused to move upward in the angular recess 12, and by this arranging for the rectilinear shifting of the belt guide unit 4, and the moving of the holding portion 6 inward in the width direction W until reaching an end position as shown in FIG. 3.

In FIGS. 5, 6 the second attachment means is provided by a second fastening device 8 connected to the rod 9 and to the attachment portion 5 of the belt guide unit 4. The rods 9 are provided for displacement in the height direction H and for angular displacements P. The adjustment of the guide unit 4 is thereby caused by the height displacement and angular displacement of rods 9. As shown in FIG. 5, when the rods 9 are shifted in the upward height direction H and displaced angularly outward, the belt guide units 4 are caused to move outwards in the width direction W. The belt guide units 4 are provided to be displaced by a rectilinear movement outward. When shifting the rods 9 downward in the height direction H and displacing the rods angularly inward from the position as shown in FIG. 5, the belt guide units 4 are caused to move inwards. The rods as shown in FIG. 5-6 may be integrated in a section of the child safety seat such as the head rest, or may function as separate sections which are used to operate the belt guide units 4 solely.

As described in the general part of the description, the adjustment of the belt guide unit 4 may be carried out directly by the user without producing the relative movement between the various parts of the child safety seat. Further, the adjustment of one belt guide unit 4 may be connected to various movement patterns of the sections of the child safety seat, as described earlier.

The invention also include a method for shifting the position of the belt guide unit, wherein the method is defined by the step of moving at least the first section, second section or third section etc or moving a combination of these section. This movement causes shifting of the belt guide unit, preferably moving angularly or rectilinearly.

The method may further be defined by the steps of moving the first section or/and the second section, thirds section etc upwards in the height direction of the child safety seat, thereby causing shifting of the belt guide unit, preferably angularly or rectilinearly, outwards in the width direction of the child safety seat. The method also include the step of moving the first section or/and the second section, thirds section etc downwards in the height direction of the child safety seat, thereby causing shifting of the belt guide unit preferably angularly or rectilinearly, inwards in the width direction of the child safety seat.