Title:
Portable Child Seat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable children's child seat for an adult seat such as a chair, church pew, bench, or structure with a seat-like configuration. The child seat has a bottom, a back, a frame, a belt, a tray, a closing strap, a hood and an attachment mechanism for securing the child seat to an adult seat. The child seat has a deployed position where it is ready for occupation by a child, and a compact position where a child seat bottom and a child seat tray are in a raised position.



Inventors:
Martini, Kathleen (Plainfield, IL, US)
Application Number:
12/548314
Publication Date:
03/04/2010
Filing Date:
08/26/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47D1/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BARFIELD, ANTHONY DERRELL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Erickson Law Group, PC (WHEATON, IL, US)
Claims:
The invention claimed is:

1. The child seat for attaching to a support structure having a bottom portion and an upwardly extending portion, comprising: a frame connected to a back portion; the back portion operatively connected to the bottom portion, the bottom portion pivotably movable with respect to the back portion between a lowered position and a raised position; and an attachment mechanism connected to the frame and securably adjustable in the upward direction to extend over the support structure.

2. The child seat of claim 1, wherein the bottom portion comprises a closing device connected to the bottom portion and connectable to an upper portion of the seat to secure the bottom portion in the raised position.

3. The child seat of claim 1, wherein the attachment mechanism comprises an upward support configured to support the seat in a predefined vertical position with respect to the support structure.

4. The seat of claim 1, wherein the attachment mechanism comprises a hook extendably connected to the frame and a hook securing device, the hook having at least a first position and an extended position, the hook being a greater distance from the frame when in the extended position than when in the first position.

5. The seat of claim 1, wherein the attachment mechanism comprises a lateral adjustment device movable relative to an oppositely facing inside engagement surface of the attachment mechanism and configured to engage the support structure between the lateral adjustment device and the oppositely facing inside engagement surface.

6. The seat of claim 1, wherein the bottom portion comprises a flexible material conformable to the support structure.

7. The seat of claim 1, wherein the bottom portion comprises an anti-slip surface configured to engaging the support structure when the bottom portion is in the lowered position.

8. The seat of claim 1, wherein the back portion comprises headrest wings displaced from a vertical midline of the back portion in opposite lateral directions, the headrest wings movable between a retraced position and an extended position, outer lateral portions of the headrest wings being further apart when in the retracted position than when in the extended position.

9. The seat of claim 1, comprising a tray connected to the frame, the tray movable between a raised position and a lowered position, the tray spaced from the seat back when in the lowered position.

10. The seat of claim 9, wherein the tray comprises a video display unit.

11. The seat of claim 1, comprising a securing device connectable to a top portion of the frame at one end and an outer end of the bottom portion at an opposite end to secure the seat around an outside surface of the support structure.

12. The seat of claim 1, comprising a retractable hood having a retracted position and an extended position, the hood extending over a portion of the seat when in the extended position.

13. A child seat, comprising: a frame connected to a back portion; a back portion operatively connected to the bottom portion; an attachment mechanism connected to the frame and having a support member extending laterally away from the back portion and configured to extend over the top of an external support structure, the support member adjustably extendable in the upward direction.

14. The child seat of claim 13, comprising a deployed position and a compact position; the bottom having a raised position corresponding to the compact position and a lowered position corresponding to the deployed position; a tray having a raised position corresponding to the compact position and a lowered position corresponding to the deployed position.

15. The child seat of claim 13, wherein the bottom portion comprises a lowered position and a raised position, the bottom having an upper surface, the upper surface facing the back portion when in the raised position.

16. The seat of claim 13, wherein the support member comprises a hook extendably connected to the frame and a hook securing device, the hook having a plurality of positions comprising at least a first position and an extended position, the hook being a greater distance from the frame when in the extended position than when in the first position.

17. The seat of claim 13, wherein the attachment mechanism comprises a lateral adjustment device movable relative to an oppositely facing inside engagement surface of the support and configured to engage an external support structure between the lateral adjustment device and the oppositely facing inside engagement surface.

18. The seat of claim 13, wherein the bottom portion comprises a flexible material having a bottom surface conformable to an external support structure.

