Title:
CHILD SAFETY RESTRAINT BELT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Apparatus for securing a child safely in a cart seat. A seat belt has a connected attachment belt which is used to attach the apparatus to the rear bars of a cart seat. A position strap, which is attached to the attachment belt, extends around the top of the cart seat to restrict the vertical displacement of the seat belt and belted child with respect to the seat cart. A second embodiment provides a planar display located at the rear of the cart seat as part of the apparatus.



Inventors:
Dunblazier, Darrel D. (Ottertail, MN, US)
Wendt, Linda J. (Ottertail, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/828526
Publication Date:
01/29/2009
Filing Date:
07/26/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47D15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WHITE, RODNEY BARNETT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NAWROCKI, ROONEY & SIVERTSON (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for securing a child to a cart seat comprising: a) a seat belt having adjustment means for adjusting the seat belt length, and having a first connector arranged to connect the seat belt ends together; b) attachment means for attaching the seat belt to the back of a cart seat; and c) position limiting means for limiting the vertical translation of the seat belt attached to a cart seat to a predetermined distance.

2. Apparatus as in claim 1 further comprising: a) the seat belt being formed from two essentially equal length seat belt straps with the first connector being attached to an end of each seat belt strap arranged to connect the ends together; b) the attachment means comprising an attachment strap having a second connector arranged to connect the attachment strap ends together, with the seat belt strap ends opposite to the first connector being attached equal predetermined distances from opposite ends of the attachment strap; and c) the position limiting means comprising a position strap with one end of the position strap being attached perpendicular to the attachment strap between the seat belt connections and with the opposite end of the position strap having means for connecting the position strap to the ends of a connected attachment strap.

3. Apparatus as in claim 2 wherein the means for connecting the position strap to the ends of a connected attachment strap comprise a loop in the end of the position strap opposite to the attachment strap connection sized to fit around an attached second connector.

4. Apparatus as in claim 1 further comprising planar display means attached to the apparatus by said attachment means.

5. Apparatus as in claim 4 further comprising: a) the seat belt comprising two equal length seat belt straps with the connector arranged to attach an end of each seat belt strap together; b) the display means comprising a sheet having a pair of grommets extending therethrough; c) the attachment means comprising: i) an attachment strap having a loop at each end; ii) the seat belt straps each extending through a grommet in the planar sheet with the ends opposite to the connector being connected equal distances from the attachment strap ends through the grommet which are positioned to permit said attachment; and iii) a connector ring sized and arranged to secure a plurality of strap loops together; and d) the position limiting means comprising a position strap having a loop on one end, with the opposite end of the position strap attached coplanar to the attachment strap between the attached seat belt strap ends extending outward therefrom perpendicular thereto.

6. Apparatus as in claim 5 further comprising the planar sheet being formed of a plurality of equal size rectangular shaped sheets, the sheets having a plurality of rivets around the periphery connecting them together, the sheets being sized to match the area at the rear of a cart seat with the grommet locations being located to position the sheets adjacent to said area and aligned therewith.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention deals with restraint of a child seated in a grocery shopping cart in a manner which will prevent injury.

2. Descriptions of Related Art

Current seat belts for children in shopping carts are secured only at the extremities adjacent to the peripheral boundaries of the cart. A child is thereby enabled to slide laterally providing room for the child to slip from the belt and stand up. This can result in the cart tipping and consequent injuries to the child.

There are a number of warnings related to the safety of children riding in shopping cart seats. As examples, the American Academy of Pediatrics in an August 2006 committee report noted how common shopping cart injuries resulting from carts tipping are. The report also noted how often this resulted in serious head and neck injuries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has noted the number of shopping cart injuries to children and is launching a safety program to reduce such injuries. The American Academy of Pediatrics in a recent report even recommended that parents consider alternatives to placing children in shopping carts to reduce the potential for injury.

