Imported: 10 Mar '17 | Published: 27 Nov '08
USPTO - Utility Patents
A high chair assembly (10) for an infant includes a frame (12) for resting on a supporting surface and a seat support (14) which is removably mounted on the frame (12). The seat support (14) is adapted to be self-supporting on the supporting surface when selectively removed from the frame (12). The seat support (12) may be in the form of a peripheral frame (40) supporting a seat and backrest comprised of flexible material (16) supported on the frame (40). The peripheral frame (40) may be moveably mounted relative to the frame (12) for movement between two or more positions including an upright and an inclined position. The frame (12) may have a base portion (29) and a leg portion (28) which is pivotally mounted on the base portion (29). This may allow for selective movement between an operative configuration and a folded configuration in which the leg portion (28) lies substantially co-planar with or at least substantially parallel to the base portion (29). The leg portion may be adjustable in length to provide for height adjustment of the seat support (14).
The present invention relates to a high chair assembly to enable an adult to feed an infant at a height which is comfortable for the adult. In particular, although not exclusively, the invention is particularly adapted to enable the infant to be disposed over a range of different heights, including particularly close to the ground. Another particular feature of the present invention, while the invention is not exclusively limited thereto, is that of a high chair assembly which is easy to fold into a configuration especially adapted for storage.
One known form of high chairs is configured in an A-frame to support a seat portion of the high chair. Such high chairs do permit some adjustment of height as well as adjustment to make the high chair somewhat more compact for storage. However, such high chairs do not collapse or fold in a particularly compact manner and therefore require a relatively large amount of room for storage. Known high chairs are often sold in a flat pack configuration and have parts which assemble by clicking the parts together. However, these high chairs do not easily come apart to facilitate compact storage. Furthermore, most known high chairs have a rigid seat portion which further adds to the bulk in the storage configuration.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a high chair assembly which addresses at least some of the aforementioned disadvantages or provides the public with a useful choice.
The foregoing prior art discussion is not to be taken as an admission of common general knowledge.
In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a high chair assembly for an infant including: a frame for resting on a supporting surface; and a seat support which is removably mounted on the frame, the seat support providing support for a seat wherein the seat support is adapted to be self-supporting on the supporting surface when selectively removed from the frame.
The frame may comprise a number of legs which engage with the supporting surface. In one alternative embodiment, the frame may comprise a pedestal type structure. However, in a most preferred form of the invention, the frame is a cantilevered construction which includes a base portion and a leg portion. The base portion may comprise frame members which define a rectangular base frame. Preferably, the leg portion extends upwardly from one side of the base portion and is inclined over the base portion for balance. There may be two leg struts which respectively support either side of the seat support. The frame may be made up of hollow metal sections which are fitted together with plastic molded fittings whereby the plastic molded fittings provide for relative adjustment. For example, the leg portion may be pivotable relative to the base portion for folding to a storage configuration.
The frame may support the seat support to be height adjustable. This may be achieved by the leg portion being extensible. For example, the two leg struts, of the leg portion may be telescopic and adjustable between a plurality of positions. One or more locking devices may be provided to lock the leg struts into position with one or more release actuators to selectively release the locking devices.
The releasable mounting between the frame and seat support may be achieved by the frame and seat support having mutual engagement portions. For example, the seat support may have a pair of spaced protrusions which engage with complimentary recesses in the frame. More specifically, the frame may comprise hollow extrusions in which the protrusions are received. In an alternative configuration, each of the frame and seat support may be provided with complementary fittings.
Preferably the releasable mounting is provided with a safety feature to preclude the seat support from being inadvertently removed from the frame. As such, the seat support and the frame may lock together with one or more release actuators to provide for disengagement. Preferably, the one or more release actuators require both hands to operate. Accordingly, latches may be provided in two spaced dispositions on the frame or seat support requiring two hands to operate respective latches. The latches may operate by a push button in each case.
The seat support may also be moveably mounted relative to the frame so that the seat may be adjusted between upright and inclined positions. Accordingly, the seat support may be pivotally mounted to the frame. Further, a locking device may be provided to lock the seat support in case of the various positions with release actuators provided to facilitate movement from one position to another.
