Title:
Kick-off Proof All Weather Stroller Blanket
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A blanket particularly well suited for use with children seated in strollers, a blanket including a upper, middle, and lower section, the upper section has straps that attaches to the stroller frame so it doesn't slide off, the middle section is narrow relative to other sections to fit over the knee area and seat edge, and the lower section has an adjustable foot pocket to keep legs and feet covered.



Inventors:
Okell, Cameron F. (Seattle, WA, US)
Application Number:
12/044991
Publication Date:
09/18/2008
Filing Date:
03/09/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/482
International Classes:
A47G9/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TRETTEL, MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Cameron Okell (Seattle, WA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A blanket for use with a seat comprising: a) An upper section containing a means for attaching to said seat supporting structure. b) A middle section for a contoured fit over a seated person without excess folds or substantial fabric bunching around the area of the said seated person's knees. c) a lower section containing a means for securing the blanket around the said seated person's feet to keep said person's feet and lower legs covered.

2. The blanket of claim 1, wherein the upper, middle and lower sections comprise a sheet of fabric material.

3. The blanket of claim 1, wherein the upper, middle and lower sections comprise a plurality of sheets of fabric material.

4. The blanket of claim 1, wherein the means for attaching to said seat structure comprises of a strap material a) attaches to the said blanket front face upper section, b) extends outwards from left and right sides c) loops around said seat's supporting structure d) connects to form a secure loop around the said seat's supporting structure.

5. The blanket of claim 1, wherein the means for attaching to said stroller structure comprises of a cord material a) attaches to the said blanket front face upper section b) extends outwards from left and right sides c) loops around said seat's supporting structure d) connects to form a secure loop around the said seat's supporting structure.

6. The blanket of claim 1 wherein the middle section is shaped narrower than the overall blanket width reducing fabric surface area in the approximate area of the said seated person's knees.

7. The blanket in claim 1 wherein the lower section means for securing the blanket around a pair of feet comprising a) an additional layer of fabric attached to the back side, lower section, forming a pocket with a single opening to receive feet. b) The blanket contains a means for adjusting the said pocket opening size.

8. The blanket in claim 7 wherein the said means for adjusting the said pocket opening size comprises of cord material fed through sleeves contained in the pocket rim and the blanket front side lower face, and plurality of openings where cord material feeds through from front to back sides.

9. The blanket in claim 7 wherein the said means for adjusting the said pocket opening size comprises of strap material fed through sleeves contained in the pocket rim and the blanket front side lower face, and plurality of openings where strap material feeds through from front to back sides.

10. A blanket adapted for a child's seat comprising: a) An upper section containing a means for attaching to said seat supporting structure. b) A middle section for a contoured fit over a seated child without excess folds or substantial fabric bunching around the area of the said seated child's knees. c) a lower section containing a means for securing the blanket around the said seated child's feet to keep said child's feet and lower legs covered.

11. The blanket of claim 10, wherein the upper, middle and lower sections comprise a sheet of fabric material.

12. The blanket of claim 10, wherein the upper, middle and lower sections comprise a plurality of sheets of fabric material.

13. The blanket of claim 10, wherein the means for attaching to said seat structure comprises of a strap material a) attaches to the said blanket front face upper section. b) extends outwards from left and right sides. c) loops around said seat's supporting structure. d) connects to form a secure loop around the said seat's supporting structure.

14. The blanket of claim 10, wherein the means for attaching to said stroller structure comprises of a cord material a) attaches to the said blanket front face upper section b) extends outwards from left and right sides c) loops around said seat's supporting structure d) connects to form a secure loop around the said seat's supporting structure.

15. The blanket of claim 10 wherein the middle section is shaped narrower than the overall blanket width reducing fabric surface area in the approximate area of the said seated child's knees.

16. The blanket in claim 10 wherein the lower section means for securing the blanket around a pair of feet comprising a) an additional layer of fabric attached to the back side, lower section, forming a pocket with a single opening to receive feet. b) The blanket contains a means for adjusting the said pocket opening size.

17. The blanket in claim 16 wherein the means for adjusting the said pocket opening size comprises of cord material fed through sleeves contained in the pocket rim and the blanket front side lower face, and plurality of openings where cord material feeds through from front to back sides.

