US 20070096528 A1
A high chair features various modes of adjustability and enhanced utility. The height of the chair can be adjusted using a single hand that engages a rear handle. The height of a seat platform of the chair can be adjusted separately relative to the tray. The tray itself is ergonomically designed for the benefit of the caregiver. A removable tray liner facilitates after-meal clean-up. Wheels on the underside of the tray ease fore/aft adjustment. A pivoting back rest of the chair minimizes rearward shift of the center of gravity of the occupied chair, thus requiring a smaller chair footprint. Further, an accessory bar pivoted to a seat back portion of the chair provides readily accessible entertainment.
1. An adjustable child high chair seat comprising:
a seat bottom portion;
a seat back portion pivotally mounted relative to the seat bottom portion about a pivot axis to move between a first angular position relative to the seat bottom portion and a second angular position relative to the seat bottom portion, wherein the second angular position is angularly offset with respect to the first angular position, the seat back portion defining a lower edge disposed proximal to the seat bottom portion;
a first axis defined by an intersection of the lower edge of the seat back portion and the seat bottom portion when the seat back is in a first angular position; and
a second axis defined by an intersection of the lower edge of the seat back portion and the seat bottom portion when the seat back is in a second angular position angularly offset from the first angular position, such that the second axis is spaced from the first axis,
wherein the pivot axis is located above and forwardly of the first and second axes.
2. The adjustable child high chair seat, wherein the first angular position is a fully upright seat back position and the second angular position is a fully reclined seat back position, the seat further comprising a seat bight region disposed between the first axis and the second axis, and wherein the pivot axis is located above and forwardly of the seat bight region.
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11. A child high chair comprising:
a reclinable seat, the seat including:
a seat bottom portion having a curved rear surface;
a seat back portion pivotally mounted relative to the seat bottom portion such that the seat back portion is movable through a range of angular positions relative to the seat bottom portion, the seat back portion having a lower edge that translates vertically along the curved rear surface as the seat back pivots relative to the seat bottom.
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This application is a division of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/803,086, filed on Mar. 18, 2004, which claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application No. 60/457,325, the disclosure of each of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
1. Field of the Disclosure
The present invention relates to seating for children and, in particular, to high chairs.
2. Description of Related Art
High chairs have been provided with a myriad of features designed to enhance their comfort, safety and convenience. There is room for improvement, however, as to several aspects of high chair design. This invention addresses these needs.
During the course of attending to a child in a highchair, it is common practice for the caregiver to sit in front of the highchair and rest his or her arms on the high chair tray. High chair trays typically are made of a relatively hard, unforgiving material and do not provide a comfortable resting place for the caregiver's arms.
The tray of a high chair can become extremely soiled by an infant while eating. Often relatively large food chunks remain on the surface of the tray. The effective and controlled removal of this debris is not adequately addressed in the prior art.
The position of a high chair tray often requires adjustment. Often the tray sticks, or does not slide easily on the surface of the highchair on which it bears.
High chairs that allow the height of the chair to be adjusted require the use of two hands to make the adjustment. Busy caregivers often find that only one hand is free for making a height adjustment. This requires the caregiver first to free up one hand before the adjustment can be made.
Stringent stability (tipping) regulations have a direct impact on the footprint geometry of a high chair. Generally speaking, consumers prefer to have a high chair with a small footprint so that it can be integrated into the kitchen or table setting more conveniently. The footprint size, which is governed by stability concerns, is necessarily larger in high chairs that have a recline feature. Because a child's head comprises a significant proportion of his or her body weight, in reclining high chairs the center of gravity can move substantially to the rear as the child is moved from a full upright to a reclining position. Thus it is highly desirable to minimize the shift of the center of gravity when the seat back is reclined, whereby the footprint of the high chair can be minimized.
Recline mechanisms that allow the seat back to pivot at the bight portion of the seat usually cause a change in the distance between the seat back and the crotch support of the armbar as the seat is moved through various recline positions. This distance is regulated by industry standards, and it is highly desirable to be able to vary the angle of the seat back without significantly altering the distance between the seat back and the crotch support.
Children typically utilize high chairs throughout a relatively large age span. The wide range of physical development that a child undergoes during this time presents a formidable challenge to designing a high chair that ideally accommodates all of the physical needs of the child. This situation is exacerbated by high chairs that have recline features, enabling the unit to be used for very young infants, and removable arm bars, which when removed allow the chair to be pulled right up to a table for use by an older child. One aspect of available high chairs that does not adequately address this need is the seat height relative to the tray. Most high chairs are designed to accommodate the older child, which means that the tray is usually higher than optimal for an infant or a toddler.
Finally, a consumer-preferred feature is to have entertainment value readily available for a child in a high chair. Often after a meal it is desirable to keep the child in the high chair and quickly occupy the child with interesting objects that cannot be thrown to the floor.
An adjustable child high chair seat is provided and includes a seat bottom portion and a seat back portion that is pivotally mounted relative to the seat bottom portion about a pivot axis. The seat back portion can move between a first angular position relative to the seat bottom portion and a second angular position relative to the seat bottom portion, wherein the second angular position is angularly offset from the first angular position. The seat back portion defines a lower edge disposed proximal to the seat bottom portion. A first axis is defined by an intersection of the lower edge of the seat back portion and the seat bottom portion when the seat back is in the first angular position. A second axis is defined by an intersection of the lower edge of the seat back portion and the seat bottom portion when the seat back is in the second angular position. The second axis is offset from the first axis, and the pivot axis is located above and forward with respect to the first and second axes.