As set out in the above statement of invention, the seat support is self-supporting in that it supports the seat in an upright or inclined position on the supporting surface. On removal from the frame, the seat support may be ready adapted for self-support on the supporting surface. Alternatively, the seat support may require adjustment for self-support on the supporting surface. For example, a support leg may be moveable from an inoperative to an operative position. Most preferably, the seat support may comprise a seat frame together with a supporting leg frame which is pivotally mounted to the seat frame. One or more locking devices and/or release actuators may be provided to effect movement of the pivoting leg frame.
The seat support may support a rigid seat. However, in a more preferred embodiment, the seat support is in the form of a support frame which supports a seat constructed of flexible material. For example, the seat may be comprised of cloth or fabric with weight supporting straps.
The high chair assembly may also be provided with a tray. Preferably, the tray is carried by the seat support for removal with the seat support when it is removed from the frame.
In accordance with a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a high chair assembly for an infant including: a frame for resting on a supporting surface; and a seat support in the form of a peripheral frame supporting a seat and backrest comprised of flexible material supported on the frame, the peripheral frame being moveably mounted relative to the frame for movement between two or more positions including an upright and an inclined position.
The frame may incorporate any of the features described above in connection with the first aspect of the invention. The seat support may have any of the features described above in connection with the first aspect of the invention. Preferably the assembly is such that the tray does not pivot with the seat portion. The flexible material may also incorporate a footrest.
In accordance with a third aspect of the present invention there is provided a high chair assembly for an infant including: a frame for resting on a support surface, the frame having a base portion and a leg portion which is pivotally mounted on the base portion for selective movement between an operative configuration and a folded configuration in which the leg portion lies substantially co-planar with or at least substantially parallel to the base portion; and a seat support providing support for an infant seat.
Preferably, the seat support is pivotally mounted on the frame for selective movement between an operative configuration and a folded configuration in which the seat support lies substantially co-planar with or at least substantially parallel to the frame.
Accordingly, the high chair assembly may be packed down to a relatively flat configuration which makes the assembly easy to carry and/or store. To facilitate the flat storage, the seat support may provide support for an upholstery or cloth seat as described above. Furthermore, the high chair assembly may also include a tray which is removable or foldable to facilitate storage.
Preferably, locking devices are provided to lock the high chair assembly in each of the configurations. Release actuators may also be provided to facilitate movement between the various operative and folded configurations. Any of the features described above in accordance with the first aspect of the invention may be incorporated into the third aspect of the invention.
In accordance with a fourth aspect of the present invention there is provided a high chair assembly for an infant including: a frame for resting on a support surface, the frame having a base portion and a leg portion extending upwardly from one side of the base portion and inclined over the base portion; and a seat support mounted on the leg portion providing support for a seat, wherein the leg portion of the frame is adjustable in length to provide height adjustment for the seat support.
Any of the features described above in connection with the first aspect of the invention may be incorporated into the fourth aspect of the invention.
This invention may also be said broadly to consist in the parts, elements and features referred to or indicated in the specification of the application, individually or collectively, and any or all combinations of any two or more of said parts, elements or features, and where specific integers are mentioned herein which have known equivalents in the art to which this invention relates, such known equivalents are deemed to be incorporated herein as if individually set forth.
The invention consists in the foregoing and also envisages constructions of which the following gives examples.
FIG. 1 illustrates the main components of the high chair 10 which include a frame 12 supporting a seat support 14. The seat support 14 supports a sling style seat made of fabric 16 which may be supported by appropriate straps or webbing (not shown) to support the weight of an infant. As will subsequently be explained, the seat support 14 is adjustable in its angle relative to the frame 14 by the use of a tilt release actuator 18.
Connected to the frame 12 is a tray assembly 20. The tray assembly 20 includes arms 22 and a tray top 24. The tray top 24 is slideable in the direction indicated by arrow A relative to the arms 22. The assembly 20 may be removed in its entirety including tray top 24 and arms 22 using tray separation release actuators 26.
The frame 12 includes a leg portion 28 and a base portion 29. The leg portion 28 is pivotable relative to the base portion 29 through the use of folding release actuators 30, as will subsequently be explained. The base portion 29 is in the form of a peripheral frame which is approximately rectangular with castors 32 at each corner.
