Title:
Baby bottle holder and tether system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This apparatus provides a means by and through which a children's bottle or sip cup can be secured to structural components, such as car seat headrest, utilizing a bottle holder, a tether, and a clip. The bottle holder is comprised of a flexible, insulating material that securely fits around said bottle in such a manner that it cannot be easily extracted by a child. Furthermore, the bottle holder helps maintain desired temperature of the liquid within the bottle through the utilization of insulating materials. The tether can be adjusted to variable desired lengths. The tether has attached to it, a clip with easily and quickly secures to many different structural components. The clip can be easily removed as well. The invention allows a child to drop or throw a bottle or cup without misplacing the bottle or cup. The caretaker or child simply grabs the tether which has the bottle or cup securely attached.



Inventors:
Funderburg, Deanna (Jackson, MS, US)
Application Number:
11/652699
Publication Date:
07/17/2008
Filing Date:
01/12/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/62
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DUCKWORTH, BRADLEY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mr. Timothy D. Smith (Jackson, MI, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A baby bottle or sip cup holder and tether apparatus comprising: a flexible thermal insulating bottle holder contoured to surround and conform to the shape of the average baby bottle, sip cup or other appropriate beverage container; a tether attached at one end to the bottle holder by a proper securing means; and a clip or fastener attached to the opposite end of the tether from the bottle holder facilitating the attachment of the apparatus to a structural component.

2. The apparatus as in claim 1, wherein: the flexible thermal insulating material comprises neoprene.

3. The apparatus as in claim 1, wherein: the flexible thermal insulating material comprises foam.

4. The apparatus as in claim 1, wherein: the baby bottle or sip cup holder has an opening or seam running vertically on the side of the holder from the top of the holder to a point on the side of the holder necessary to facilitate improved access of beverage containers.

5. The apparatus as in claim 4, wherein: the bottle or cup holder has a zipper attached vertically on one side facilitating a closing means for the vertical opening or seam on the side of the holder.

6. The apparatus as in claim 4, wherein: the bottle or cup holder has a velcro component attached vertically on one side facilitating a closing means for the vertical opening or seam on the side of the holder.

7. The apparatus as in claim 4, wherein: the bottle or cup holder primarily closed and secured by a zipper and secondarily closed by a velcro cover component or flap facilitating a closing means for the vertical opening or seam on the side of the holder.

8. The apparatus as in claim 4, wherein: the bottle or cup holder has snaps attached vertically on one side facilitating closure of the vertical opening or seam on the side of the holder.

9. The apparatus as in claim 1, wherein: the tether having a generally elongated body comprised of a fabric material durably sewn at one end to the bottle holder

10. The apparatus as in claim 1, wherein: the tether is of an adjustable length.

11. The apparatus as in claim 1, wherein: the tether forms a loop around the clip or fastener at one end an is sewn securely around the clip or fastener.

12. The apparatus as in claim 1, wherein: the tether is attached to a D-loop or like means which is durably attached to the holder by a proper securing means allowing for pivotal movement about an access of rotation between the D-loop and the holder.

13. The apparatus as in claim 1, wherein: the clip or fastener is comprises a carabiner clip of sufficient diameter to attach to various structural components.

14. A method of utilizing the baby bottle or sip cup holder and tether apparatus, comprising the steps of: placing a baby bottle, sip cup or other appropriate beverage container within the bottle holder and securing the proper closer means if an embodiment having the vertical opening or seam is utilized; securing the clip or fastener to an appropriate structure such as a headrest post; adjusting the length of the tether to an appropriate length such that the person partaking of the beverage and that person's caretaker, if appropriate, can easily access the invention and the beverage container within the invention.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

U.S. Patent Documents
5,147,384September, 1992LaRocca606/234
5,613,657March, 1997Olaiz248/102
5,727,842March, 1998O'Neil297/188.06
5,927,661July, 1999Tinsley, et al.248/102
6,138,882October, 2001Buettner224/250
6,250,592June, 2001Davis248/102
6,606,768August, 2003Henry et al. 24/306
6,811,065November, 2004Brady224/311

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO A “SEQUENTIAL LISTING,” A TABLE, OR COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING APPENDIX SUBMITTED ON A COMPACT DISC

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

(1) Technical Field of Invention

The technical field of this invention relates to the means by which bottles, particularly those used by babies, infants or children, can be secured to structural components in such a fashion as to not allow the bottles to get away from either the caretaker of the child or the child itself. More particularly, this invention facilitates the secure attachment of the bottle to objects such as the headrest of a vehicle in a quick and easy fashion by use of a tether. Furthermore, the bottle holder itself is manufactured from insulating type materials that aid in temperature preservation of the contents of the bottle or cup.

