Title:
BABY PONCHO
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A versatile poncho preferably for a child is provided. By its unique configuration, the poncho of the present invention allows for convenient and safe use for a child while fastened in a car safety seat. The preferred embodiment of the poncho includes an opening on a moveable panel and includes, under the opening, a flap, such that the moveable panel can be moved over the child's head so that the child may be strapped into a car safety seat more safely and comfortably because the child may be placed directly against the seat and the straps may be placed directly against the child without a bulky winter garment between the seat and the child, and the flap covers a portion of the child to provide thermal protection while being strapped in. A method of using the poncho and of fabricating and assembling the poncho is also disclosed.



Inventors:
Slutzky, Susan (Deerfield, IL, US)
Application Number:
12/561816
Publication Date:
03/18/2010
Filing Date:
09/17/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/87, 2/88, 2/243.1
International Classes:
A41D3/08; A41D3/04; A41D27/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCANDREWS HELD & MALLOY, LTD (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. An apparatus for keeping a child warm comprising: a fixed front panel; a rear flap; a movable panel wherein said movable panel contains an opening large enough to allow the movable panel to be flipped over a child's head such that the panel can be located either in front of or behind the child.

2. The apparatus in claim 1, wherein said opening is elastic.

3. The apparatus in claim 1, further comprising: a turtle neck collar.

4. The apparatus in claim 1, further comprising: a hood.

5. The apparatus in claim 1, wherein said apparatus is composed of water proof material.

6. The apparatus in claim 1, wherein said apparatus is composed of fleece material. tech. flap.

7. The apparatus in claim 1, wherein said apparatus is composed of polar

8. A method for manufacturing a poncho, the method comprising: attaching a front panel to a rear flap; attaching a movable panel with an opening to the front panel and the rear flap.

9. The method of claim 8, further comprising: attaching a collar to the poncho.

10. The method of claim 8, further comprising: attaching a hood to the rear flap.

11. The method of claim 8, further comprising: attaching a hood to the rear flap through a fastening device or devices.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein said fastening device is a zipper.

13. The method of claim 11, wherein said fastening devices are buttons.

14. The method of claim 11, wherein said fastening devices are snaps.

15. A method for securing a child in a car seat, the method comprising: placing the child in the apparatus of claim 1; flipping the movable panel in front of the child; placing the child in the car seat; buckling the child into the car seat by fastening the car seat straps underneath the poncho.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/192,387, filed Sep. 18, 2008, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein in its entirety.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[Not Applicable]

MICROFICHE/COPYRIGHT REFERENCE

[Not Applicable]

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Thick winter coats or snowsuits can compromise a child's car seat or booster seat safety because the straps of the car seat or booster seat must be tightened against the child's chest in order for the safety device to function properly. Because of their bulk, winter coats and snowsuits decrease car seat safety because the child does not fit properly into the car seat. Additionally, if the car seat straps do not fit the child properly, there is a chance the child could be ejected from the car seat. All coats and clothing will compress in a crash, but thicker winter coats and snowsuits could compress enough to make the straps too loose allowing the child to be ejected from the car seat.

This invention provides a safer and easier alternative to common winter jackets because with this invention, the car seat straps can be tightened directly against the child's body rather than over a jacket. Moreover, the poncho covers the child on top of the straps to keep the child warm and protected from the climate while safe and secure in the car seat or stroller.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Certain embodiments of the present invention provide a poncho for keeping a child or an infant warm in cooler weather. The preferred embodiment of the device of the invention includes a fixed front panel, a rear flap, and a movable panel. The movable panel contains an opening near the top allowing the panel to be flipped over the child's head, such that it can be arranged behind the child or in front of the child. When the movable panel is flipped behind the child, the poncho resembles a standard poncho. The movable panel may also be flipped in front of the child, so that the movable panel rests on top of the front panel. When the movable panel is flipped forward, the child may be placed in a car seat or stroller without having the bulk of the poncho between the child and the car seat. This allows the child to be buckled underneath the poncho with the car seat straps snug against the child's body.

Certain embodiments of the present invention provide a method for fabricating a poncho. The preferred method includes assembling the front panel, the movable panel, and the rear flap. The rear flap is attached to the front panel at the top to form the shoulder area of the poncho and together they form a collar. Additionally, fabric may be added in order to form a turtle neck collar. The movable panel contains an opening large enough so that it can be flipped over a child's head. The opening may be made of flexible material, such as elastic. The moveable panel is attached on top of where the front panel and the rear flap meet. The poncho may optionally include a hood, which would be attached to the rear flap.

Certain embodiments of the present invention provide a method for placing a child safely into a car seat while the child is wearing a poncho. The preferred such method includes placing the child into the poncho, flipping the moveable panel in front of the child, placing the child into the car seat, and buckling the child into the car seat underneath the poncho. Once the child is buckled safely into the car seat, the poncho can be tucked around the child to keep the child warm.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a poncho for keeping an infant or child warm in cooler weather. FIG. 1 is a front view of the poncho.

FIG. 2 illustrates a view of the underside of the poncho of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 illustrates a top view of the poncho of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3A illustrates the hood portion of the poncho shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 4 illustrates a back view of the poncho of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4A is a back view when the movable flap has been flipped forward.

FIGS. 5-11 illustrate a series of steps for securing a child in a car seat while wearing a poncho of the present invention.

