BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to child safety car seats and in particular to a child safety car seat that has a pivotable seat which reclines while maintaining proximity with the vehicle seat back and seat bottom with a low center of gravity for safety.
2. Description of the Prior Art
While riding in cars, children normally wish to remain upright in a seated position to look around or play. But children often fall asleep while riding. In the safety child car seats, now required by law, a child falling asleep in a sitting position usually winds up with his or her head bent over in an uncomfortable position with the child's neck contorted downward and sideways and the child's head often falls forward in a potentially choking position unless the seat is reclined.
Some prior art child car seats are capable of reclining to allow the child to be in a comfortable position while sleeping and still be protected in the child car safety seat. Most prior art reclining seats fail to maintain a safe contact or close proximity to the vehicle seat back and seat bottom throughout the range of positions between an upright position and a reclined position or requires the moving of the child seat base to be somewhat dangling off the edge of the vehicle car seat in order to accommodate room for the child safety seat reclined position against the vehicle seat back.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,205,877, issued Jun. 3, 1980 to Ettridge, puts forth a child's car seat for sitting on the conventional seat of a vehicle and being retained therein by the vehicle safety belts, the car seat being moveable between a slumbering position and a sitting position by movement of a linkage system operated by a handle, whereby the linkage system incorporates an over center device so that the car seat is securely restrained in its two extreme positions.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,545,617, issued Oct. 8, 1985 to Drexler, concerns a safety chair for children adjustable in two positions, giving the child a sitting and a recumbent position, respectively. The seat and the back of the chair are mutually pivotally connected and the seat is adjustably connected to a horizontal base frame part, the back being pivotally connected to upstanding portions of said base frame. Preferably the seat and the base frame are mutually connected by a lever mechanism according to the crank shaft principle. An actuating lever extends sideways from the chair.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,344,213, issued Sep. 6, 1994 to Koyanagi, claims an infant-restraining protective seat including an upper bracket secured to a seat back. In order that a seat back may be locked at any of three reclining angles, three locking holes through which a locking pin is passed are provided in a circular portion of the upper bracket on the circumference of a circle of a prescribed radius from the center of the circular portion. In order to lock the seat back at a folded position, the circular portion is provided with a locking hole, located on the same circumference as the locking through which the locking pin is passed. Each of the locking holes is elliptical in form, with the ellipse having a minor axis and a major axis. In this case, the minor axis is set to have a size that allows the locking pin to be passed through and slid along the hole with almost no gap between the pin and the walls of the hole. The locking holes are so arranged that the minor axis of each hole lies in the circumferential direction of a circle concentric with a hole.
U.S. Pat. No. 3,645,548, issued Feb. 29, 1972 to Briner, is for a child safety auto seat with a frame suspended over the auto seat. Sliding pivotable connections between the seat and the frame allow the seat to be reclined and inclined.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,609,393, issued Mar. 11, 1997 to Meeker, describes a toddler carrier comprising a shell having a seat, back and sides, and a separate base. A rigid link pivotally attaches the lower rear of the shell to one end of the base. An axle connects the lower front of the shell to the other end of the base. The sides of the shell include slots which accept the axle. A spring-biased release handle is located beneath the front of the seat with integral release arms angularly located beneath the seat. The release arms are pivotally connected to the shell at their distal ends and have a plurality of notches which selectively mate with the axle. Any notch may be selected by depressing the release handle and pivoting the shell with a subsequent release of the handle.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,746,478, issued May 5, 1998 to Lumley, discloses a reclining mechanism for a child safety seat used in motor vehicles that enables the safety seat to be used in both a forward and rearward facing position. The reclining mechanism comprises a seat, a base member to which the seat is attached, a connection between the seat and base member that allows movement of the seat with respect to the base. The movement comprises a first range of reclining movement where the seat is able to move between an upright position and a first recline position, and a second range of reclining movement where the seat further moves between the first reclined position and a second reclined position. A stop prevents the seat moving from the first reclined position into the second range of reclining movement. The stop requires manual operation or manipulation of the seat to allow release of the seat into the second range of reclining movement. This allows a minor amount of reclining of the seat while restraining the seat from fully reclining which may be dangerous when in the forward facing position. The fully reclined position is only when the child safety seat is used in a rearward facing position.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,110,182, issued May 5, 1992 to Beauvais, indicates a portable seat especially adapted for use as a baby seat having a portable base with means for releasably attaching the base to the seat of a vehicle and a seat supported by the base, connected between the portable base and the seat by which the seat can move relative to the base in a controlled manner to elevate the front and the rear of the seat in the same action as the seat moves forward such as occurs by inertia upon a sudden deceleration, the entire apparatus being self-contained and portable so that the apparatus can be removed or installed as desired.
