US 20040021353 A1
A child's seat, more specifically a child's seat that is capable of engaging the handle of a wheeled luggage container. The child's seat includes a platform for the child to sit on and a back rest, the platform and back rest being attached by a hinge and foldable from a use position where the two platforms are perpendicular to one another to a folded position where the platforms fold so that their planes parallel to one another. The seat back platform contains a loop that will engage the handle of the luggage container such that the handle will maintain the seat back against a flat surface of the luggage container when the seat back is in a used position.
1. A foldable child's seat for engagement with a wheeled luggage container, the luggage container tiltable between an upright and a tilted position, the luggage container having a handle, the foldable child's seat comprising:
a seat assembly including a seat bottom platform and a seat back platform and a hinge for connecting the seat bottom platform to the seat back platform;
a support means adapted to engage the luggage carrier such that the seat back platform will lay adjacent a side of the luggage container; and
means for engaging the support means to the seat back platform.
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 This is a continuation in part and claims priority from U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/208,978, filed Jul. 31, 2002.
 A child's seat, more specifically a child's seat capable of engaging a wheeled luggage container.
 Applicant's invention relates to luggage containers and children's seats and a unique combination thereof. Recently, luggage containers have become popular, which luggage containers often include at least a pair of wheels along a bottom edge thereof and a handle, frequently an extensible handle, engaging an upper surface thereof. The handle may be extended from the end of the luggage and the luggage tilted to form an oblique angle with a support surface such as an airport floor. This allows the easy wheeling of luggage across an airport, even heavy luggage, since the floor is supporting much of the weight of the luggage where the luggage wheels meet the floor. When the traveler reaches their destination, the extendable handle may be retracted back into a suitable pocket along a wall of the luggage container. One such suitcase is manufactured by Atlantic. Other similar luggage containers are manufactured by Skyway, Samsonite and other leading luggage container manufacturers.
 Applicant has recognized a problem that frequently occurs when a family is traveling with young children. This problem manifests itself in the often long journey through an airport to the desired gate when the adults must contend with luggage and small children in a crowded, noisy, confusing atmosphere. Applicant recognized that it would help if a child could be confined, in a convenient way so as to prevent the child from wandering off. However, the customary wheeled stroller represents a significant amount of bulk merely for the convenience of confining a child to a wheeled conveyance during movement through an airport. Applicant has discovered the unique invention disclosed and contained herein, which novel invention provides a folding child's chair that in a folded position will store conveniently within a luggage container but in an expanded position will engage the wheeled luggage container in a manner such that the chair is supported by the luggage itself and placing the child's weight over the wheels of the container.
 What Applicant provides is a foldable child's seat capable of engaging a luggage container, such as a luggage container having at least a pair wheels. More specifically, the handle or top of the luggage container acts as a support brace for engaging the foldable chair. The foldable chair includes a loop for engaging the extendable handle or to the top of the luggage container and has a seat portion including a seat back and a seat bottom that are hingedly engaged so as to lay perpendicular to one another and provide support for the buttocks and the back of the child.
 In its simplest embodiment, Applicant provides two platforms, hingedly engaged to one another so that a first platform, for example a seat bottom platform, may lay perpendicular to a second platform, for example a seat back platform. From the seat back platform is hingedly engaged a luggage attachment member, which member is designed and adapted to extend generally perpendicular to the seat back platform when in a use position.
 In another preferred embodiment, Applicant's seat includes a seat bottom frame and a seat back frame, the two frames typically made of aluminum tubing and being generally rectangular and/or similarly dimensioned. The two frames are pivotally engaged to one another and include a cover, the cover typically being cotton, woven fabric, plastic or any suitable flexible member. A hinge engages the two platforms so that they may be pivoted one respect to the other so they lay in a folded position parallel to one another and in an extended position perpendicular to one another. The frames may support the seat cover to provide a convenient resting place for the child or other weight. From the seat back portion, a support loop may be pivotally engaged so it can lay, in a first or storage position, parallel to the two platforms of the seat and in an extended or use position, perpendicular to the seat back platform.