18. The blanket in claim 16 wherein the means for adjusting the said pocket opening size comprises of strap material fed through sleeves contained in the pocket rim and the blanket front side lower face, and plurality of openings where strap material feeds through from front to back sides.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application 60/918,187 filed Mar. 15, 2007 by the present inventor.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH

Not Applicable

SEQUENCE LISTING OR PROGRAM

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to a blanket, and more particularly to a stroller blanket designed to cover a child seated in a stroller without being kicked off or sliding off. This blanket is weatherproof and insulated for outdoor use.

2. Prior Art

Parents and caregivers use strollers when taking small children outside for walks. For parents and children it is important to get outside regardless of the weather. A child sitting in a stroller needs to stay warm and dry. Blankets provide an extra layer of insulation to cover and keep children warm. An effective blanket must stay on and cover a seated child's feet up to their torso. When a child wiggles or moves a lot, blankets can fall off. Parents are often required to stop to adjust or pick up fallen blankets. Therefore a challenge existed for a blanket that doesn't fall or slide off, and keeps a seated child covered. For outdoor use the blanket should also be weatherproof and insulated.

There are lots of baby blankets available made of different knits and fabrics. Baby blankets are intended for swaddling babies to keep them warm while indoors. The same baby blankets are often used for covering babies and toddlers while outside in strollers. This poses several challenges as baby blankets are not intended for outside use. A baby blanket doesn't provide adequate weather protection. Nor is it fitted to cover a child sitting upright in a moving stroller. When a seated child is covered with a typical baby blanket they will often wiggle it free. It then needs to be reapplied or adjusted so that it again adequately covers the child.

An alternative to a baby blanket is a bunting bag style blanket. It covers the front and back of children from the feet to the torso resembling a miniature sleeping bag. U.S. Pat. No. 6,012,189 The Multi-Purpose Bunting Bag issued Jan. 11, 2000 to Dudley et al is an example of such. This is a two piece front and back device. The back piece is placed in the stroller seat with stroller restraining straps fed through slits. After the child is seated, the front piece covers the child. Then the two pieces are zipped together. The result is the child being completely wrapped from feet to torso. Such devices are useful for keeping warm however they are restricting. The child may not be able to move their feet. While suitable for infants; when children reach toddler age, they grow less tolerant of confinements over their entire body. The age range to use a bag style blanket is normally up to one year. Another problem with the bag style blanket is the parent must apply the back piece before the child sits in the stroller. If the child is already seated in the stroller the back piece cannot be applied. Applying the back piece requires that the child be taken out of the stroller. Getting an active child seated and secured in the stroller can require great effort from the parent. Struggles to get the child into the stroller can distract the parent. Unless the parent thinks ahead, they may realize a blanket is needed only after they are outside with the child in stroller. Considering the effort already put forth, the parent may opt to go without the blanket rather than repeat the struggle.

Other devices have been developed to accomplish one or more of these problems. For example U.S. Pat. No. 3,962,738, issued Jun. 15, 1976 to Mendito, U.S. Pat. No. 5,243,724, issued Sep. 14, 1993 to Barnes, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,058,226 issued Oct. 22, 1991 to Crosby. These have pockets for receiving legs as well and sections that fit under or around a seated child. They also require openings for passing through stroller restraining straps. A concern among all these devices is the seated child will likely sit on part of the blanket. Under load of the child's weight the fabric can bind or clump creating an uncomfortable sitting surface. The child may express discomfort. Removing binds or clumps will involve removing or repositioning the blanket and child. Again this can require great effort on behalf of the child and parent. Additional disadvantage of such devices is feeding through built-in restraining straps. This task can be difficult to impossible while the child is seated. If the child is uncooperative, this task will again require great effort on behalf of the parent.

Therefore it is the object of this invention to provide a blanket designed specifically for stroller use that provides warmth, weather protection, and is simple in its application. It is a further object of the invention to provide a blanket that connects to the stroller so that movements of the child or forces of the weather will not cause the blanket to blow off or slide off. It is a further object of the invention to provide a blanket that keeps children's feet covered without their legs being fully confined.

Further objects will become apparent from the drawings, description, and claims that follow.

SUMMARY

Disadvantages of previously designed devices have been reduced or eliminated with the various embodiments of the present invention. This invention relates to a blanket having a distinct shape; front and back facing sides; with upper, middle, and lower sections; and inner and outer facing fabric layers.