19. The seat of claim 13, comprising: a deployed position and a compact position; the bottom having a raised position corresponding to the compact position and a lowered position corresponding to the deployed position; a tray having a raised position corresponding to the compact position and a lowered position corresponding to the deployed position; and the back portion comprises headrest wings displaced from a vertical midline of the back portion in opposite lateral direction, the headrest wings movable between a retraced position and an extended position, outer lateral portions of the headrest wings being further apart when in the retracted position than when in the extended position; and the support comprises a hook extendably connected to the frame and a hook securing device, the hook having a plurality of positions at least comprising a first position and an extended position, the hook being a greater distance from the frame when in the extended position than when in the first position; and the attachment mechanism comprises a lateral adjustment device movable relative to an oppositely facing inside engagement surface of the support and configured to engage a external support structure between the lateral adjustment device and the oppositely facing inside engagement surface; and the bottom portion comprises a flexible material conformable to an external support structure.

20. A child seat, comprising: a frame connected to a back portion; a back portion connected to the bottom portion; an attachment means for both vertically and laterally securing the frame to an external support structure, the attachment means securably adjustable in the vertical direction, the attachment means securably adjustable in the lateral direction.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/091,968 filed on Aug. 26, 2008.

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to portable seats, specifically portable seats for children.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The seats normally used by adults are often not appropriate for use by young children. Young children may not properly be secured or supported in an adult seat. Such adult seats may not be properly sized to accommodate the needs of young children.

The present inventor recognizes the need for a collapsible portable child seat that is appropriate in many adult seat applications including on a church pew and a park bench. The present inventor recognizes the need for a child seat that is light weight and carriable in one hand. The present inventor recognizes the need for a child seat that is adjustably securable to an adult seat, including a chair, pew, stadium seating, movie theatre seating, or sitting surface. The present inventor recognizes the need for a child seat, that once adjusted for a particular adult seat, retains that adjustment so repeated uses do not require repeated re-adjustment. The present inventor recognizes the need for a comfortable child seat that secures the child and provides a multipurpose tray.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention provides a portable child seat for an adult seat, such as a chair, church pew, bench, stadium seating, movie theatre seating, or structure with a seat-like configuration. The child seat has a deployed position where it is ready for occupation by a child, and a compact position where the child seat is conveniently configured for moving or transporting the child seat. In a compact position a user is able to carry the child seat with one hand by hooks, so that the user's other hand is free for handling a child.

The child seat has a bottom, a back, a frame, a belt, a tray, a closing strap, a hood and an attachment mechanism for securing the child seat to an adult seat. In a compact position, the child seat bottom is in a raised position, the tray is in a raised position and the attachment mechanism may be loosened.

In a deployed position, the child seat bottom is in a lowered position supported on the horizontal surface of an adult seat. The hooks of the attachment mechanism are placed over the back of the adult seat back. The user secures the attachment mechanism to the back of the adult seat. The hooks are adjustable vertically to configure to adult seat backs rests of differing heights. The attachment mechanism is also adjustable horizontally to ensure that the hooks do not intrude into the space behind the adult seat. If the child seat is used frequently on the same adult seat, the hooks need not be adjusted for each use, but rather the child seat may be placed over the adult seat with the attachment mechanism in a pre-adjusted state.

The child seat bottom may be made of a lightweight flexible material because, in a lowered position, the child seat bottom is supported by the underlying adult seat surface. This enables the child seat to be a lighter weight.

The tray is for providing a convenient multi-purpose surface near the child. The tray may have hooks for attaching children's toys and preventing the child from throwing the toys out of reach. In one embodiment, the tray may have a screen for displaying video. In another embodiment, the tray may have an interactive touchscreen.

The child seat back has headrest wings for laterally supporting a child's head. The child seat back is attached to or incorporates a child seat frame for supporting the child seat. The child seat also has a securing device or cable for securing the child seat to an adult seat. The cable hooks to the top of the child seat and is wrapped around the back of the adult seat and under the bottom of the adult seat and hooks to a bottom anchor on the child seat bottom.

The child seat also has a hood that is extendable, from the top of the child seat, in an arched fashion over the child seat. The hood provides privacy for the seated child. It also provides shade from the sun or protection from rain when the child seat is used outside.