It should be appreciated that the foregoing and other aspects of the invention will appear from the following description. In the description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part thereof, and in which there is shown by way of illustration, and not limitation, preferred embodiments of the invention. Such embodiments do not necessarily represent the fill scope of the invention, and reference must therefore be made to the claims herein for interpreting the full scope of the invention.
The above and other features, aspects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description and the accompany exemplary embodiments shown in the drawing figures, in which:
It is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of components described below and illustrated in the drawing figures. Those skilled in the art will recognize that various modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the invention, which is defined by the appended claims.
Reference will now be made in detail to presently preferred embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. An effort has been made to use the same reference numbers throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.
Frame 20 has an integrally molded plastic chassis 202 with spaced side portions 204 interconnected by a front cross member 206. Chassis 202 also has fixed front leg sockets 208, which receive tubular front legs 210, and pivoting rear leg sockets 212, which receive tubular rear legs 214. Floor-engaging feet or casters (not shown) are provided at the bottom ends of legs 210, 214. The pivoting nature of rear leg sockets 212 enables the rear legs 214 to be folded for more compact storage when the high chair is not in use.
Seat 30 comprises a molded plastic seat bottom portion 310 adjustably supported on chassis 20, and a molded plastic seat back portion 320 pivoted to seat bottom portion 310. Seat bottom portion 310 has an integrally molded leg rest portion 312, and integrally molded armrest portions 314. Seat 30 is depicted as a bare shell, it being understood that a padded covering (not shown) would normally be used to enhance the comfort of the seat.
The tray 50 can include at least one wheel mounted to its underside to rotate for movably supporting the tray 50 on a bearing surface of the chair. For example, referring to
The front of the tray 50 is ergonomically contoured to enhance comfort for the caregiver. Referring to
Further, as can be seen in
Chair Height Adjustment
A transverse bar 350 is pivoted about its longitudinal axis 352 to the bottom rear of seat 30 in a U-shaped recess 354 at each side of the seat. A retaining tab 356 at each side helps to keep bar 350 in position in recesses 354, while allowing the bar 350 to pivot. A tooth 360 at each end of bar 350 engages the shoulder 224 of a selected tooth 222 in its respective rack 220. A leaf spring 357 biases transverse bar 350 to the latched position, i.e., the position in which teeth 360 engage teeth 222 (see
To change the height of seat 30, central handle 358 is grasped by a single hand, with the fingers wrapped around grip portion 358 a and the heel of the hand engaging heel portion 358 b. Heel portion 358 b is then raised, which pivots transverse bar 350 in the direction of the arrows in
Seat back portion 320 has integrally molded lateral tabs or extensions 321 that extend forwardly and are pivoted to armrest portions 314 about the pivot axis 322. As compared to a conventional arrangement in which the seat back is hinged to the seat bottom in the seat bight region, the geometry of chair 10 substantially lessens the rearward excursion of the seat back portion 320 when reclined. This minimizes the rearward shift of the center of gravity of the occupied high chair, whereby the high chair can meet stability requirements with a smaller footprint. The rear portion of seat bottom portion 310 is curved upwardly, in the seat bight region 316, and the bottom 324 of seat back portion 320 is similarly curved so as to slide closely past the seat bottom portion 310 throughout the range of adjustment of the seat back portion 320.
The seat back portion 320 can be selectively locked in various positions. This is facilitated by a series of notches 318 near each side of the seat bight portion 316 of seat bottom portion 310. The notches 318 are engaged by retractable bolts 326 a, 326 b carried by seat back portion 320. These bolts 326 a, 326 b are essentially the ends of guided flexible, but rigid, straps 328 a, 328 b, similar to those used on the underside of tray 50 (see
The seat bottom portion 310 has a seating surface 310S upon which a child sits, and the seat back portion 320 has a back support surface 320S against which a child can lean its back. According to another further of the invention, the pivot axis 322 is located above the seating surface 310S and forwardly of the back support surface 320S throughout the range of adjustment of the seat back portion 320. The seating surface 310S can have a centerline (not shown) that bisects the seat bottom portion 310 into left and right halves and that extends from a front edge of the seat bottom portion 310 to the front edge of the seat bight region 316. Likewise, the back support portion 320 can have a centerline (not shown) that bisects the back support portion 320 into left and right halves. According to yet another aspect of the invention, the pivot axis 322 is located above the portion of the seating surface 320S along its centerline and forwardly of the portion of the seat back portion 310 along its centerline.
As can be seen from
Seat-to-Tray Height Adjustment
Elevating mechanism 740 comprises a frame 742 surrounding a large central aperture 744 (through which crotch bar 44 can pass). At the front of frame 742 is a threaded hole 746 flanked by guide feet 747. A shaft 748 has a threaded portion 750 that engages threaded hole 746, with the rear end 752 of shaft 748 captured in recess 720. The shaft 748 also has a groove 754 captured in the front notch 718 of base 710. A knob 756 at the front end of shaft 748 facilitates rotation of shaft 748, which moves frame 742 fore or aft. At the rear of frame 742 is a bar 760 with lower surfaces 762, which ride on ramps 724, and upper surfaces 764, which support seat platform 730. Thus, as knob 756 is turned, frame 742 and bar 760 move fore or aft over wedges 722 to change the height of seat platform 730.
A second adjustable seat assembly embodiment 80 is shown in
The preferred embodiments have been set forth herein for the purpose of illustration. This description, however, should not be deemed to be a limitation on the scope of the invention. Various modifications, adaptations, and alternatives may occur to one skilled in the art without departing from the claimed inventive concept. The true scope and spirit of the invention are indicated by the following claims.