Title:
NECK ROLL FOR BABY SEATS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
When carrying babies or small children in motor vehicles or on bicycles, many people install and use a baby or child's seat (3) for the increased safety of the baby or child, and the peace of mind this brings. Typically, such baby seats (3) are provided with a three point, “Y” shaped, harness (2) for securing the baby in position. Whilst such a harness (2) means that the baby or small child is secure in the seat (3), the effects of acceleration and deceleration as well as movement left and right of the vehicle are not addressed. In order to improve the ride comfort to the baby, in addition to supporting the neck and head, a neck roll (1) is proposed which can be fitted to any three point harness (2) or baby seat (3). This neck roll (1) both stops the baby's head from rocking left and right during travel, as well as giving support during acceleration of the vehicle.



Inventors:
Stubberud, Einar (Moss, NO)
Application Number:
12/093945
Publication Date:
09/10/2009
Filing Date:
11/24/2005
Assignee:
Hamax AS (Krakeroy, NO)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/636
International Classes:
A47C16/00; A47C7/18; A47C7/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CONLEY, FREDRICK C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KNOBBE MARTENS OLSON & BEAR LLP (IRVINE, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A neck roll for supporting the neck and head of a baby or child, wherein: the neck roll is shaped with a middle section, which has two projecting arms at each end, these arms are offset at an angle to the middle section, so as to form a generally “U” or “C”-shaped configuration to the roll, the neck roll being adapted such that when the head and neck of the baby or child rests on the middle section, the two projecting arms are located either side of the head; a plurality of fastening mechanisms are provided attached to the neck roll, which are adapted to secure the roll in an appropriate position for accepting the baby or child's head.

2. The neck roll of claim 1, further comprising: a plurality of straps which have one end removably attachable to the fastening mechanism of the neck roll, and a second fastening mechanism attached to the second end of each of the straps.

3. A neck roll for supporting the neck and head of a baby or child, wherein: the neck roll is shaped with a middle section, which has two projecting arms at each end, these arms are offset at an angle to the middle section, so as to form a generally “U” or “C”-shaped configuration to the roll, the neck roll being adapted such that when the head and neck of the baby or child rests on the middle section, the two projecting arms are located either side of the head; a plurality of straps are provided attached to the neck roll with fastening mechanisms attached to the free end of the strap, the fastening mechanisms being adapted to secure the roll in an appropriate position for accepting the baby, or child's head.

4. The neck roll of claim 1, wherein: the plurality of fastening mechanisms are adapted so as to be attachable to the upper straps of a three point, or “Y”-shaped harness.

5. The neck roll of claim l, wherein: the plurality of fastening mechanisms are adapted so as to be attachable to straps or fixing points provided on a baby or child's seat.

6. The neck roll of claim 1, wherein: the plurality of fastening mechanisms comprise textile or plastic loops, in particular rigid plastic loops.

7. The neck roll of claim 1, wherein: the plurality of fastening mechanisms comprise clips.

8. The neck roll of claim 1, wherein: the plurality of fastening mechanisms comprise simple loops, which are integrally formed with the neck roll out of the same material as the external surface.

9. The neck roll of claim 1, wherein: the plurality of fastening mechanisms are attached to the neck roll at or close to its upper forward side, as viewed when positioned around the neck of the baby or child.

10. The neck roll of claim 1, wherein: the neck roll is comprised of an inflatable cushion made from a plastic sheet, textile sheet, a laminate of plastic and textile or the like, and is provided with a valve.

11. The neck roll of claim 1, wherein: the neck roll is comprised of a high density foam or foam-like substance.

12. The neck roll of claim 3, wherein: the fastening mechanisms are adapted so as to be attachable to the upper straps of a three point, or “Y”-shaped harness.

13. The neck roll of claim 3, wherein: the fastening mechanisms are adapted so as to be attachable to straps or fixing points provided on a baby or child's seat.

14. The neck roll of claim 3, wherein: the fastening mechanisms comprise textile or plastic loops, in particular rigid plastic loops.

15. The neck roll of claim 3, wherein: the fastening mechanisms comprise clips.

16. The neck roll of claim 3, wherein: the fastening mechanisms comprise simple loops, which are integrally formed with the neck roll out of the same material as the external surface.

17. The neck roll of claim 3, wherein: the fastening mechanisms are attached to the neck roll at or close to its upper forward side, as viewed when positioned around the neck of the baby or child.

Description:

The current invention relates to a neck roll or cushion for integrating with a child's seat, and for supporting the head and neck of a child.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

Child or baby seats, hereinafter referred to simply as baby seats, are used in a variety of different environments, to provide a safe and secure method of carrying a baby or child. Baby seats can be provided for integration with the affixed seats in a motor vehicle, as these are typically not designed with the safe transportation of babies and children in mind. Additionally, bicycles and motorcycles can be provided with carriers and the like, to which baby seats can be attached. The main method of securing a child within these seats, is by means of a three point harness. Such a harness typically has a “Y” shaped configuration, with two upper straps being attached to the seat and positioned either side of the child or baby's head, with the third being attached and positioned between the legs of the child.