Numerous other advantages and features of the present invention will become readily apparent from the following detailed description of the invention and the embodiments thereof, from the claims, and from the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a child seat of the present invention in a deployed position with the hood removed;

FIG. 2 is a side perspective view of the child seat in a deployed position;

FIG. 3 is a side perspective view of the child seat in a compact position;

FIG. 4 is a side sectional view of a hook and a connection area of the child seat;

FIG. 5 is a front sectional view of a hook and connection area of the child seat; and

FIG. 6 is a side view of a lateral adjustment device of the child seat.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there are shown in the drawings, and will be described herein in detail, specific embodiments thereof with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the invention to the specific embodiments illustrated.

The Overall System

FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 show one embodiment of a child seat 100. The child seat comprises a bottom 110, a back 120, a hood 123, a tray 130, a belt 140, a closing strap 151, a frame 170, and an attachment mechanism 160 for securing the child seat 100 to an adult seat 101.

Deployed and Compact Positions

The child seat has a deployed position, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, where the child seat 100 is placed on and secured to an adult seat 101. The child seat also has a compact position, as shown in FIG. 3, for transporting or moving the child seat. The adult seat may comprise any seat, chair, church pew, bench, stadium seating, movie theatre seating, or another structure with a seat-like configuration. A seat-like configuration has two surfaces that meet at an angle. The angle need not be a ninety degree angle. When the child seat 100 is in a deployed position the child seat bottom 110 is in a lowered position. In a compact position, the tray 130 is in a raised position and the child seat bottom 110 is in a raised position.

The child seat bottom 110 may be secured in the raised position by the closing strap 151. The closing strap is connected to the child seat bottom 110. In one embodiment, the strap receiver 153 is located on the child seat back 120. In another embodiment, the strap receiver may be connected to the top 124 of the child seat back 120, the top back position 128 of the child seat back 120, or the frame 170. The closing strap 151 may use a snap button 152 and button receiver 154. The closing strap 151 and receiver 153 may also use hook and loop fasteners, such as VELCRO.

When the child seat 100 is in a deployed position, the child seat bottom 110 is in a lowered position. In a lowered position, the child seat bottom 110 lays against a supporting surface 102, such as the horizontal surface or the bottom of an adult seat. The bottom 102 is connected or intersects with an upwardly extending surface or adult seat back 103. The child seat bottom 110 moves between the raised position and the lowered position in the direction G shown in FIG. 3. The tray 130 may be in the raised or a lowered position, when the child seat 100 is in a deployed position.

Child Seat Bottom

In one embodiment, the bottom 110 may be made of flexible, soft material. The bottom 110 need not be supported by hard material because the underlying adult seat surface 102 will support the bottom when in a lowered position. This reduces the weight of the child seat 100. In one embodiment, the material on the bottom 110a (FIG. 3) of the child seat bottom 110 may be a non-slick material, so that it will not slide on a smooth underlying adult seat surface 102.

The Tray

The tray 130 is attached to the frame 170 of the child seat 100 by two tray arms 131, 132. The tray 130 has a raised position and a lowered position. The tray is movable between the raised and the lowered position in the direction E of FIGS. 2 and 3. The tray may have a locking mechanism in a pivot mechanism 135 where the tray arms 131, 132 connect to the frame 170. The locking mechanism may be released by pressing a release button 135a. In another embodiment, the pivot mechanism 135 may have a series of resistance points along the arch E, which prevent the tray from moving past the resistance points without use of an overcoming force. The overcoming force must be greater than gravitational force. In another embodiment, the tray may pivot downward to a stop point where the tray is in a lowered position. In another embodiment the lowered position may comprise the tray being substantially perpendicular to the back 120 or substantially parallel to the supporting adult seat surface 102 or the ground. In another embodiment, the tray may be above the top of the back 120, as shown in FIG. 3, when the tray is in the raised position. In another embodiment, the tray may be secured in a raised position with a strap (not shown) connected between the tray 130 and the top of the back 120.

In one embodiment, when the tray is in a lowered position, the tray may pivot about a tray pivot point 135. The tray pivot point remains at the same vertical location, allowing the tray to be more conveniently angled for the child.

The tray may comprise a number of attachment points 133. The attachment points may comprise hooks. Toys and other items that a child may play with may be attached directly to the hooks or may be attached with a string. These attachment points 133 allow toys to be secured to the tray so that the child does not throw them out of reach.