It would be desirable if a seat belt could be configured to make it more difficult for a child to escape from a seat belt and to prevent a belted child from standing up.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a seat belt which is attached to vertical bars at the back of a shopping cart seat and arranged to closely encircle the waist of a seated child. Seat belt length adjustments permit a close encirclement of the child's waist to substantially eliminate the possibility of the child escaping from the seat belt. The seat belt is restrained to move only a predetermined distance upward with respect to the cart to reduce the distance a child can raise himself when restrained by the seat belt. Such a combination greatly minimizes the possibility of a child either being able to escape the belt restraint and stand up and tip the cart over, or being able to rise up sufficiently without escaping the belt, to tip the cart over.

The apparatus includes a first embodiment which employs a seat belt formed from two seat belt straps, each having a length adjustment. A first connector is provided to enable connecting one end of the two seat belt straps together. The first connector is used to attach the seat belt around a child seated in a cart seat, and the seat belt length adjustment permits tightening the belt to effect a secure attachment around the child.

The end of the seat belt straps opposite the first connector are attached near the opposite ends of an attachment strap. A second connector is arranged to connect the opposite ends of the attachment strap together. The attachment strap is sized to fit around spaced apart rods forming the rear of a child's cart seat to secure the attachment strap in place. This also secures the seat belt in place.

One end of a position strap is attached perpendicular to the attachment strap between the seat belt attachment points. The opposite end of the position strap is formed into a loop sized to fit around the outside of the second connector.

The position strap is extended from the attachment strap over the top of the cart seat, and the end loop is placed around the female end of the second connector before the second connector is closed. With the position strap loop around the second connector before it is closed, closing the connector will both connect the attachment strap around the vertical rear seat rods and also secure the position strap over and around the horizontal top of the cart seat. With this arrangement the position strap limits both the vertical translation of the seat belt and a belted child with respect to the cart seat.

Such an apparatus, which can be connected and disconnected easily and rapidly, comprises a first embodiment of the apparatus that can be used at multiple locations.

A second embodiment obtains the same results with a similar apparatus connected together in a similar way as the first embodiment. However, with the second embodiment, the seat belt straps are connected to the attachment strap by means of a pair of grommets which extends through a planar display. The planar display is sized to overlie the area at the rear of the cart seat. The apparatus is arranged to locate the display immediately in front of and aligned with the rear area of the cart seat.

In this embodiment, a ring connector attaches two loops at the ends of the attachment strap and a loop at the end of the position strap. This arrangement also attaches the apparatus to the rear of the cart seat and limits the vertical translation of the seat belt with respect to the cart.

Since the second embodiment is more difficult to connect to a cart because of use of the ring connector, and the inclusion of a display suitable for advertising, this apparatus is more likely to be used by a store because of the permanent attachment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The objects and features of the present invention will become more manifest to those skilled in the art upon a reading of the following descriptions, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a cart with a child seated in the cart seat and secured by the first embodiment of the apparatus;

FIG. 2 is an end portion of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of apparatus 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the back portion of a cart seat with apparatus 1 attached;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of apparatus 2; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the back portion of a cart seat with apparatus 2 attached.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A first embodiment of the apparatus is shown in FIGS. 1-4. Apparatus 1 has a seat belt 10, formed by two equal length seat belt straps 10A, an attachment strap 12 and a vertical position strap 14. Attachment strap 12 attaches seat belt 10 to the back of cart seat 16A of cart 16. Position strap 14 positions the vertical location of seat belt 10 with respect to cart seat 16A and limits the vertical translation of the seat belt with respect to the seat. Connector 10B is preferably a conventional rapid release connector with a male part having a pair of flexible extensions each having an outer directed projection arranged to engage opposed outer openings in a mating receptacle in a female part. The male and female parts of connector 10B are connected by extending a pair of opposed flexible extensions each having a centered outward projection from the male part into mating receptacles in the female part until the two outer directed projections oppose two mating outer openings in the female receptacle where they can spring outward and lock the two parts together. The male and female parts of connector 10B are separated by pressing both male extensions inward together until the centered outer projections clear the mating openings in the female part which permits the parts to be separated. While this is the preferred connector for this apparatus, any other connector that provides rapid connection and disconnection of the parts will suffice.

Seat belt straps 10A each have one end attached to connector 10B. Slide adjusters 10C are provided for each strap 10A to permit changing the length of seat belt 10 to fit each child.