 A number of advantages are achieved by Applicant's novel seat and the combination of Applicant's novel seat with a wheeled, handle extendable luggage container. Those advantages include effectively securing a child to the wheeled luggage container for ease of transport through, for example, an airport. The advantages include simplicity and compactness, such that the foldable child's luggage chair is easy to travel with. The advantages of Applicant's novel design include ease in adapting the chair to the luggage as well as simplicity in the manufacture of the chair.
 These and other advantages or objects are provided in a foldable child's seat adaptable to engagement with an extendable handle or top of a luggage container, the foldable seat including a generally rectangular seat bottom platform hingedly engaged to a generally rectangular seat back platform so that the two may fold together in a stored position when they fold out in a use position, wherein in the use position the two platforms are perpendicular to one another.
 The novel child's foldable seat chair for engagement with an extendable handle or the back wall of a wheeled luggage container may also include a support loop extending from the seat back platform, which support loop has a removed end, the removed end for engagement with the extendable handle of the wheeled luggage container, the support loop foldable so that it can lay in a stored position adjacent the two platforms and in the use position can extend perpendicular to the seat back platform.
 Applicants provide additional embodiments of a child's seat engageable to a luggage carrier in providing a flexible strap for engaging a luggage carrier, typically at a handle, which flexible strap also engages a fabric sling with a rigid bottom seat, for enclosing a child, typically from the waist down. The sling may have leg hole cutouts in a front wall thereof, which front wall may be supported by straps extending from the flexible luggage engaging a loop.
 Yet a further embodiment of Applicants' present invention includes a child's chair with a pivotal armrest engaged to a seatback frame, the armrest foldable between a closed or nonuse position and a use position, the use position being a position in which the armrest, supported by hinges or the like, extends perpendicular from the seatback frame and provides a location for the child to rest his or her arms as they are seated in the child's chair.
 In yet a further embodiment of Applicants' present invention, a pair of legs are adapted to extend obliquely outward from a lower perimeter of the chair to engage the floor to prevent a child seated in the seat with the seat engaged to an upright luggage carrier from tipping forward.
 In yet another alternate preferred embodiment of Applicants' present invention, a support arm or a support frame extends perpendicularly downward from a forward edge of the seat bottom frame to engage the floor to help stabilize a seated child and prevent the seat from tipping forward as, for example, when attached to an upright luggage container. A number of configurations are provided to achieve this function, some of which include means to adjustably set the distance between the forward edge of the seat bottom frame and the floor.
 In a number of embodiments discussed above, Applicants disclose various means to provide engagement from a seat assembly, comprising a seatback frame and a seat bottom frame (or platforms) with the handle, the top, or the back edge of a luggage carrier.
 In yet another alternate preferred embodiment of Applicants' present invention, means are provided to engage the seat assembly, typically at an upper perimeter or edge of the seat back frame or platform, with a means to engage the body of the luggage container itself, rather than an extended handle.
 In yet another alternate preferred embodiment of Applicants' present invention, a foot support brace or frame is provided, foldably articulating with the seat assembly (typically from a forward edge of the seat bottom frame) to provide a place for a child to place their feet. This foot bar assembly may incorporate an adjustable downwardly depending leg or legs which will engage the floor to provide stability to a child seated in the chair when the chair is engaged to the luggage to prevent, for example, the chair assembly tipping forward.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of Applicant's novel folding seat attached to the handle of a wheeled luggage container.
FIG. 2 is an exploded, partially cutaway view, in perspective, of a cover of Applicant's folding seat and the manner in which it engages the frame of the foldable seat.
FIG. 3 is a side elevational cutaway view of the foldable seat of Applicant's invention.
FIG. 4 is a bottom elevational view of the seat of Applicant's invention illustrating the seatbelts thereof.
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of Applicant's seat in a folded condition illustrating the manner in which a stow bag engages the folded seat.
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of alternate preferred embodiment of Applicant's foldable luggage seat illustrating platforms and hinges to maintain the platforms in perpendicular relation when in a use position and folded when in a stored position. FIG. 6 also illustrates a nonrigid (flexible) support loop, such as a cord.
