Title:
Child seat/holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed is a seat/holder or support device including a base mattress or padded surface in combination with a ring-like border, whereby the seat/holder may be used to comfortably support an infant, child or adult, including those having a physical disability.



Inventors:
Lorentz, Carol (Rochester, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/893843
Publication Date:
02/21/2008
Filing Date:
08/17/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47D13/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
POLITO, NICHOLAS F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CARO A. LORENTZ (ROCHESTER, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A seat/holder, comprising: a padded planar surface having a generally circular shape; and a ring-like border, operatively attached to the planar surface, said ring-like border extending upward from the planar surface around the periphery thereof, wherein a human may lie or sit in contact with the planar surface, while the head and/or one or more appendages may also rest on or over a portion of the border and provide support therefor.

2. The seat/holder of claim 1, further comprising a cover material covering said padded planar surface.

3. The seat/holder of claim 2, wherein said covering further serves as a means for operatively attaching said padded planar surface to said ring-like border (e.g., the covering includes a fastener such as snaps, zipper, etc. that connect the planar surface to the ring-like border).

4. The seat/holder of claim 2, wherein the covering material is selected from the group consisting of: Man-made and synthetic materials including vinyl, polycord, polyamide, recycled fibers (fleece, etc.), polyester, Nylon, knit and woven materials, acetates, Lycra, Spandex; Naturally occurring materials including cotton, wool, hemp, silk, and alternatives and combinations thereof.

5. The seat/holder of claim 1, wherein at least one of said padded planar surface and said ring-like border include padding in the form of a foam filling, either solid such as viscous or viscoelastic or a liquid foam.

6. The seat/holder of claim 1, wherein at least one of said padded planar surface and said ring-like border include padding in the form of a closed-cell foam.

7. The seat/holder of claim 1, wherein at least one of said padded planar surface and said ring-like border include padding in the form of a memory foam, such as viscous or viscoselastic.

8. The seat/holder of claim 1, further comprising a harness associated therewith or one or more carrying straps, including when it size is modified larger than about 28 inches in diameter (or largest dimension) to permit the seat/holder to be carried.

9. The seat/holder of claim 8, wherein the strap is suitable for attaching the seat to a user's shoulder for transport.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application 60/822,818 filed Aug. 18, 2006. The entire content of this patent application is hereby incorporated by reference into this specification.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present application is directed to an improved child seat/holder, and more particularly to a portable, ring-shaped device suitable for use with children and others that may have difficulty with mobility, support, etc.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Children and others that exhibit disabilities frequently remain in homes or other personalized care situations where it is necessary for a parent or aide to provide a safe and secure location for the child to rest or relax. In such situations, there is a need for a “child seat/holder” or other portable device that provides not only a padded surface on which to rest, but also provides a padded border that encloses the child and his/her toys and the like. The present invention is directed to such a device and further includes features that enable one to easily use, store and transport the device.

Disclosed in embodiments herein is a seat/holder, comprising: a padded planar surface having a generally circular shape; and a ring-like border, operatively attached to the planar surface, said ring-like border extending upward from the planar surface around the periphery thereof, wherein a human may lie or sit in contact with the planar surface, while the head and/or one or more appendages may also rest on or over a portion of the border and provide support therefor, also for activities such as but not limited to exercising, sleeping, and playing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A and 1B are illustrations of embodiments of the child seat/holder in use;

FIGS. 2A-2E represent various orthographic views of an embodiment of the seat/holder in accordance with the present invention; and

FIGS. 3A-3B are alternative illustrations of a cross-section of the seat/holder in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 4 is an illustration of one type of harness that can be attached to the seat/holder or its storage or carry bag or duffle for transport, and also be adjusted to accommodate the transporter's height and width.

The various embodiments described herein are not intended to limit the invention to those embodiments described. On the contrary, the intent is to cover all alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As more particularly set forth below, the disclosed system provides a surface upon which a user (human) can rest all or a portion of his/her body. As previously noted, the seat/holder is particularly adapted to use with infants and children, including infants and children with disabilities. The seat/holder 20, as depicted generally in FIGS. 1A and 1B, is designed to safely support a child 26 on a generally horizontal surface. The seat/holder preferably includes padding beneath and around the edges thereof so as to provide a supportive and safe “environment” where the child 26 may relax, rest, sleep, sit, exercise or play comfortably.

Referring next to the various orthographic drawings of FIGS. 2A-2E, in one embodiment the seat/holder includes a mattress or similar padded planar surface 30 having a generally circular shape. The mattress is operatively attached or is constrained within a ring-like border 34, the ring-like border extending upward from the planar surface around the periphery thereof, wherein a human child may lie or sit in contact with the mattress, while the head and/or one or more appendages may also rest on or over a portion of the border and provide support therefor. As indicated in the figures, the diameter of the circular mattress is approximately 24 inches, while the border has a width, and height, of approximately 4 inches. It will, however, be appreciated that the respective dimensions may be modified based upon the needs and abilities of the user, as well as the users size, weight or physical proportions.