FIG. 12 illustrates a child wearing a poncho of the present invention.

FIG. 13 illustrates a child in a common stroller wearing the poncho of the present invention.

FIG. 14 illustrates sectional pieces which may be assembled when fabricating the poncho of FIG. 1.

FIG. 15 illustrates steps of a method of using the poncho of the present invention with a car seat.

The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of certain embodiments of the present invention, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the invention, certain embodiments are shown in the drawings. It should be understood, however, that the present invention is not limited to the arrangements and instrumentality shown in the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 1-4 illustrate a poncho for keeping an infant or child warm in cooler weather. FIG. 1 is a front view of the poncho. The poncho 100 includes a front panel 110, a movable panel 120, and a rear flap 130. The front panel 110 and the rear flap 130 form a collar (not shown). The poncho may optionally include a hood 150.

FIG. 2 illustrates a view of the underside of the poncho 100. The movable panel 120 contains an opening 160, which allows the panel to be flipped either in front of or behind the child. The border of the opening 160 may be made out of elastic or other stretchy, flexible material, so that the panel can be easily flipped regardless of the size of the child's head. The rear flap 130 is located directly beneath the movable panel 120, such that when the movable panel 120 is flipped over the child's head, the rear flap 130 fills the opening 160 in the movable panel 120 to cover the child's neck or back.

FIG. 4A illustrates a rear view of the poncho when the movable panel 120 is flipped forward. In this view, the movable panel 120 is flipped forward and the rear flap 130 is clearly visible. FIG. 3 illustrates a top view of the poncho. The front panel 110 and moveable panel 120 are both visible.

All parts of the poncho 100 including the front panel 110, the moveable panel 120, and the rear flap 130 may be made out of a variety of materials, such as but not limited to cotton, fleece, or polar tech. The poncho may be made out of water resistant material.

In certain embodiments of the present invention, the collar may be a turtle neck collar such that it fits snuggly around the child's neck to provide extra warmth. It can be made out of a variety of fabrics including those mentioned above. The collar provides extra warmth to the child.

In certain embodiments of the present invention, opening 160 of the movable panel 120 is designed with flexible material, such as elastic, so that the movable panel 120 can be flipped over the child's head comfortably and easily. Alternatively, the opening 160 may be made without stretchable material but simply be large enough to fit over the head of most children. No matter how big the opening 160, the child's neck, back, and shoulders can remain covered because the rear flap 130 fills the gap left by the opening 160.

Certain embodiments of the present invention may include a hood 150. The poncho may include no hood, an attached hood, or a detachable hood. A detachable hood may be secured to the poncho by a variety of fastening devices including a zipper, buttons, snaps, hook-and-loop fastener, or any other fastening device. The hood may be lined for additional warmth and comfort. When a hood and elastic opening are both included, the elastic opening will allow the movable panel 120 to be flipped without affecting the hood, even if the hood is on the child's head.

FIG. 10 illustrates material pieces to assemble for fabricating a poncho in accordance with an embodiment of this invention. The pieces to assemble as shown in FIG. 5 consist of the front panel 110, the movable panel 120, and the rear flap 130. The front panel 110 and the rear flap 130 are sewn together near the top shoulder region. The movable panel 120 is then attached at the shoulder region on top of where the front panel and the rear flap meet. The movable panel 120 contains an opening near the top that may be constructed out of elastic or other flexible material.

Additional fabric may be added to form optional parts of the poncho. For instance, additional fabric may be added to the collar in order to form a turtle neck collar. A hood 150 may also be added. The hood 150 may be attached. Where the hood 150 is attached it is sewn to the rear flap 130. In an alternative embodiment the hood 150 may be detachable. The detachable hood 150 may be attached to the poncho with buttons, snaps, a zipper, or another fastening device. In this embodiment, the fastening device 170 is attached directly to the rear flap 130 and the hood 150 is attached to the rear flap 130 through the fastening device.

FIG. 6 illustrates a flow diagram for a method 600 for securing a child in a car seat in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The method 600 includes the following steps, which will be described below in more detail. At step 610, a child in placed in a poncho. At step 620, the movable panel is flipped forward. At step 630, the child is placed in a car seat. At step 640, the child is buckled into the car seat underneath the poncho. And, movable panel 120 can remain covering the buckles and will provide extra warmth for the child.

At step 610, a child is placed into a poncho. For instance, the child may be placed in poncho 100. The child is placed into the poncho by putting the child's head through the turtleneck opening. At step 620, the movable flap is flipped to the front, such that only the rear flap 130 remains behind the child.

At step 630, the child is placed into a car seat. Because the movable flap has been flipped forward, the only fabric between the child and the car seat is the rear flap, which allows the child to fit snuggly and securely in the car seat.

At step 640, the child is buckled into the car seat. A person is able to buckle the child into the car seat by buckling and tightening the straps directly against the child's body underneath the poncho.

Removing the child from the car seat is also made easy by the present invention. The movable panel may be flipped back so that it rests over the back of the car seat. The child is then unbuckled and removed from the car seat. Because the movable flap has already been flipped to the back, the poncho will resemble a standard poncho once the child is removed from the car seat, thus providing maximum warmth for the child and ease for the adult. Moreover, because the adult can hold the child underneath the poncho, the method of removing the child may be more secure.

While the invention has been described with reference to certain embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from its scope. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.