FIGS. 7A, B, C, and D are perspective, side, front and top views of an alternate preferred embodiment of Applicants' child seat which alternate preferred embodiment includes a sling to seat the child from about the chest or waist down, which sling has leg holes cut out in a forward wall thereof and which sling typically has a rigid bottom and is suspended from a luggage handle by an adjustable fabric strap.
FIGS. 8A through 8E illustrate perspective, detailed and a side, front and top views of yet another alternate preferred embodiment of Applicants' present invention, which features include an armrest foldable and articulating from the frame of the child seat assembly and legs depending downward therefrom.
FIGS. 9A through 9E illustrate an alternate preferred embodiment of Applicants' invention and features thereof including a T-bar assembly and a support loop.
FIGS. 10A through 10C illustrate elevational views of Applicants' seat in a folded condition (10A and 10B), which seat features luggage container engaging means, which means engage the body of the luggage carrier rather than the handle and in FIG. 10C the seat in a use position mounted to a luggage container.
FIG. 10D is a perspective view of an alternate preferred embodiment of the present invention.
FIGS. 10E and 10F discloses a child's folding chair which is integrated with a luggage container.
FIGS. 11A through 11C illustrate perspective, perspective and side elevational views of an alternate preferred embodiment of Applicants' present invention which includes a foot rest assembly or frame depending from the seat bottom frame and also adjustable support means for engaging a support surface to assist in stabilization of the chair when a child is seated in the chair and the chair is engaged to a luggage container. FIG. 11D illustrates a hair entanglement prevention cover of the childs seat.
 Reference to FIGS. 1 through 5, illustrate, at the outset, a luggage container (LC) having wheels (W) and a handle (H). The luggage container illustrated is merely representative of many similarly wheeled and handled luggage containers of the prior art, having a number of different shapes and sizes and construction designs. Applicant's novel foldable child's seat (10) is designed, as illustrated in FIG. 1 to engage the handle and walls of the luggage container (LC) in a manner set forth below, so as to provide a comfortable, sturdy seat in which when attached to the luggage container, a child may ride.
 It is seen that the general construction of the foldable child's seat (10) includes a seat bottom frame (12) hingedly engaged to a seat back frame (14), the two frames being able to lay in a folded position adjacent one another or in an open position perpendicular to one other, the two frames covered by an L-shaped cover (22). The seat back frame (14) has a support loop (16) hingedly engaged therewith, the support loop for engaging the extendable handle of luggage container (LC) such that the loop lays along a top surface of the luggage and the seat back frame lays perpendicular the loop and adjacent, and typically flush against a sidewall of the luggage (See FIG. 1). With the seat frame extending perpendicular to the seat back and sidewall of luggage, the combination of seat back and seat frame provides support to the back and buttocks and legs of a child when the child is seated in the foldable child's seat chair (10) and the seat chair (10) is engaged to the luggage container (LC) so as to ride on wheels (W) when tilted.
 Platforms may be used instead of seat bottom and seat back frames, however, a preferred embodiment of Applicant's present invention utilizes frames and fabric covers for lightness and simplicity. Indeed, reference to the figures illustrate a seat bottom frame (12) including a front rail (12A), side rails (12B and 12C) and rear rail (12D). Seat back frame (14) may include top rail (14A), side rails (14B and 14C) and bottom rail (14D). Support loop (16) as provided may include an end rail (16A), two side rails (16B and 16C) and a rear rail (16D). A first hinge (18), such as a piano hinge or any other suitable hinge device is provided for engaging seat bottom frame (12) to seat back frame (14). This is typically done by hingedly connecting rear rail (12D) of seat bottom to bottom rail (14D) of seat back. A support loop is provided with a second hinge (20), for attaching the rear rail (16D) of the support loop to the top rail (14A) of the seat back frame.