The leg portion 28 is made up of a pair of spaced leg struts 34 which are pivotally mounted on a common side of the base portion and extend at an inclined angle over the base portion 29. The leg struts 34 are extensible through the use of height adjustment release actuators 36.
In FIG. 2, the approximate form of the upholstery seat 16 can be seen more clearly. It will be appreciated from FIGS. 2 and 3 that the high chair assembly 10 is largely symmetrical about the longitudinal centre plane. Each of the actuators 18, 26, 30 has a counterpart on the other side of the assembly 10, requiring respective hands to operate. This functions as a safety device minimising the risk that a child will be able to effect any of the possible adjustments.
From the rear view in FIG. 2, it can be seen that the frame 12 also includes a cross bar 38 for constructional stability.
In FIGS. 4 and 5, the seat support 14 and the frame 12 are shown separately. The seat support 14 may be removably mounted in the frame 12. The seat support is in the form of an approximately rectangular peripheral frame 40. On either side of the peripheral frame are provided tilt adjustment housings 42 with dependent spigots 44. The spigots 44 are received in the open ends 46 of respective leg struts 34 as shown in FIG. 4. Each of the tilt adjustment housings 42 also includes a separation release actuator 48 which moves an associated engagement tooth 51 in and out of engagement with a detent (not shown) in the associated upper end of the leg strut 34. Therefore, on depression of the separation release actuators 48, the seat support 14 can be removed from its mounting with the frame 12. It will be appreciated that to remove the seat support 14, both actuators 48 will need to be depressed by respective hands, thereby minimising accidental removal of the seat support.
FIG. 6 illustrates the components within one of the tilt adjustment housings 42. The tilt adjustment housing includes a first part 50 which is pivotable relative to a second part 52. The first part 50 includes an integral first spigot portion 54. A discrete second spigot portion 56 is connectable to the first spigot portion 54 to house the separation release actuator 48 therebetween. The separation release actuator 48 is pivotally mounted between the two spigot portions 54, 56 and a spigot spring 58 biases the separation release actuator 48 so that the button portion 60 protrudes through aperture 62 in first spigot portion 54 and the engagement tooth 51 is biased outwardly through aperture 64 in second spigot portion 56.
Referring to FIG. 7 for greater clarity, it can be seen that the first and second parts 50 and 52 of the tilt adjustment housing 42 are both approximately cylindrical in form to house a cog 66 therebetween. Both parts 50, 52 of the housing have an internal shape which is complementary to the cog 66 so that when the cog 66 is engaged with both parts 50, 52, both parts will be held in fixed disposition relative to one another. There may be a number of different relative positions for the housing parts 50, 52 as determined by the shape of the cog teeth 66. Further, stops may be provided to limit rotation of the first part 50 relative to the second part 52.
Cog spring 68 biases the cog 66 toward the first part 50. The first part 50 is also provided with an annular flange 70 incorporating arcuate slots (not shown). The tilt release actuator 18 is in the form of a push button having dependent arcuate projections 72. These projections 72 extend through the arcuate slots. When the tilt release actuator 18 is pushed, the projections 72 will bear against the cog 66 to push the cog 66 out of engagement with the complementary internal shape. This thereby releases the housing part 50 for pivotal movement relative to housing part 52 around pivot pin 76. The angle of adjustment of the spigot 44 relative to the peripheral frame 40 of the seat support 14 can thereby be adjusted. Since the spigots 44 are received in the open end 46 of the leg struts 34, the angle of the seat support 14 can accordingly be adjusted. It will be appreciated that it will be necessary to depress both tilt release actuators 18 on opposite sides of the seat support to effect the adjustment. In the present embodiment, adjustment can be effected between a feeding position illustrated in FIG. 1 and an inclined position illustrated in FIG. 8.
FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate the components making up the tray assembly 20. The tray assembly 20 includes a pair of spaced arms 22 which are substantially encased between the tray top 24 and tray base 80. Each arm 22 is made up of a tray arm housing 82 and a partial backing plate 84. The plate 84 includes a pair of spaced fulcrums 86 on which is mounted a tray separation release actuator 26 having a pair of spaced pivot pins 88. One end of the release actuator 26 is provided with a depressible button portion 90. The other end of the release actuator 26 is biased by means of a spring (not shown) away from the tray arm housing 82 so that the button portion 90 extends through an associated aperture 92 in tray arm housing 82.