The front face of the blanket is entirely outer layer fabric. Outer layer fabric is comprised of weather resistant material that provides a barrier from outdoor elements such as rain, wind or sun. At present I contemplate the use of coated nylon fabric for the outer layer but other materials are suitable.

The back side of the blanket is a combination of inner and outer layer fabric. The back side of the blanket body is a continuous piece of inner layer fabric. The foot pocket piece is comprised of outer layer fabric. Inner layer fabric is soft insulating fabric for providing warmth and comfort. At present 1 contemplate the use of fleece fabric for the inner layer but other materials are suitable.

The blanket's shape allows it to contour with a seated child and provide a snug tuck around their upper and lower body. The upper section is wide, providing sufficient surface area for a snug tuck into the sides between the child and the stroller structure. The upper section can cover the child to shoulder level. How the upper section is applied will depend on weather and the child's preference. It can also fold forward. A strap runs across the upper section. The strap is attached by a sleeve. Each end of the strap has clips for connecting the blanket to the stroller.

The middle section covers the general area of the child's knees. It is narrow in width relative to the upper and lower section widths. This reduces bulky fabric folds around the child's knees. The narrow middle section separates the blanket edges between the upper and lower sections. This allows upper or lower sections to tuck snug without tension in the fabric between these sections.

The lower section includes a foot pocket for receiving the child's feet and lower legs. The pocket ensures the feet and lower legs stay covered while still offering freedom to move. A drawstring cord helps keep feet in the foot pocket. The cord passes from the blanket front to back through cord sleeves and grommet holes. The cord forms a loop around the lower legs. Adjusting the drawstring secures the blanket front and rim of the foot pocket around the child's lower legs. This creates resistance against the foot pocket sliding off. The lower section width provides sufficient surface area to tuck snug around the child's lower legs.

The blanket is to be used in conjunction with restraining straps included on strollers, bike trailers, or car seats. Because the blanket fits over an already seated child, it will not interfere with other restraining straps. Restraining straps can be applied before the blanket is applied. The blanket may be manufactured in various sizes to accommodate children of different size, dimensions, and age. Alternatively the blanket may be sized to accommodate adults of different size, dimensions, and age; for use in chairs or wheelchairs. The blanket may be manufactured using any variety of materials and colors.

From the figures, the descriptions, and claims; the present invention's technical advantages are apparent.

DRAWINGS—FIGURES

Embodiments of the present invention may be understood further by referring to the following descriptions and accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 shows a front side view of the blanket fully open.

FIG. 2 shows a back side view of the blanket fully open, including the opening for the foot pocket.

FIG. 3 shows a view of the foot pocket piece.

FIG. 4 shows a front view of the blanket with representation of how the blanket is applied to a seated child.

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of the blanket applied to a seated child in a jogging stroller.

DRAWINGS—REFERENCE NUMERALS

 1. Upper Section 2. Middle Section
 3. Lower Section 4. Upper Section Side
 5. Middle Section Side 6. Lower Section Side
 7. Strap 8. Clip Hardware
 9. Strap Sleeve10. Cord Sleeve
11. Grommet Hole (Blanket Body)12. Draw Cord
13. Cord Lock Hardware14. Stitching (Vertical)
15. Rounded Corner16. Sleeve Stitching
17. Stitching (Edge)18. Foot Pocket Piece
19. Stitching (Foot Pocket)20. Foot Pocket Opening
21. Inner Facing Fabric22. Foot Pocket Cord Sleeve
23. Grommet Hole (Foot Pocket)24. Side Tuck Contour Lines
25. Knee Bend Contour Lines

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments of the present invention are understood best while referring to FIGS. 1 though 5 of the accompanying drawings. Like numerals are used to show corresponding parts between the following descriptions and the drawing.