Whilst the above configuration is excellent for carrying babies and children safely, the harness is essentially designed with securing the passenger to the seat. What is not considered by such a design, is the comfort of the baby or child in the seat. When a baby or child is carried in a car on a motorbike or on a cycle, there are considerable acceleration and deceleration effects from the travelling: as the vehicle stops and starts, the baby is forced back and forth within the carrying seat. Further, when the vehicle travels around corners or changes lane, the child is moved left and right as a result of inertia. Such induced motion on the baby or child, does not often effect its main body, as this is held within the harness, but is often quite significant to the child's head. Such motion is particularly bad for babies and small children, as their necks are quite weak which can lead to excessive head movement.

It is an object of the current invention, therefore, to provide a neck support for a child or baby, which can be integrated with any three point “Y” harness. It is desirable that such a support can be readily attached to any such harness, so that it could be used in any environment where a harness is fitted. It is a further object of the invention, to provide a neck support for a child or baby, which can be integrated with a baby seat attached to either a motorbike or cycle, or contained within a motor vehicle.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,108,152 discloses a cushioning device, which is designed to be attached to the two straps of a harness for a child's seat. This device is intended to provide the child with a soft, cushioned surface either side of its head, and to stop the potential rubbing and discomfort that could arise from the harness straps. U.S. Pat. No. 5,486,037 is directed toward a headrest designed to reduce the sideways motion of an infant's head during motion of the vehicle. Two projecting cushions are provided which are designed to be positioned either side of the baby or child's head. GB 2 198 341, describes an inflatable cushion which is designed to be worn by passengers of motor vehicles, and is intended to support their chins if they fall asleep and stop their heads from falling too far forward.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The above detailed problems are solved by the neck roll according to claim 1, with the dependent claims thereof giving preferred embodiments to the invention.

A neck roll for supporting the neck and head of a baby or child, is provided, wherein: the neck roll is shaped with a middle section, which has two projecting arms at each end. These arms are offset at an angle to the middle section, so as to form a generally “U” or “C”-shaped configuration to the roll. The neck roll is adapted, such that when the head and neck of the baby or child rests on the middle section, the two projecting arms are located either side of the head. Additionally, a plurality of fastening mechanisms are provided attached to the neck roll. These are adapted to secure the roll in an appropriate position for accepting the baby or child's head.

A further embodiment is given by the neck roll according to claim 3, with the dependent claims thereof giving preferred embodiments to the invention. This differs from the neck roll according to claim 1, in that there are provided a plurality of straps attached to the neck roll. These straps have fastening mechanisms attached to their free end, with these fastening mechanisms being adapted to secure the roll in an appropriate position for accepting the baby or child's head.

DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 shows one embodiment of a neck roll which is attached to the straps of a three point harness in a baby seat.

FIG. 2 details a second embodiment of the neck roll, wherein straps are provided for attachment.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

With reference to FIG. 1, one embodiment of a neck roll (1) for attachment to a three point, or “Y”-shaped, harness (2) of a baby seat (3) can be seen. Obviously, the neck roll (1) can be attached to any three point harness (2), and this need not be attached to a baby's seat (3). As can be seen from the figure, the neck roll (1) is shaped to include a middle section (4), which has two projecting arms (5) located at either end of this middle section (4). These arms (5) are integral to the middle section (4) and are offset at an angle, such that they reach round either side of a baby's head when the middle section (4) is positioned behind the head in support of the neck. In other words: the neck roll (1) is in a general “U” or “C” shape, with a longer flatter middle section (4) between the arms (5). Such a specific shape is not only directed to providing the baby's head with side support for vehicle motion in a side to side direction, but is also intended to provide specific neck support to help take the weight of the baby or child's head, whilst also providing support for acceleration induced motion.

The neck roll (1), as shown in FIG. 1, is pictured as being positioned behind the two upper straps in the harness (2). Obviously, depending upon the harness (2), and in particular where the two straps are affixed in relation to the baby's head, it is possible for the roll (1) to be positioned in front of the two straps.

The neck roll (1) according to FIG. 1, has two fastening mechanisms (6), seen in the figure as simple loops. This is not intended as a limitation, and indeed any number of fastening mechanisms (6) can be provided as appropriate. These loops are provided for the straps of the harness (2) to be threaded through, thereby securing the neck roll (1) to the harness (2). It is possible for these fastening mechanisms (6) to be attached in a position, more toward the front side of the neck roll (1), as viewed when the neck roll (1) is in position around the baby or child's head. Such a provision, means that the roll (1) will tend not to be rotated from its desired position by the straps of the harness (2), but will be able to lie flat against the back of the baby seat (3) or wherever the neck roll (1) is fitted.

