US 20080149672 A1
A tether for securing a baby bottle or toy to a structure such as a highchair or car seat for the baby. The tether has an elongated member with a flexible portion and having opposed ends with a securing device at each of the opposed ends. Both of the securing devices are straps that have a fastening system such as a hook and loop system such that the securing devices can form a loop of a desired size to encircle an item, such as a baby bottle or a toy and structure to secure the tether to both the item and the structure. As such, the baby bottle or toy can be secured to a structure such as a highchair or car seat and if dropped, the item will be restrained so as to not contact the floor and become contaminated.
1. A tether for securing an item to a structure, the tether comprising a elongated member having opposed ends and having a flexible portion, a flexible securing means located at each end of the elongated member, each of the flexible securing means comprising a strap adapted to encircle a structure and form a variable size loop to retain one end of the elongated member to an item and the other end to a structure.
2. The tether of
3. The tether of
4. The tether of
5. The tether of
6. The tether of
7. A method of securing an item to a structure, the method comprising the steps of:
providing an elongated member having flexible portion and a flexible securing means located at each end thereon, the flexible securing means comprising a strap adapted to be formed into a loop of varying size,
securing one of the flexible securing means to an item by forming a loop in the strap encircling the item and sized to retain the item snugly within the loop,
securing the other of the flexible securing means to a structure by forming a loop in the strap encircling the structure.
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12. The method of
13. A combination comprising:
a flexible member having opposed ends, each of the opposed ends having a securing means comprising a strap adapted to be formed into a loop of varying size,
one of the straps having a loop encircling the item and the other of the straps having a loop encircling the structure.
14. The combination of
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The present invention relates to a convenient device for use with an infant, and, more particularly, to a flexible device used to secure an item, such as a baby bottle, to a structure such as a highchair or car seat to tether that item to the structure and limit the range of movement of that item.
It is often important to tether some item to a structure to prevent that item, for example, from being dropped on the floor, or otherwise moving beyond a limited distance from that structure. One typical example is in the care of infants where the infant may have access to a baby bottle for obtaining food as is desired. There is, however, a problem in that the infant may well drop the bottle onto the floor and it is therefore necessary for the child care giver to pick up the bottle and thoroughly clean it before handing it back to the baby.
Unfortunately, the dropping of a bottle by a baby can become often very repetitive and ultimately becomes a burden to the care provider who is taken away from other activities to continue to pick up and clean the baby bottle.
Typically, the problem takes place when the baby is in a highchair, however, other locations can be involved, such as in an automobile where the baby is contained within a car seat. In such instant, even the retrieval of the bottle can be a problem since the bottle may ultimately rest in an inconvenient location after having been dropped.
Some devices have been disclosed as tethers for baby bottles or toys and one is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,946,119, however, that device does not have a flexible or stretchable nature and the means of attachment to the baby bottle is not particularly convenient or secure.
Another type of baby bottle tether is shown and described in U.S. Pub. 2004/0079843, however, that device is also not longitudinally stretchable and the device requires some fitting on the baby bottle to be attached thereto.
Lastly, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,082,220 of Pollock et al, there is a restraining device that has only one convenient securing device, that is, an end that has an adjustable loop while the securing device at the other end cannot be adjusted for differing size objects.
It would, therefore, be desirable to have a device that would allow the care provider to easily and convenient tether a baby bottle or other item to a structure proximate to the baby, such as the highchair or car seat, and thereby prevent the bottle from hitting the floor or rolling to some inconvenient location.
Accordingly, the present invention relates to a tether that can be used to secure an item to a structure and is particularly useful to secure a baby bottle or toy to a structure such as a highchair or car seat.
The tether comprises an elongated, flexible member that can be expanded or stretched from its shortened, at rest length to a stretched out length. In an exemplary embodiment, the flexible member has a pre-coiled portion that can be stretched and relaxed and, when released from a stretching force, the pre-coiled portion has a memory that returns it to its shortened, at rest length. Preferably, the pre-coiled portion is similar to a bungee cord that can be stretched out by the application of a force and which then returns to its original “at rest” length when that force has been removed.
At each of the opposed ends of the flexible member, there is a securing means that allows the flexible member to be easily and conveniently secured to an item or structure. The securing means comprises a strap that can be used to encircle the item or structure and be closed to form a loop around that item or structure. The size of the closed loop can be easily established by the user, that is, one end of the strap is secured through the use of a securing means to another portion of the strap to form the closed loop.
As such, the size of the loop can easily be established by the user depending upon where along the portion of the strap the end of the strap is affixed. Conveniently, that securing means can be a hook and loop system, such as is available under the trademark Velcro so the user can simply use the hook and loop system to size the loop according to desires. When the item is a baby bottle, the loop can be sized to be fairly snug around the bottle to prevent the bottle from falling out of the loop, however, where the structure is a highchair, the loop may be looser encircling one of the components of that highchair. Where the hook and loop system is utilized, the components may be located at least partially along the length of the strap or at least substantially therealong.
As one of the advantages over the aforedescribed prior art, the present tether has the ability of being easily secured to either the item or the structure since the securing means is the same at both ends of the tether and the loop that is formed at those ends can be of any particular size needed to carry out the securing of the tether to the item or structure.
These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent during the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings herein.
The FIGURE is a perspective view of a tether constructed accordance with the present invention.
Referring now to the FIGURE, there is shown a tether 10 constructed in accordance with the present invention. As can be seen, the tether 10 comprises an elongated, flexible portion 12 and a straight portion 14. The flexible portion 12 is a pre-coiled member that can be stretched out and retracted by a force to extend the flexible portion 12 from its shortened, at rest, length as shown and a stretched out length. By the presence of a memory, when the force stretches the flexible portion 12 outwardly, the flexible member 12 will be lengthened, and will then retract to its shortened, at rest, position when the force is removed.
As can be seen in the exemplary embodiment, the flexible portion 12 and the straight portion 14 are about equal in length, however, the flexible portion 12 can be of lesser or greater length as that shown in the FIGURE, to the extent that the flexible member 12 can actually take up the entire length of the tether 10.
The tether 10 has, at each of its opposed ends, a securing means in the form of straps 16. The straps 16 both are the same and include a hook and loop fastening system 18 along the length of the straps so that, for example, an end 20 of a strap 16 can be formed into a loop and secured to that portion of the strap 16 itself to provide that loop. The size of the loop can be determined by the user to the appropriate size to fit the situation for the particular item or structure to which the tether 10 is secured.
In the embodiment of the FIGURE, the straps 16 are affixed to the flexible portion 12 and straight portion 14 by loops 22 where an end of each portion 12, 14 is looped over a strap 16 and secured to itself either by welding or by a suitable adhesive, however other means of securing the flexible portion 12 and straight portion 14 can certainly be utilized.
As such, the tether 12 can be readily secured between an item, such as a baby bottle 24 and a structure, such as the arm of a highchair or car seat to secure the baby bottle 24 or a toy to that structure. As can be appreciated, by properly determining the stretched out length of the flexible portion 12 and the straight portion 14, if the baby drops the baby bottle 24 from a highchair, the that overall stretched length of the tether 10 can prevent the bottle 24 from reaching the floor. The care provider can then simply retract the bottle 24 and return it to the baby knowing that the bottle 24 did not contact the floor and become contaminated.
Those skilled in the art will readily recognize numerous adaptations and modifications which can be made to the tether and use thereof which will result in an improved tether, yet all of which will fall within the scope and spirit of the present invention as defined in the following claims. Accordingly, the invention is to be limited only by the following claims and their equivalents.