 The frame and support loop and the rails defining the frame and support loop may be manufactured from lightweight, durable aluminum tubing or any other suitable material. Cover (22) may be L-shaped and typically includes fabric defining an outer surface (22D) and inner surface (22E) separated by sidewalls (22F), the outer surface and inner surface defining an interior space that will slip over the seat bottom and seat back frame snugly so that the sidewalls (22F) engaged the side rails and front rail of the bottom frame and the side rails and the top rail of the seat back frame so that the fabric is what supports the child's weight, especially the fabric stretched between the sidewalls of the seat bottom frame. Cover (22), therefore includes a seat bottom portion (22A) and a seat back portion (22B). Side panels (22C) have edges that engage both the seat bottom portion and seat back portion as illustrated in FIG. 2 so that the side panels position the seat back and seat bottom in perpendicular relation when the foldable seat (10) is in a use position as illustrated in FIG. 1.
 Seat bottom frame, seat back frame and support loop may be folded to a closed position as illustrated in FIG. 5 and Applicant provides a suitably dimensioned fabric stow bag (28) dimensioned for receipt of the folded chair thereinto. Other features of Applicant's novel foldable child's seat may be appreciated with reference to FIGS. 1 and 5. For example, a seat/chest belt (24) may be provided for a 2, 3, 4 or 5 point suspension system, here illustrated with a 3-point suspension system including a chest and/or seat strap (24C) and a antisubmarine strap (24B), the three straps defining a 3-point suspension system engagable at buckle (24A). A 5-point system would include a pair of shoulder straps (not shown).
 The seat and/or chest belt (24) is designed to secure the child to the seat. An adjustable seat loop or securement strap 26 is designed to the secure seat assembly to the luggage container (LC) in the manner illustrated in FIG. 1 such that the back of the seat lays snug against the sidewalls of the luggage container. However, as is apparent with reference to FIG. 1, it can be seen that Applicant can provide a seat securement strap (26) for attachment to the seat back and/or seat bottom and capable of wrapping around the walls of the luggage to hold the seat back snug against the walls of the luggage container so as to act in conjunction with the support loop to secure the foldable child's seat (10) to luggage container (LC).
FIG. 6 illustrates the use of rigid platforms (30), (32) and a flexible cord or strap (34) in place of the rigid support loop. The cord or strap (34) may be adjustable. In this embodiment, only a single hinge (36) is necessary and side braces (38A), (38B) will hold the platforms perpendicular to one another when in use.
 While applicants device is typically used as a child seat it may be used to transport any load.
FIGS. 7A through 7D illustrate an alternate preferred embodiment of Applicants' present invention which includes a seat securement strap (26) with an adjustable buckle (26A). This embodiment also discloses a sling (40) comprising a fabric backwall (40A), sidewalls (40B) and (40C), front wall (40D) with leg cutouts (40E) therein. Sling (40) is designed to provide a side, back and front support to position a child in the seat and may include a seat bottom (112) which includes a fabric member (112A) attached to the back wall, side walls and front wall on a perimeter thereof which fabric member (112A) may support a rigid member (112B) such as a thin sheet of plywood sheet metal or fiberglass dimensioned to act as a bottom seat member and support a child therein. Support straps (42) may be provided for engagement with flexible cord or strap (34) having a buckle (34A) connecting the removed ends thereof, which buckle may provide adjustment for the length of flexible cord (34) for engagement with a handle of a luggage carrier LC as set forth in FIG. 7C.
FIGS. 8A through 8E provide yet another alternate preferred embodiment of Applicants' present invention which embodiment may include an armrest (44), the armrest including front rail (44A), side rails (44B) and (44C), which side rails are typically pivotally engaged to seatback frame (14) in a position such that the armrest, when in a use position, extends approximately perpendicular from the seatback frame and provides support for the arms of a child. This embodiment may also include a rigid platform (30) for providing vertical support to the seated child in the manner of seat bottom frame (12). FIG. 8A and the accompanying figures also illustrate the use of extendable floor engaging legs (48) typically-having resilient caps (48A) at the removed ends thereof. The legs are designed to engage a portion of the seat chair structure, typically the seatback frame or the seat bottom frame at a near end thereof and, the removed end thereof to engage the floor when the luggage is in an upright position as illustrated in FIG. 8C. This will prevent the chair and luggage from tumbling forward. Detent assembly (46), including sleeve (46A), which sleeve is dimensioned to slide over the bottom ends of side rails (14B) and (14C), may allow the legs to pivot outward, here at an angle of approximately 140° when viewed from the top (see FIG. 8E) such that the legs (48) not only provide some support to prevent the chair from tipping forward, but also some lateral or side-to-side support.
