Title:
Single hand use baby food and container tray
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tray for holding multiple baby food, baby food jars, containers, plates, bowls and cups designed to be held with one hand by inserting the thumb of a user through a centrally located hole in the tray and using the remaining fingers on the bottom of the tray as support.



Inventors:
Munden, Debbie (El Paso, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/985476
Publication Date:
05/14/2009
Filing Date:
11/14/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/564, 206/565, 220/556, 206/563
International Classes:
B65D1/34
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Primary Examiner:
LALLI, MELISSA LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
R WAYNE PRITCHARD (EL PASO, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A tray for use in connection with feeding small children comprising at least one food storage compartment and further comprising a thumb opening centrally located.

2. The tray of claim 1 wherein the food storage compartments are of size and dimensions adequate for typical baby food containers.

3. The tray of claim 1 wherein the food storage compartments are removable.

4. The tray of claim 1 wherein the food storage compartments are circular in shape.

5. The tray of claim 1 wherein the food storage compartments are rectangular in shape.

6. The tray of claim 1 wherein at least one of the food storage compartments is circular and one is rectangular.

7. The tray of claim 1 wherein the tray is made of clear material.

8. The tray of claim 1 wherein the food storage compartments are peripherally located along the outside edge of the tray.

9. The tray of claim 1 wherein the tray is circular in shape.

10. The tray of claim 1 wherein the tray is of adequate size to allow a user to support the tray using the fingers of one hand.

11. A rectangular shaped tray for use in connection with feeding small children comprising at least one food storage compartment and further comprising a thumb opening centrally located.

12. A triangular shaped tray for use in connection with feeding small children comprising at least one food storage compartment and further comprising a thumb opening centrally located.

13. An oval shaped tray for use in connection with feeding small children comprising at least one food storage compartment and further comprising a thumb opening centrally located.

14. A square shaped tray for use in connection with feeding small children comprising at least one food storage compartment and further comprising a thumb opening centrally located.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a multiple compartment tray for use with baby food, baby food jars, bottles, cups and other containers, designed to be used with one hand.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Anyone who has had the responsibility of feeding a single baby, twins or multiple children, can appreciate the observation that the normal set of arms or hands is just not enough. Typically, infants are fed in highchairs, car seats, or other similar type of restraint system. The care giver must open numerous baby food bottles, one for each child, and then find a way to feed the contents of each bottle to the child in the high chair while all the time keeping the food from easy reach of the out stretched hands of the toddler. Throw in cereal bowl or a drink container and you have a situation where two arms just cannot do the trick. One might think that the problem could be solved by placing the jars, bowls or bottles in holders attached to the high chair or by even simply placing the afore mentioned containers directly on top of the high chair table in front of the child. Of course, anyone who has seen the mess that can be created by giving infants direct access to food or has seen the splatter that can be created by children kicking or knocking the underside of any holding device or table, knows why you must keep food items a safe distance away from the toddler. How then can a mother or other care giver keep food items organized, away from the children and still perform the necessary feeding function.

Many have tried to solve afore mentioned feeding dilemma but to no avail. The solutions envisioned by inventors come in two categories; food trays that attached to the high chair or ones which are supported by the hand/arm of the user. Examples of the first category are U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,484,989 and 6,119,996, both issued to Mente Connery (the “Connery patents”) for a “Highchair Helper.” The Connery patents disclose an attachment device for the tray to a highchair, stroller or car seat and expressly claims that the device is outside the reach of seated occupants. Being outside the reach, however, does not mean that occupants cannot kick the underside of the tray causing vibration to the attachment device and the food contents contained in such attachment device. In the case of a emergency need to remove the occupants from the highchair, stroller or car seat, the attachment device would first have to detached; an additional drawback. Another example of the first category of solutions is U.S. Pat. No. 6,382,459, issued to Anita Liu, for a “Handle Accessory for Infant Feeding Bowl.” The limitations of the Liu patent is that it applies specifically to bowls and once again is subject to being vibrated by kicking and knocking by the occupant.