FIG. 1 shows the front side view of a blanket in an open position. Combined upper 1, middle 2, and lower 6 sections are wide and long enough to cover a seated child from the feet level up to shoulder level. General shape of the blanket is rectangular in a continuous piece of outer layer fabric with rounded corners 15. Rounded corners 15 reduce risk of sharp corners poking the child or snagging on passing objects. The blanket width is sufficient to cover the child with have ample surface area to tuck around the child. The strap sleeve 9 is positioned horizontally across the upper section. The strap 7 has sufficient length to loop around the stroller structure to attach clip hardware 8 as shown in FIG. 5. The strap 7 runs through the strap sleeve 9 and allows for limited range of movement for the blanket sliding along the strap 7. This is less constricting for the child. The strap 7 ends are threaded through the clip hardware 8, keeping the clip on the strap. Placement of the clip hardware 8 adjusts by sliding along the strap 7. The ability to slide the clip hardware 8 along the strap 7 makes the blanket compatible with different stroller types and sizes. For double strollers where children sit side-by-side, moving the clip hardware 8 along the strap 7 makes it easy to attach blankets together. The strap sleeve 9 also serves as a fold line for folding the upper blanket section 1 forward. Folding the upper section 1 forward over the strap sleeve 9 provides the child with a soft surface for resting their arms. In inclement weather the upper section 1 can cover the seated child to the shoulder level as shown in FIG. 5. Inner and outer fabric layers are sewn together with stitching along the edge 17. Vertical stitching 14 mates the inner and outer fabric layers together.

The middle section 2 narrows relative to the upper 1 and lower 3 sections in the proximity of the knee bend FIG. 4 23. The reduced blanket surface area prevents a bulky fold of excess fabric. The narrow middle section edge 5 also separates any opposing tension that could occur along a uniform edge. The lower section 3 width is the same as the upper section 1 width for sufficient surface area to tuck the blanket sides 4, 5, 6. Parts of the foot pocket feature including the cord sleeve 10, grommet holes 11, and draw cord 12 are on the front side lower section 3. Pulling the draw cord 12 reduces slack and draws in the blanket along the cord sleeves 10, 21 reducing the foot pocket opening FIG. 2 20. Cord lock hardware 13 near the draw cord 12 ends prevents slippage in the draw cord 12, and maintains the adjusted size of the foot pocket opening 20.

The back side of the blanket is shown in FIG. 2. The upper 1, middle 2, and lower 3 sections consist of a continuous piece of inner layer fabric 21. Corners are rounded 15 and the middle section 2 is narrow relative to other sections for the reasons mentioned above. The back side, lower section 3 foot pocket piece 18 is made from the same outer layer fabric as the front side. FIG. 3 shows the inside view of the foot pocket piece 18. The top is folded over and stitched 19 closed making a cord sleeve 22. The draw cord 12 feeds into the cord sleeve 22 through grommet holes 23. The foot pocket piece 18 is the same shape and width as where it mates with the main blanket body.

FIG. 4 shows how the draw cord 12 feeds through the cord sleeves 10, 22 and grommet holes 11, 23 to circle the seated child's legs. The foot pocket opening 20 sits near the lower part of the middle section where it is narrower than the overall blanket width. The reduced opening reduces water leaking into the foot pocket 20 during inclement weather. The draw cord 12 and grommet holes 11, 23 are placed in from the blanket outer edges. Pulling the draw cord 12 will draw in the blanket along the cord sleeves 10, 22 while leaving outer edge areas free to tuck. Grommet placement in the blanket main body 11 and foot pocket 23 are vertically offset with the foot pocket grommet holes 23 higher. The grommet hole 11, 23 offset accounts for the seated child's lower leg angle and resulting position of the lower blanket section 3. Diagonal lines 24, 25 in FIG. 3 represent where the blanket would tuck along the sides 24 and fold over the knees 25 of the child.

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of a seated child in a stroller with the blanket applied. The vertical stitch lines 14 emphasize the blanket contouring with the seated child. Straps 7 loop around the stroller structure to keep the blanket on. The lower section 3 sides 6 tuck around the lower legs for a snug fit. Middle section 2 edges 5 tuck in neatly without bulk fabric gathering at the knee bend or seat edge. Upper section 1 sides 4 similarly tuck in between seated child's upper legs, hips, torso and the stroller structure. How sides are tucked will vary; depending on weather and personal preference. The blanket will still function if leaving the sides out and not tucked.

Although the blanket of present invention has been described and illustrated with reference to use for seated children in strollers, it is of course understood that the blanket may be easily configured for various other persons and seats. For example the blanket may be sized for adults. The upper 1, middle 2, and lower 3 sections may be shaped and configured for different types of seats including wheelchairs or armchairs. It is to be understood that the described embodiments of the invention are illustrative only and that modifications there may occur to those skilled in the art. Accordingly this invention is to be regarded as limited to the embodiments disclosed, but is to be limited only as defined by the appended claims herein.