The tray may comprise a video screen 134. The video screen may be placed anywhere on the top surface of the tray. The video screen 134 may be protected by a transparent protective layer. The video screen may be any electronic screen capable of displaying images and or video. In another embodiment, the video screen may comprise an interactive touch screen. The screen 134 may be for entertaining or educating the child.

Electronics may be contained within the tray 130 or the child seat 100 for supporting the operation of the screen 134 or other electronic components of the child seat. The electronics of the child seat may contain pre-programmed videos or interactive programs. The child seat may comprise an electronics port 136. The port 136 may comprise a media card reader, such as a Secure Digital (SD) card reader. The port 136 may also receive an electronic connection, such as a universal serial bus (USB) or IEEE 1394 connection, for receiving information or data from another device.

Child Seat, Headrest Wings, and Frame

The child seat back 120 has two headrest wings 121, 122. The wings are adjustable radially inward toward the middle of the back 120, as shown in the F direction of FIG. 2, to laterally support a child's head. In one embodiment, the wings 121, 122 have a home position where they are substantially co-planar with the child seat back 120. In another embodiment, the wings may be in a home position when the child seat is in a compact position. In a fully extended position, the wings may be at an angle greater than 45 degrees from the plane occupied by the child seat back. The headrest wings 121, 122 displaced from a vertical midline 120a of the back portion in opposite lateral directions. In one embodiment, the headrest wings 121, 122 are displaced an equal distance from a vertical midline 120a of the back portion in opposite lateral directions. The child seat back 120 is comprised of a strong material for supporting the child seat. The strong material may be covered by a softer material for cushioning the child user. The soft material is covered by a covering fabric. The strong material is attached to or integrated with the child seat frame 170. The child seat frame may be composed of metal, hard plastic, carbon fiber, or other strong material. In one embodiment, the frame is made of material that is both strong and lightweight so that weight is reduced.

Child Seat Belt

The child seat 100 has a belt 140 for securing a child in the child seat, when the child seat 100 is in a deployed position. In one embodiment, the belt may comprise two side belts 143, 141, and a center belt 142. The two side belts and the center belt connect with a connector 144. The connector 144 may be a buckle or other known methods of connecting belts. The belts 141, 142, 143 may, but need not be, connected at the horizontal center of the child seat back 120. The connector 144 may be adjustable, where excess belt lengths 141 a, 142a, 143a, of the belts 141, 142, 143 are folded back on the belts 141, 142, 143 as a result of adjustment at the connector 144. In another embodiment, the belt 140 may only comprise one belt that extends from one side of the child seat 100 to connect at a connector on the opposite side of the child seat. In another embodiment, the belt 140 may only comprise two belts. The belt may be adjustable to secure different size children in the child seat. The belt may also comprise other known methods of securing a child within a child seat.

Attachment Mechanism

The attachment mechanism 160 comprises two hooks 161, 162, and a lateral adjustment device 173. FIG. 2 shows that the hooks 161, 162 are attached to the frame 170 and extend vertically, arch over the top 103b of the adult seat back 103, and extend downward a distance on the back side 103a of the adult seat back 103. The hooks have an upper inside surface 161b, 162b along with a first inside surface 161c, 162c and an oppositely facing second inside surface 161a, 162a. The upper inside surface 161b, 162b engages the top 103b of the seat back and the oppositely facing second inside surface engages the back side 103a of the seat back 103 when the lateral adjustment device 173 fully engages the adult seat back 103. The hooks 161, 162 are adjustably attached to the frame 170. The hooks are adjustable in the vertical “A” direction as shown in FIG. 2. FIGS. 4 and 5 show one embodiment of the adjustable connection between the hooks 161, 162 and the frame 170. The hooks enter at the connection area 175 of the frame 170. The connection area 175 may comprise a receiving member 175a. The top of the receiving member 175a has a compression ring 171. The hooks have a connection end 161a. The connection end moves vertically in the “A” direction within the receiving member 175a.

In one embodiment, the hooks are rotatable within the receiving member. The hook 161 is rotatable so that the end portion of the hook 161, which corresponds to the second inside surface 161a, is movable towards or away from the vertical midline 120a of the child seat. The hook 162 is rotatable so that the end portion of the hook 162, which corresponds to the second inside surface 162a, is movable towards or away from the center of the child seat. This rotational movement allows the hooks 161, 162 to be moved closure to the seat for compact transportation or storage. The hooks may be locked in position by tightening the compression ring 171. Alternatively, the hooks may also be secured by other known devices for locking the rotational movement of a shaft.