U.S. Pat. No. 3,948,556, issued Apr. 6, 1976 to Hyde, illustrates a car seat for a young child which may be oriented in either a sitting or reclining position. The orientation of the car seat can be changed without disturbing the occupant or the secured position of the supporting frame. The car seat includes a seat structure, a support frame and linkage therebetween. The seat structure is designed to enclose the occupant for protection during severe maneuvering and collisions and includes a restrainer positioned across the front of the occupant which advantageously distributes the impact force on the occupant during a collision. The restrainer is held in place by a secondary seat belt system which does not require unbuckling when the seat orientation is changed. The linkage between the seat structure and the support frame provides a high seating position for comfort and visibility and a reclining position for resting.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,342,483, issued Aug. 3, 1982 to Takada, is for a child safety seat for vehicles comprising a molded plastic seat having a bottom, back and protective sides and fitted with a padded cover. The plastic seat is carried on and strengthened by a tubular metal frame which is constructed to support the safety seat on a vehicle seat and to be secured in place by the vehicle seat belt or a special restraint belt. A retractor belt leads rearwardly from an emergency locking retractor fastened to the underside of the seat and joins a pair of shoulder belts which extend divergently and upwardly in back of the seat back, forward over an upper cross piece of the supporting frame and through lateral spaced-apart slots in the seat back and then lead downwardly into a polymeric foam abdominal pad. Portions of the shoulder belts corresponding to the pelvic region of the child are embedded within and united to the abdominal pad and are fastened at their lower ends to the upper portion of a buckle tongue, which portion is also embedded within the abdominal pad. The buckle tongue is releasably received in a buckle affixed on the underside of the front of the seat bottom. Provision is made for adjustment of the effective length of each shoulder strap, and additional slots through the back can be provided for alternative fitting of the shoulder belts in different pairs of slots for improved fitting of the belts to small and large children.
To prevent whiplash and other injury to the child in the safety seat in case of a rear-end collision, the safety seat back should maintain close proximity with the vehicle seat back to minimize movement in case of a rear-end collision and for stability the safety seat should maintain a low center of gravity with close proximity to the vehicle seat bottom.
So, a truly safe child safety seat with all moving parts enclosed as well as a reclining child safety seat which maintains close proximity with the vehicle seat back and bottom would be desirable. The present invention answers those needs.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
An object of the present invention is to provide a child car safety seat which can be adjusted to any position back and forth between an upright sitting position and a reclining sleeping position while maintaining close proximity between the child seat and the vehicle seat back and maintaining a low center of gravity with close proximity to the safety seat base and the vehicle seat bottom without having to move the base of the child seat forward or without having to recline the vehicle seat backwards which will increase stability of the portable child seat relative to the vehicle seat, in case of collision or other hazardous driving motions.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a pivotable reclining child safety seat with all of the moving parts safely housed in a molded plastic shell enclosure not accessible to the child to prevent injury to the child and clogging of the moving works by any blankets, clothing, or toys in the possession of the child.
One more object of the present invention is to provide a pivotable child safety seat on a horizontal sliding pivot arm which can be operated manually or accommodate a motorized version with a motor means, similar to applicant's prior patent applications, to move the pivotable child safety seat between a reclining position and an upright position.
A related object of the present invention is to provide a remote control for automatically and remotely controlling the position of the child car safety seat to adjust it between an upright position and a reclined position.
An additional object of the present invention is to provide a child car safety seat which is attachable to the car seat by means of the car seat belts.
In brief, a portable pivotable child car safety seat has a seat which moves relative to its base on horizontally sliding pivots, preferably pivotable wheels from the seat rolling in grooves in the base, maintaining close proximity with the vehicle seat back and maintaining a low center of gravity with close proximity to the safety seat base and the vehicle seat bottom as it moves between an upright sitting position and a reclined sleeping position and any desired position inbetween.
The bottom of the child safety seat pivots forward rolling in an essentially horizontal slot, preferably straight across or possibly angled slightly or slightly curved, to make room for the top back of the child safety seat to move downwardly while maintaining a close proximity to the vehicle seat back and maintaining a low center of gravity of the child safety seat in the base.
The reclinable child safety seat can be operated manually or accommodate a motorized version with a motor means, similar to applicant's prior patent applications, to move the pivotable child safety seat between a reclining position and an upright position. A remote control, wired or wireless, for the motor may be used for automatically and remotely controlling the position of the child car safety seat to adjust it between an upright position and a reclined position.
The bottom portion of the child car safety seat encloses the moving mechanisms and is also provided with a pair of openings, one on each side of the back edge of the bottom portion to admit the car seat belt therethrough and secure the child car safety seat in the back seat of the car.
An advantage of the present invention is that it provides a reclining safety seat which maintains close proximity with the vehicle seat back and bottom for the entire range of reclining and inclining positions in accordance with state laws without having to move the child safety seat forward or recline the vehicle seat.
A related advantage of the present invention is that it maintains a low center of gravity of the child safety seat for greater stability and safety.
Another advantage of the present invention is that it safely conceals all of the moving parts within the housing of the base and seat so that the child will never get anything stuck in the moving works of the reclinable seat.