The ends of seat belt straps 10A opposite connector 10B are attached equal distances from opposite ends of attachment strap 12. The ends of attachment strap 12 are connected together by connector 12A which has a male part 10A1 and a female part 12A2 and is the same type of connector as connector 10B. However, any other connector which can connect and disconnect the straps readily will suffice.

Position strap 14 has one end attached perpendicularly to attachment strap 12 between the connection points of seat belt straps 10A. Straps 14 and 10A are attached together in the same plane by being sewed together. Position strap 14 has a loop 14A formed in the end opposite attachment strap 12 which is sized to fit around the outside of female part 12A2 of connector 12 to secure the position strap to the attachment strap. This is accomplished by placing apparatus 1 as shown in FIG. 2 with the ends of attachment straps 12 extending between vertical seat rods 16B with position strap 14 extending upward. Position strap 14 is extended over and around horizontal seat top 16C. Loop 14A is positioned around female connector 12A2 and male connector 12A1 inserted to complete connecting the attachment strap 12 to cart 16 and position strap 14 around horizontal seat top 16C.

With apparatus 1 connected to cart 12 in this manner, a child 18 can be placed on cart seat 16A and seat belt 10 attached around the child 18 by connecting the two parts of connector 10B together. Size adjustment is then made using slide adjustors 10C to fit seat belt 10 snugly around the child. A snug fit will prevent the child from escaping the seat belt 10. In addition, position strap 14 will result in seat belt 10 being secured above the waistline. In this location, strap 10 will prevent the child from standing because of the engagement of the strap with the horizontal seat top 16C. This will eliminate the danger of the child standing and tipping the cart.

Apparatus 2, shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, are second embodiments of apparatus used to safely restrain a child seated in a grocery cart. As described earlier, apparatus 2 uses a number of the same elements and arrangements of the first embodiment. Apparatus 2 has a seat belt 20, formed by two seat belt straps 20A, an attachment strap 22 and a position strap 24. In addition, apparatus 2 has a planar display sheet 21 with a pair of grommets 21A extending through the sheet. Display sheet 21 can be formed from a plurality of sheets including a transparent outer sheet, an adjacent advertising sheet, and a support sheet. Rivets 21B around the periphery connect the various sheets of display sheet 21 together.

Straps 20A each have one end connected to connector 20B. Slide adjusters 20C are provided for each strap 20A to permit changing their length to fit each child. The ends of seat belt straps 20A opposite connector 20B are each attached equally offset from the ends of attachment strap 22 through grommets 21A of sheet 21 to attachment strap 22. Seat belt straps 20A are attached to attachment strap 22 in the same plane by sewing them together. The ends of attachment strap 22 each terminate in an end loop 22A.

Position strap 24 has one end attached perpendicularly to attachment strap 22 between the attachment points of seat belt straps 20A. Position strap 24 and attachment strap 22 are again attached together in the same plane by sewing them together. Position strap 24 has a loop 24A formed in the end opposite attachment strap 22.

End loops 22A of attachment strap 22 and end loop 24A of position strap 24 are all connected together by ring connector 22B with apparatus 2 position with respect to cart seat 26A as shown in FIG. 6. This arrangement locates display sheet 21 adjacent to the back of cart seat 26A with position strap 24 around horizontal seat top 26C and attachment strap 22 around vertical seat rods 26B. In this position sheet 21 is displayed without interfering with any of the safety features of the apparatus. Attaching both end loops 22A and end loop 24A together completes the connection of apparatus 2 to cart seat 26A. The adjustments to fit a particular child and the resulting restrictions to the movement of the child with respect to the cart seat are the same for embodiment 2 as for embodiment 1.

The above are just two examples of the modifications and changes that are possible and would occur to one skilled in the art, therefore it is contemplated that the appended claims will cover any such modifications or embodiments as fall within the true scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.

It will be understood that this disclosure, in many respects, is only illustrative. Changes may be made in details, particularly in matters of shape, size, material, and arrangement of parts without exceeding the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is as defined in the language of the appended claims.