(2) Description of Prior Art

There are many products currently on the market or items that have received patent protection that pertain in an ancillary fashion to baby bottles and sip cups. Several of these inventions have attempted to secure the bottle to either the child, a child seat or another inanimate object by use of a harness or tether. While some of the prior art has been successful in accomplishing their stated goals, unfortunately many of these inventions lack utility beyond a limited range of field. They may perform one function relatively well while neglecting other functions altogether. The stated functions they claim to perform can be accomplished in a more novel and functional manner. This invention addresses some of the shortcomings of prior inventions while addressing currently unmet needs by any other invention.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is an apparatus that acts to secure a baby bottle or cup to structural components through the use of a tether, a bottle holder, and a clip or fastener. The invention also utilizes a flexible insulating material in forming the holder of the bottle or cup. This material fits securely around the bottle or cup in such a manner as to where bottle or cup cannot be removed without sufficient force. The insulating material acts to maintain the temperature of the liquid in the container, be it hot or cold. A tether is securely attached to the drink holder. On the opposite end of the tether, a clip or fastener is attached. This clip or fastener provides a quick and sturdy means by which the invention can be attached to various structural components.

The three central components of the invention are the flexible insulating bottle holder, the attached tether, and the accompanying clip or fastener. One of the central uses of the apparatus is within an automobile, although this is certainly not the only use. Frequently when a child is in his or her child seat, which is placed on the backseat of a vehicle, the child will drink a beverage from a bottle or children's sip cup. All too often, the child will drop or throw the bottle and neither the caretaker/driver of the vehicle nor the child has any ability to pick the bottle back up. Many times, the bottle hits the floor and rolls around making it difficult to even locate the bottle. This invention alleviates this problem as well as several other potential problems.

The child's bottle or cup is placed within the bottle holder, which has attached to it a tether and a clip or fastener. The preferred clip or fastener is a spring clip or carabiner clip. This clip is then attached to one of several available places within the vehicle. It can be attached to one of the posts of the headrest of either the driver or the front seat passenger. It can be clipped to the interior convenience handle above one the rear seat doors.

When the bottle is placed within the holder and the clip is securely in place within the vehicle or on another structural component, the child may drop the bottle freely without fear or frustration. The bottle will always be no further distance away than the end of the tether. The child's caretaker can simply grab the tether, retrieve the bottle and give it back to the child if they desire.

The essential components of this invention serve several different functions and can be manufactured in varying specifications to meet the specific needs of the user or producer and still achieve the same desired result. First, the flexible, insulating bottle or cup holder can be manufactured from several different materials. One embodiment of the holder is a form fitting model in which the bottle or cup slides securely within. This embodiment has vertical sides forming a cylinder with a bottom. It will be manufactured to meet the average size dimensions of bottles or cups used by children. The preferred material is neoprene or some type of foam. This is preferred because of the flexible and insulating characteristics of these materials. However, the holder can certainly be manufactured of other like materials.

Another embodiment of the holder utilizes the same materials and cylindrical shape, but also adds a zipper or velcro seam for ease of introduction of the bottle within the holder. This seam, whether it is connected with a zipper, velcro, or buttons, will run vertically up the edge of the wall of the holder. The user will simply open this seam and place the bottle or cup inside the holder and fasten the seam by the available means utilized, be it a zipper, velcro or otherwise.

The tether is attached to the holder through a secure means. If the holder utilizes a seam and fastener approach as described above, the tether will be attached to the holder on the opposite vertical wall. The tether can be attached to the holder through one of many available means. One such embodiment is to sew the tether to the holder. Another embodiment is to secure a D-Shaped loop to the holder and hook the tether to this loop by running one end of the tether through the loop and sewing the tether to itself, thus wrapping the tether around the D-Shaped loop.

The tether is manufactured from an elongated fabric. The fabric utilized for the tether can be elastic or inelastic. One potential and preferred embodiment of the tether is adjustable length. This is accomplished with the addition of a slip or adjustment buckle at some point within the length of the tether. Different lengths may be required for different uses or different situations. This allows the user to customize the length of the tether to fit the need of said user.

On the opposite end of the tether from the holder is the clip and fastening device. Once again, the invention is not limited to any particular clip or securing device, although a preferred embodiment is available. The preferred embodiment utilizes a carabiner clip, also known as a spring clip, to attach the invention to various structures. The carabiner clip provides a fast, easy and sturdy method for securing the invention to structures. The carabiner clip also allows the user to easily remove the invention from the structure when necessary.

The tether is attached to the carabiner clip, or other securing means in a similar fashion to its attachment through the D-Loop as described above. The tether is looped through the clip and folded back on itself. It is then either sewn in place or secured in place by any other proper means. The fabric from which the tether is derived must be of sufficient strength to support force applied to it without the sewn portions ripping through or away.

This invention is useful because it allows the caretaker or a child peace of mind with reference to bottles or cups that are frequently dropped or thrown by children. The caretaker of the child will always know where the bottle or cup is even if said bottle is temporarily out of sight. The invention in no way interferes with the child's use of the bottle or cup. Furthermore, the insulating material utilized in the holder helps maintain the desired temperature of the beverage within. The invention secures quickly to many structures such as the posts of a car seat headrest. It is removed just as quickly. When a bottle or cup is dropped, the user simply grabs the tether to grab the bottle which is attached. The tether can be manufactured to be of adjustable length to meet the particular needs of the user within the space inhabited or utilized, whether in a motor vehicle or otherwise.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1. illustrates the invention, and its many facets, including the flexible insulating holder, the tether, and the clip attached to the headrest of a vehicle.