Reverting to FIG. 5, it can be seen that each tilt adjustment housing 42 includes forwardly extending receptors 94 to receive the rearward ends 96 of the tray arms 22. Receptors 94 also include an aperture 98 to receive the button portion 90 of the tray separation release actuator 26. When the button portion 90 is depressed, it will be removed from engagement within aperture 98 to thereby release the tray arm from the associated receptor 94. It will be appreciated that both button portions 90 of the tray separation release actuator 26 need to be depressed on opposite sides of the tray assembly 20 to release the tray assembly 20 from engagement with the receptors 94. The tray assembly 20 is therefore removed together with the tray arms 22. From a review of FIG. 7, it can be seen that the receptors 94 form part of the first part 50 of the tilt adjustment housing 42, this being the part which is secured to frame 12 by means of the spigot 44. Accordingly, the receptors 94 do not pivot with the seat support 14 and thus, even when the seat support 14 is tilting as shown in FIG. 8, the tray assembly 20 and the tray top 24 will remain in a substantially level configuration.
The tray top 24 and the tray base 80 are also slideable relative to the tray arms 22. As shown in FIG. 10, a tray adjustment mechanism 100 includes a Y-shaped linkage 102 with a finger slot 104 disposed in the bottom of the Y. The figure slot 104 is accessible through an aperture 106 in the tray base 80. In the home position, the finger slot 104 will be disposed at the inner end of the aperture 106 closest to the seat. The Y-shaped linkage 102 is adapted for sliding movement with a slot 107 guiding the sliding movement as determined by pin 108 integral with the tray top 24. A pair of spaced springs 110 biases the Y-shaped linkage 102 towards the home position, as depicted by arrow B.
Each end of the Y-shaped linkage 102 is pivotally connected to a respective dog-leg linkage 112 which is pivotally mounted about pivot 114. Each dog-leg linkage 112 is biased in the direction of arrow C by means of spring 116. The dog-leg linkages 112 each has a tang 118 which is received in a slot 120 of the associated tray arm housing 82. Although not shown, the slot 120 includes a series of detents along its length and the tang 118 may be selectively disposed in one of the detents. Accordingly, to adjust the relative position of the tray top 24 to the arms 22, the user actuates the adjustment mechanism 100 by pulling the Y-shaped linkage 102 by means of finger slot 104. A movement in the direction opposite to arrow B rotates each of the dog-leg linkages 112 about associated pivots 114 to withdraw the tangs 118 from the slots 120. Thus, the tray top 24 together with tray base 80 may be moved to a selected one of a series of relative positions.
As shown in FIG. 9, two link arms 122 extend between the two tray arm housings 84 to prevent a parallelogram type movement of the tray arms.
FIGS. 11 and 12 illustrate the components of a folding mechanism 130 to enable the base portion 29 to fold relative to the leg portion 28 as depicted in FIG. 13. Each side of the high chair is provided with a folding mechanism 130 as illustrated in FIG. 11. A folding mechanism 130 is incorporated into the two forward corners of the rectangular peripheral frame making up the base portion 29. The mechanism 130 includes first and second parts 132, 134 of a cog housing which houses a cog 136 which is biased towards the first part 132 by means of the cog spring 138. The folding release actuator 30 includes two spaced arcuate projections 140 which project through arcuate recesses 142 on the first part 132 of the cog housing as best shown in FIG. 12. The two parts 132, 134 of the cog housing define spindle parts 142, 144 along which the tooth cog 136 may slide.
When the folding release actuator 30 is depressed the arcuate projections 140 push the toothed cog into the second part 134 of the cog housing and out of engagement with the complementary shaped recesses of the first part 132. The second part 134 will thereby be permitted to rotate relative to the first part 132. It can be seen in FIG. 13 that the leg portion 28 of the frame is received within a mounting spigot 145 of the second part 134. Likewise, the base portion 29 is received in the mounting spigot 146 integrally connected to first part of the cog housing. Accordingly, on depression of the folding release actuator 30, the leg portion 28 will be permitted to rotate relative to the base portion 29. Depending upon the configuration of the cog 136, the leg portion 28 may adopt any one of a series of relative dispositions. Stops may be provided to limit the degree of relative rotation. In FIG. 13, the leg portion and the base portion are fully folded so that they lie substantially parallel to one another forming a compact configuration.