Clearly the provision of simple loops for fastening, allows the roll (1) some leeway in its actual position along the length of the harness straps. The loops can either be formed from the same material making up the roll (1), or could be provided as textile or rigid plastic loops which are attached or integrated with the neck roll (1). Other fastening mechanisms (6) are also envisaged as being possible for attaching the roll (1) to the harness (2). Such mechanisms could, for example, comprise: an open plastic loop, which is permanently fixed to the roll (1), but which can be hooked onto the harness strap, thereby giving a more readily removable neck roll (1). A modification to this, would be to provide an “S” shaped fixing mechanism (6), wherein the harness strap is designed to pass under the upper and lower sections of the “S”, and over the middle section; or vice versa. This mechanism (6) would, again, be permanently fixed to the roll (1), and provide a readily attachable and detachable neck roll (1). Further, it would lead to the roll (1) being more firmly positioned at one point along the strap, as the increased frictional contact would tend to hold it in place. A further fixing mechanism (6), could be in the form of a clip, whereby the strap of the harness (6) is tightly held between the two arms of the gripper. Again, this would lead to a readily removable roll (1), but one that could be more securely fixed to a position on the strap.

Whilst the above neck roll (1) embodiment has been disclosed as being used for attaching to the straps making up the three point harness (2), it is clear that the roll (1) need not be attached to this. If the neck roll (1) were to be used in conjunction with a baby's seat (3), it would be possible for it to be attached to straps which were provided on the seat (3) itself, which could be being used for another purpose, or could in fact be provided for the specific attachment of a neck roll (1). Certain designs of seats (3), may provide the harness (2) in such a position that it is impractical to attach the roll (1) to it, and so these extra straps could be used for attachment. Should no specific straps exists, it would be possible to integrate the neck roll (1) with straps which could be attached to the seat (3) in a permanent or removable manner.

A second embodiment of the neck roll (1), is shown in FIG. 2. In this particular embodiment, the fastening mechanisms (6), which can include any of the examples given in relation to embodiment 1, are attached to the end of fixing straps (7). These straps (7) are shown permanently attached to the neck roll (1), although it is clear that they could be provided as separate straps and affixed to the fixing mechanism (6) of the neck roll (1) according to embodiment 1, in order to increase the flexibility of the design. Furthermore, it is envisaged the straps (7) can be adjusted in length, by means of any standard mechanism known in the art for achieving such. Whilst two straps are shown, this is not intended as a limitation, and indeed any number of straps (7) can be provided as appropriate.

As with the first embodiment, the fastening mechanisms (6) at the end of the straps (7) are intended for attachment either to a section of the three point harness (2), or to some fastening point provided on the baby seat (3). Clearly, if this roll (1) is not being used with a baby seat (3), for example it is provided for a child's use in a vehicle, the fastening mechanisms (6) could be used to attach the roll (1) to any appropriate straps or fixing points.

As a further option, the two sets of fastening mechanisms (6), that is: those attached directly to the neck roll (1) or to straps (7) attached to the neck roll (1), could readily be combined to provide a neck roll (1) with four fastening mechanisms (6). This could be useful if the roll (1) were required to be fastened both to a three point harness (2), via the directly attached mechanisms (6), and to the baby seat (3) or other fixing points, via the mechanisms (6) at the end of the straps (7).

As can be seen in the figures, the neck roll (1) can be formed as an inflatable cushion so that when not in used it can be deflated for easy storage. A valve (8) is provided, such that a user can inflate the cushion using their own breath; and when not is use, they can open the valve and let the air out. Furthermore, the valve is intended to be insertable into the body of the cushion when inflated, as it well known in the art, so as to hide it from view and also to stop the child or baby from playing with it.

The inflatable neck roll (1) is made from PVC or the like and can either be formed as a single fully formed roll (1), or it can be made up from two separate halves which are then joined together by any appropriate method known in the art. The valve (8) is affixed in an air tight manner at an appropriate place, to allow the user to easily inflate and deflate the roll (1). The material from which the roll (1) is made, can be chosen such that its external side has a soft fabric like feel, such as velour or felt or the like, to improve the comfort to the child or baby using the roll (1). Alternatively, instead of providing the roll (1) with a soft external surface, it could be provided with a removable fabric cover. Such a cover could be made of any appropriately soft fabric to be comfortable to the child, as well as providing the advantage of being washable when it gets dirty from use. Clearly, it is also possible to provide a cover for use with a roll (1) which has a soft exterior surface.

Whilst the neck roll (1) has been described above as being inflatable, so as to allow for ready storage when not in use, it is equally possible for the roll (1) to be manufactured from a high density foam or foam-like material. Such a material could be any which will provide a comfortable feel, as well as supporting action, to the roll (1). In order to protect the foam or other material from wear, a durable yet comfortable cover is provided. As with the previous air filled roll (1), such a cover could be made removable, so as to allow for ready cleaning. It is intended that the foam be used as a substitute filling in place of the air as in the above; as such, all of the previous discussion covering the fastening mechanisms (6), straps (7) and the like, are considered as being applicable to the foam filled roll (1) as readily as the air filled.

Whilst various features and embodiments of the invention are described above, they can readily be combined with each other resulting in further embodiments of the invention.





 
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