In one embodiment, the child seat/holder 20 may be formed of a foam material, or may include chambers or sections. In an alternative embodiment, one or more sections may be adjusted for firmness by altering the fill material, or possibly by making the chamber or a section of the chamber suitable for filling with air to adjust the thickness and/or the amount of support. The invention also contemplates the use of set components, such as anti-bacterial material. In such embodiments, the seat/holder could include a continuous outer layer of vinyl, naugahyde (synthetic, leather-like material) or similar impermeable, yet flexible coating to facilitate the easy cleaning and disinfecting of the seat/holder components. It is also contemplated that the seat/holder 20 may include a cover material covering substantially all of said padded planar surface (mattress) and the ring-like border. The cover can be made, for example, of either vinyl or cloth and/or disposable material as well, for sanitary and/or hygienic purposes, and convenience (e.g., if changing versus washing covers). The cover may also, in one embodiment provide for or serve as a storage container for the seat/holder.

Although generally depicted as a single-piece unit, seat/holder 20 may also have two separable components (mattress 30 and boundary 34, which are held in place relative to one another by the covering, which further serves as a means for operatively attaching the mattress to the ring-like border by attached Velcro™ or other hook-loop or similar fastener, on bottom of mattress 30 or on top planar surface 31. While there are various materials that may prove suitable for use as the covering material, the materials currently contemplated include man-made and synthetic materials such as vinyl, polycord, polyamide, woven or knit fabric, nylon, Lycra™ or similar spandex, acetate or combinations thereof, recycled fibers (fleece, etc.), as well as naturally occurring materials such as cotton, wool, hemp, silk, or combinations thereof. In yet another alternative embodiment, the seat/holder components may be separately constructed, with permanent or removable coverings, and then separately attached to one another via means such as buttons, snaps, zippers, hook and loop fasteners such as Velcro™ or other fastening means. Moreover, the ability to dis-assemble the components may enable storage and transport of the seat/holder to further improve the usefulness of the apparatus.

Referring next to FIGS. 3A and 3B, the figures illustrate a cross-section of two alternative designs of the seat/holder 20. It will be appreciated that while certain shapes and relative proportions are illustrated, the seat/holder may be formed using any number of shapes, including shapes that may vary about the periphery of the seat/holder. In other words, the shape and size of the border may vary along the periphery so as to provide different types of angles or surfaces that may be used to support the infant's and child's arms, legs, head, etc. A variable size/shape border may also facilitate the use of the seat/holder by infants and children of varying sizes and physical requirements, and to accommodate the different size surfaces where the seat/holder can be placed, including tables (round, oval, rectangular, square). pediatric tables, nurse's station; other areas/spaces such as a floor, beds (twin, queen, full), vehicle spaces such as the rear deck of a minivan or automobile, etc.

In FIGS. 3A and 3B, at least one of the padded planar (mattress) surfaces 30 and/or ring-like border 34 include padding 50 in the form of an air-filled compartment. Alternatively, the padding may be in the form of a closed-cell foam, including a memory foam such as viscous or viscoelastic which provides full-body and spinal support of the infant or child. A liquid foam can also be inserted in the outer border that hardens to a foam (closed-cell, open-cell, etc.) that also supports as well, as an alternative for cost effectiveness. The rigidity or flexibility can be controlled as a function of the type of raw material or composite used for the foam.

In yet a further alternative embodiment, as depicted in FIG. 2C, the seat 20 may include at least one looped strap(s) or tether(s) 60 associated therewith to permit the seat to be carried or suspended from a hook or hanger during storage, or two straps may be added to a larger seat/holder (e.g., larger than 28 inch diameter) for easier transport. The strap or harness may be attached, for example, to base 34 as shown, where a harness is depicted in FIG. 2C as attached to the seat/holder bottom for transport, and adjustable for transporter's shoulder size and width, or as size is modified. It is also contemplated that the straps may be connected at other locations or in different ways, possibly even to a storage or carry bag or duffle in which the child seat/holder may be stored. Materials that can be used for such a harness, include high density or ballistic nylon or microfiber, as well as the various materials described herein or as otherwise known for use in harnesses and other carrying and transport bags and the like. Tabs can be attached to the mattress for easy removal of mattress from the ring.

It will be appreciated that various of the above-disclosed embodiments and other features and functions, or alternatives thereof, may be desirably combined into many other different systems or applications. Also, various presently unforeseen or unanticipated alternatives, modifications, variations or improvements therein may be subsequently made by those skilled in the art which are also intended to be encompassed by the following claims.