It can be seen that given the configuration of the cog 136 with two teeth disposed at 180, there will only be a single locking position for the leg and base portions 28, 29 in the operative configuration. Thus the frame will not be locked in the folded configuration. The seat support 14 may also be oriented to a folded position relative to the frame 12 where it lies substantially parallel to or is coplanar with the frame 12. In FIG. 14, the tray assembly 20 has been removed. Given that the seat 16 is constructed of flexible material, it can be seen that the folded configuration of the high chair 10 without the tray assembly 20 is essentially planar. FIG. 15 illustrates the high chair without the seat 16 for clarity.
FIG. 16 is a rear perspective illustrating the seat portion 14 once it has been removed from the frame 12. Each tilt adjustment housing 42 includes a swivel mounting 150 for a pivotal rear leg 152. The pivotal rear leg 152 is in the form of a U-shaped frame, each end of which is attached to a respective swivel mounting 150. The pivotal leg 152 is rotatable to the position illustrated in FIG. 17 where it locks into position. In the configuration shown in FIG. 17, the seat portion 14 is thus able to be self-supporting on a supporting surface such as the ground.
FIG. 18 illustrates the seat support from the front. In FIG. 19, in the assembled configuration of the high chair 10, it can be seen that the seat portion 14 has been moved to a lowered position on the frame 12. This is achieved through the use of height adjustment release actuators 36.
FIGS. 21 and 22 illustrate the components of each height adjustment mechanism 160 from the outer side in FIG. 21 and inner side in FIG. 22. Each of the leg struts 34 is telescopic and comprises an outer portion 162 and an inner portion 164. The inner portion 164 has a longitudinal recess 166 on the inner side which receives an elongate rack 168 with detents. The inner part 164 assembled with the rack 168 is slideable within the outer portion 162.
The height adjustment mechanism 160 includes an outer housing portion 170 and an inner housing portion 172 which form an enclosure around the outer portion 162. Received within the enclosure are the height adjustment release actuator 36 and fulcrum plate 176. The fulcrum plate 176 and the inner housing 174 each have fulcrum recesses 174 which together define a fulcrum for the height adjustment release actuator 36. The release actuator 36 has pivot pins 178 received in the fulcrum. A spring 180 is mounted on spring spigot 182 as shown in FIG. 22.
As further shown in FIG. 22, the outer portion 162 has positioning slots 184 for the positioning tabs 186 disposed on the outer side of the fulcrum plate 176. When the housing portions 170, 172 are assembled around the outer portion 162 then the positioning tabs 186 secure the position of the fulcrum plate 176 relative to outer portion 162. Likewise, positioning tabs 188 on the inner face of the outer housing portion 170 are received in positioning slots 190 on the outer face of the outer portion 162 to secure the position of the outer housing portion 170.
The fulcrum plate 176 and the inner face of the outer portion 162 have aligned apertures 190, 192 through which the pawl 193 of the release actuator extends. The pawl 193 is normally biased to extend through apertures 190, 192 by the operation of spring 180 against the underside of the release actuator. The pawl 193 engages in one of a series of detents provided in the rack 168. Therefore, to operate the height adjustment mechanism the user depresses the end of the release actuator opposite the pawl 193 to thereby remove the pawl 193 from engagement with the rack 168. By griping the housing portions 170, 172 the user may thereby lift the outer portion 162 relative to the inner portion 164 of the leg strut 34. It will be appreciated that in order to height adjust the frame 12, both release actuators 36 must be depressed with respective hands. This prevents inadvertent operation of the height adjustment mechanism. As can be seen from FIG. 22, a stop 194 is receive in the end of inner portion 164 which prevents the inner portion 164 from being withdrawn from the outer portion 162 beyond the height adjustment mechanism 160.
The foregoing describes only one embodiment of the present invention and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the scope of the invention.