An example of the second category of solutions is U.S. Pat. No. 4,966,297, issued to Robert Doty for a “Food and Beverage Tray.” The Doty patent does disassociate the tray from the immediate vicinity of the child, however, as can be seen in the drawings associated with the Doty patent, the food tray is designed to be used by placing the thumb and index finger on the top or upper most surface of the tray. This position is not ergonomic and will result in rapid fatigue to the hand. James Aragona attempted to solve the fatigue issue his “Single Hand Use Food Tray”, U.S. Pat. No. 5,598,944. Notwithstanding the claims of Aragona, the Aragona tray suffers from the same ergonomic deficiencies as the Doty patent. The weight of the tray is ultimately supported by the wrist and fingers which over time will result in fatigue.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,960,982, issued to Robert Perlis, for a “Combination Buffet Plate and Cup Holder” along with U.S. Pat. No. 5,060,820, issued to Gregory Boerner, for a “Plate Assembly” attempt to solve the ergonomic deficiencies of the prior art by providing for a griping handle underneath the tray. The trays of the Perlis and Boerner patents while designed to be gripped by the hand must ultimately rest on the forearm of the user. There is however, no adequate means which would allow the tray to properly rest on a person's forearm. Put another way, you cannot put a square object in a round hole. The forearm of the person using the tray is not flat and therefore, the flat tray will not be stabilized when resting on the curved surfaces of a user.

David Brickley recognized the need to stabilize the trays of the Perlis and Boerner patents, so in his invention, disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,697,512, for a “Tray or Plate Assembly”, he included a curved indented portion in which the user's forearm rested at one end and a gripping handle which doubled as a cup holder at the other end. While the combination of a hand grip coupled with a forearm rest were an improvement to the prior art, the invention disclosed in the Brickley patent is far more complicated than what is necessary. Of course, in terms of manufacture, increased complication equates to increased manufacturing costs, a definite drawback.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a easy to use, inexpensive, hand held food tray. It is a further object of this invention to provide multiple storage compartments for baby food and/or baby food jars, cups, containers, bottles, and bowls. It is still a further object of this invention to provide for secure, stable use of the tray with one hand. Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description when viewed in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which set forth certain embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top view of the present invention depicting four rectangular and three round food storage compartments.

FIG. 2 is a top view of the present invention illustrating how food containers are placed in the storage compartments of the tray.

FIG. 3 is a side view of a removable food storage compartment.

FIG. 4 is a top view of the present invention depicting two rectangular and two round food storage compartments.

FIG. 5 illustrates other sizes and shapes of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein. It should be understood, however, that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, the details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as the basis for the claims and as a basis for teaching one skilled in the art how to make and/or use the invention.

FIG. 1 illustrates the tray [1] of the present invention showing four rectangular [2] and three round food storage compartments [3]. As shown in FIG. 2, the food storage compartments {2 and 3} can be simply holes of size and dimension to adequately support a food container or as shown in FIG. 3, be fitted with removable holders [4] into which a food storage container can be placed. FIGS. 1 and 2 also illustrated the correct method of holding the tray [1] by inserting a thumb through a hole [5] centrally located on the tray [1] and supporting the tray [1] from beneath with the remaining fingers. The tray [1] can be used by either a left handed or right handed individual.

Although the tray of the present invention has been shown to be made of a clear acrylic, clearly any material can be used for the tray [1] so long as such material is of suitable strength to adequately support the baby food containers. As shown in FIG. 4, the tray [1] of the present invention can be made with any number of food storage compartments and be of any size supportable by a hand. Furthermore, while it is believed that the circular shape of the present invention is the most desirable, as shown in FIG. 5, the tray [1] could be of any geometric shape.

While the preferred embodiments have been shown and described, it will be understood that there is no intent to limit the invention by such disclosure, but rather, is intended to cover all modifications and alternate constructions failing within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.





 
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