FIGS. 9A through 9E illustrate an alternate preferred embodiment including a T-bar assembly (50) which assembly includes a T-bar (52), the T-bar assembly and T-bar, typically extending downward from a front rail.(12A) of seat bottom frame (12) to engage a floor or support surface and provide stability in the manner of legs (48). It is seen that T-bar (52) may include a cross arm (52A) attached to the removed end of a leg (52B), which leg may be received within a sleeve 54, the sleeve having a multiplicity of spaced apart holes (54A). Holes (54A) may align with and engage holes (not shown) in leg (52B) through the use of a suitable fastener (not shown) to adjustably set cross arm (52A) at a preselected distance below seat bottom frame (12) to help provide stability to the chair. A detent assembly may also be used for vertical adjustment in place of a fastener. A detent assembly (56) including a vertical tube (56A) and a horizontal tube (56B) may be provided, the horizontal tube (56B) slidably enclosing a portion of front rail (52A), the detent assembly sleeve and horizontal tube for allowing the T-bar assembly (50) to pivot between a folded position where it would lay flush in a plane with support loop (16), seatback frame (14) and seat bottom frame (12) and in a use position with the four elements perpendicular to one another as set forth in FIG. 9A (when the seat is engaged to a luggage carrier to carry a child therein). Hinges such as hinge (18) and/or detent assemblies such as those known in the art would allow such folding between a stored and a use position.
FIG. 9B illustrates a preferred embodiment of Applicants' present invention including a single sheet fabric bottom cover (60A) and fabric back cover (60B), both fabric covers suspended between the members of seat bottom frame and seatback frame as illustrated. An additional feature of the preferred embodiment illustrated in FIG. 9B is the provision for a rigid support loop (116) having at a removed end thereof lip (116A) downwardly depending from the support loop to engage the body of the luggage container rather than the handle. Support loop (116) is seen to include side rails (116B) and (116C) which at a near end thereof are provided with hinges (120) to pivotally engage top rail (14A) of seatback frame (14). Seat securement strap (26) is included. Side rails (116B) and (116C) may slidably receive lip (116A) therein, and may also have a multiplicity of holes and with a fastener (or a detent assembly), similar to the T-bar assembly illustrated in FIG. 9A to provide a means for adjustably setting the position of the lip from the seatback frame to allow the child's chair to be used on both thick luggage and thin luggage containers. FIG. 9C illustrates a detent assembly (56/58) that can be used at both a T-bar assembly (50) and where support loop (116) engages a top rail of seatback frame (or any other place on the device). Detent assembly (56/58) may include spring (58A) having a button (58B) at one removed end thereof for engaging holes (58D) and sleeve (58C), see FIGS. 9D and 9E. Detent assemblies allow members to be set about perpendicular to one another with a ball secured in a hole or, with a ball depressed to allow the members to be rotated one with respect to the other to provide for a folded position where storage position of the child's chair.
FIGS. 10A through 10C an alternate preferred embodiment of securing the chair to an upper portion of the luggage. Previous embodiments illustrate rigid or fabric loops for either engaging the handle or a rear edge of the luggage carrier. In the preferred embodiment illustrated, support loop (216) is seen to include sleeves (216A) and (216B), the sleeves including holes (216C) therein. The two sleeves are dimensioned to engage a pair of legs (216D) and (216E), which legs are “L” shaped, typically, and set perpendicular thereto are luggage engaging members (216E) and (216G). Holes in the legs and sleeves allow, with the use of detents, pins or fasteners (216D) for the ability to adjustably set the distance from leg engaging members (216E) and (216G) to the top rail of seatback frame (14). Support loop (216) may be provided with yet another detent assembly (62) to allow the support loop (216) to pivotally engage seatback frame in a manner which it allows it to be rigidly set about perpendicular to the seatback frame in a first position, for use (see FIG. 10C) and in a second position, for storage such as illustrated in FIGS. 10A and 10B, folded so that it is flush with the seatback frame. Note that support loop (216) is adapted to be pivotally received onto seatback frame (14) and, in addition, is provided with a detent assembly to allow sleeves (216A) and (216B) with legs to be adjustably set therein to the appropriate preselected distance, and to be folded in a position illustrated in FIG. 10A for ease of storage, to a position illustrated in FIG. 10C which position is a use position.