In operation, the hooks are placed over the adult seat back 103 and the child seat bottom 110 is put in a lowered position, the bottom 110 lays on the underlying adult seat surface 102. The hooks are adjusted vertically so that the hooks 161, 162 rest on the top 103b of the adult seat back 103. When the hooks are so adjusted, a user tightens the tightening mechanism 177, which compresses the compression ring 171 and presses the top of the receiving member 175a against the connection end 161a of the hook 161. The compression prevents the vertical movement of the hook relative to the frame 170, therefore securing the child seat 100 in position on the adult seat 101. In another embodiment, the child seat 100 may comprise any known method of adjustably connecting a vertically movable member, such as the hooks, to a frame 170.

If the child seat is repeatedly used on the same or similarly sized adult seat 101, then the hooks need not be adjusted after the initially adjustment. The child seat 100 may be placed on the adult seat 101 ready for deployment with the hooks in a preadjusted condition. The child seat 100 may also comprise different size hook pairs, selectively insertable into the frame 170 to accommodate different sized adult seat backs 103.

Referring to FIG. 6, the lateral adjustment device 174 comprises a handle 176 attached to a shaft 173, and an engaging member 172. In one embodiment the shaft is threaded. At least one of the hooks contains an adjustment receiving hole 161c that is threaded to receive the threads 173a of the shaft 173. The engaging member 172 is located at an end of the shaft 173 opposite the handle.

In operation, after the hooks are adjusted to be in contact with the top 103b of the adult seat back 103, the lateral adjustment mechanism is adjusted so that the internal side 162c (FIG. 2) of the hook 162 contacts the backside 103a of the adult seat back 103. The internal side 162c of the hook may comprise a rubber or other cushioning material to protect the adult seat 101 and to prevent the hooks from sliding. If the backside 103a of the adult seat back 103 is flat the adjustment may occur until the internal side 162c of the hook 162 is flush against the backside 103a of the adult seat back 103. When the hooks contact the backside 103a of the adult seat back 103 they do not intrude into the space of the person occupying the seats or space behind the adult seat 101 with the child seat 100. The adjustment mechanism may secure the child seat 100 such that the back 120 ends slightly above the adult seat bottom 102 so as to allow for adult seats 101 with a curved intersection between the adult seat back 103 and the adult seat bottom 102.

If the shaft is threaded with positive threads, turning the handle 176 clockwise will move the engaging member 172 in the B direction toward the adult seat back 103. At the same time, turning the handle clockwise will move the hooks and an upper portion of the frame opposite of the B direction, causing the internal sides 162c of the hooks to contact the backside 103a of the adult seat back 103. The engaging member 172 is pivotably attached to the shaft 173. This pivot attachment allows the engaging member 172 to pivot in the X direction and the Y direction so as to more fully contact the adult seat back 103.

Securing Device

The child seat 100 also may comprise a securing device or cable 180. The cable 180, as shown in FIG. 2, has a hook 181, 182 at each end of the cable. One hook 181 connects to a top anchor 183. In operation, to secure the child seat 100 to a adult seat 101, the cable is wrapped around the back of the adult seat 101 and under the bottom 102 of the adult seat 101 so that the second hook 192 connects to a bottom anchor 184. The cable is normally secured around the adult seat 101 after the hooks 161, 162, and the lateral adjustment device 174 are properly adjusted for a given adult seat 101.

The bottom anchor 184 is carried by the child seat bottom 110. In one embodiment, the bottom anchor 184 may be attached to the front edge of the child seat bottom 110 or it may be attached to the closing strap 151. The top anchor 184 is carried by a top area of the frame 170. In one embodiment the top anchor may be connected to a portion of a hook.

Hood

The child seat 100 may comprise a hood 123 as shown in FIG. 2. The hood has a retracted position and an extended position. The extended position is shown in FIG. 2. The hood moves from a retracted position to an extended position in the C direction. The extended position provides privacy for the seated child. The hood in an extended position may also provide shade from the sun or protection from rain when the child seat 100 is used outside.

From the foregoing, it will be observed that numerous variations and modifications may be effected without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. It is to be understood that no limitation with respect to the specific apparatus illustrated herein is intended or should be inferred.