FIG. 2. illustrates the holder without a seam.

FIG. 3. illustrates the holder while utilizing a zipper or Velcro opening on one vertical edge.

FIG. 4. Illustrates the attachment of the tether to the holder utilizing a D-Loop.

FIG. 5. Illustrates the attachment of the tether to the clip.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIG. 1 through 5, the present invention is an apparatus that functions to secure a baby bottle or cup (28) to structural components through the use of a tether (21), a bottle holder (20), and a clip or fastener (22). The invention serves several purposes, including but not limited to, the ability to secure a baby bottle or cup (28) to structural components so that said bottles or cups (28) maybe located quickly and efficiently. As a secondary function, the insulating material from which the holder (20) is comprised serves to maintain the temperature of the substance contained inside the bottle (28). Furthermore, the invention in no may hinders the use of the bottle (28) by the child.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, a child's bottle or cup (28) is placed securely within the bottle holder (20). The preferred embodiment of the holder (20) is comprised of a flexible, insulating material. The flexible, insulating bottle or cup holder (20) can be manufactured from several different materials. One embodiment of the holder (20) is a form fitting model in which the bottle or cup slides securely within. This embodiment has vertical sides forming a cylinder with a bottom. It will be manufactured to meet the average size dimensions of bottles or cups used by children. The preferred material is neoprene or some type of foam. This is preferred because of the flexible and insulating characteristics of these materials. However, the holder (20) can certainly be manufactured of other like materials. Another embodiment of the holder (20) utilizes the same materials and cylindrical shape, but also adds a vertical opening or seam (24) secured and closed by a zipper or velcro or a combination of the two for ease of introduction of the bottle (28) within the holder (20). This seam (24), whether it is connected with a zipper, velcro, or buttons, will run vertically up the edge of the wall of the holder (20). The user will simply open this seam (24) and place the bottle or cup (28) inside the holder (20) and fasten the seam (24) by the available means utilized, be it a zipper, velcro or otherwise. This feature provides for the accommodation of bottles or cups (28) of uncommon size or shape as is the case with many of the typical child bottles or cups (28) on the market today. The holder (20) can be custom manufactured to the various specifications of bottles or cups (28) utilizing either the form fitting model or the seam version.

Referring to FIG. 1 through 4, the holder (20) is attached by a D-shaped loop (26) via an attachment means (29) to a tether (21). The tether (21) can also actually be sewn (25) to the holder directly (20) if desired instead of utilizing the D-shaped loop (26). If the D-shaped loop (26) and attachment means (29) is utilized, the loop (26) will be sewn (25) with appropriate strength material to the holder in such a fashion as to allow for pivotal movement above an axis of rotation, allowing the loop to move freely side to side. The D-shaped loop (26) shall be manufactured out of plastic, aluminum, metal or another appropriate substance. If the holder (20) is manufactured with a seam (24), the D-shaped loop is preferably attached to the opposite side of the holder (20) from the seam (24). The attachment means (29) of the tether (21) essentially provides for the tether (21) to be wrapped around the D-shaped loop (26) and sewn (25) to itself in an appropriate manner with sufficient strength. The tether (21) is comprised of an elongated fabric or like substance and can be either elastic of inelastic. The length of the tether (21) should be sufficient to reach from the head rest or other structural component within a vehicle to the placement area of a child's seat within a vehicle. The tether can be designed to utilize a slip or adjustment buckle (27) to facilitate adjustment of length. This buckle (27) should be placed on the tether (21) in a location that allows for adjustment without interference with other functions of the invention.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 5, the tether (21) shall be connected on its opposite end via another like attachment means (29) to a clip or fastener (22). The preferred embodiment is a carabiner clip (22), although other clips or fasteners can also be utilized effectively. This clip (22) can me manufactured from various materials such as aluminum, metal or plastic. The preferred embodiment is manufacture of the clip (22) from a strong substance or material such as aluminum. Aluminum is light-weight yet strong and able to handle strain when placed around other metal objects such as headrest posts. The clip (22) allows for quick attachment and removal, yet is secure when in place. The clip (22) will preferably be of sufficient diameter to accommodate connection to various headrest posts and other handles and objects such as various structural components of baby cribs or beds. As with the connection to the D-shaped loop (26), the tether (21) can be wrapped around the clip (22) and sewn (25) upon itself for a sturdy attachment means (29). Once again, the materials utilized, including the material of the tether (21) itself, should be of sufficient strength to withstand appropriate force without structural failure.

Referring to FIG. 1 through 5, the invention improves upon any current apparatus on the market in facilitating location of cups or bottles (28) by the parent or caretaker of a child, whether the child is in a vehicle or in a baby bed or somewhere else. The invention takes up minimal space when in use or not in use.

DRAWINGS

The drawings referenced in this application are attached hereto.





 
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