FIG. 10D illustrates an alternate preferred embodiment of Applicants' present invention which may comprise a support loop (300) which does not engage either handle or a back lip of the luggage container LC. Instead, Applicants' support loop (300) is hinged (302) to be foldable between a folded or nonuse position similar to that illustrate in FIGS. 10A and 10B to a use position where support loop (300) is locked, as by detent assemblies or hinges disclosed herein to a position approximately perpendicular to seatback frame (14). Thus, support loop (300) in this embodiment functions to provide some vertical support to the seat assembly since it is positively retained at approximately a perpendicular angle to the seatback. Note seat securement strap (26) is used in conjunction with this alternate preferred embodiment to help maintain the seatback flush against the sidewall of the luggage container. Note that while FIG. 10D does not illustrate embellishments and features of Applicants' other alternate preferred embodiments, such as armrest, depending legs, footrest, seatbelts, etc., it is understood that any and all of the features illustrated herein with other alternate preferred embodiments may be utilized with the preferred embodiment illustrated herein in FIG. 10D. Likewise, FIGS. 10E and 10F illustrate a chair that is integral with the carrying case itself, here, integral with the frame of the carrying case.
FIGS. 1A through 1C illustrate yet another alternate preferred embodiment of Applicants' present invention. While some of the previous embodiments have been constructed of round steel or aluminum tubing, the preferred embodiment illustrated features square steel or square aluminum tubing. Further, the luggage attachment strap is sewn to a fabric comprising part of the seatback assembly. A piano hinge may be welded or fixed with fasteners to engage the seatback to the seat bottom frame. Further, FIG. 11A illustrates the use of an attractive enamel paint or powder coating for painting frame members. A foot rest (64) is illustrated to provide support for a child's feet, when the child is seated in the chair assembly of the invention. Foot rest (64) includes a pair of vertical legs (64A) and (64B) depending downward from typical engagement with the seat bottom frame on a pair of hinges or detent assemblies (64D). The hinges or detent assemblies (64D) may be used at other hinged junctions in these specifications. A horizontal bar (64C) extends between the removed ends of the vertical legs. An alternate preferred T-bar assembly (150) maybe provided, which T-bar assembly includes T-bar (152) and a T-bar cross arm (152A). In this alternate preferred embodiment, the cross arm may be adjustably set below the horizontal bar of the foot rest (64) by means of a threader rod (152B) for receipt into sleeve (152C). Sleeve (152C) may have attached at a removed end thereof, by welding or other means, a hex nut (152D) with threads matching the sleeve. A wing nut (152E) may act as a lock nut such that when the cross bar is rotated to achieve the desired distance below the seat frame, one can then set up the wing nut until it is immediately adjacent and tight against the hex nut. This provides a convenient means to set the distance of cross arm (152A) beneath the foot rest to provide stability for the chair.
FIG. 11D illustrates a hair safety flap (153) that extends from the fabric or other structure defining the seat back platform and wraps around the hinge or any other structure near the top of the seat back platform and the loop or other luggage container engaging structure. The safety flap will prevent hair entanglement with the remaining elements of the assembly, as, for example, the hinges.
 In preferred embodiment the width of the seat back frame is between 10″ and 14″. The hinge between the seat back frame and the support loop may be a piano hinge that limits the angle between the two elements to about 70°.
 Although the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, this description is not meant to be construed in a limited sense. Various modifications of the disclosed embodiments, as well as alternative embodiments of the inventions will become apparent to persons skilled in the art upon the reference to the description of the invention. It is, therefore, contemplated that the appended claims will cover such modifications that fall within the scope of the invention.