US 3161897 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 22, 1964 P. HILL FLOAT FOR BABIES OR YOUNG CHILDREN Filed NOV. 26, 1962 mou i. Qmmsm United States Patent 3,161,897 FLOAT FUR BABIES 0R YOUNG CHILDREN Penny Hill, 48 Linden Drive, Maryvillc, Tenn. Filed Nov. 26, 1962, Ser. No. 240,037 2 Claims. (Cl. 9-647) This invention relates to so-called water or beach toys or accessories, and more particularly to a portable float, especially adopted for use by infants or young children in swimming pools, lakes, or other water bodies.
Various types of floats and other devices have heretofore been suggested for supporting humans on water bodies, such as pontoon-supported boats, inner-tubes, and rafts or mattress-like devices. However, none of these previous expedients simultaneously positively provide non-tipping support such as required with an infant, and submerging of a portion of the infants or childs body. Specifically, the pontoon-supported boats are particularly concerned with keeping a user free of contact with the water. The mattress-like structures allow parts of a users body, usually the hand or feet, to be submerged, but can easily be tipped by any unbalanced movement. The inner-tube also permits support and submergence, but this expedient like a mattress-type structure, fails in both repects when utilized with an infants or childs body due to its easy tipping with unbalanced movements. Moreover, the mattress-type and inner-tube type devices, do not positively support a child in play position, such as, for example, a seated position. In essence, the prior art devices fail to provide adequate safety and stability for utilization by an infant or young child. Life jacket structures similarly do not satisfy the problem entirely because they restrict the user and permit tipping so that the childs head can become submerged, for instance.
The absence of a completely safe infant-supporting unit for use on water has generally resulted in depriving babies .and young children from an earlier introduction to water and/or has required an adult to accompany a child in any water body, thus detracting from self-confidence of a child in water. The absence of a safe device of the aforesaid type has consequently contributed to an environmental fear of water which is continuously augmented by prolonging the introduction. The results of this childhood fear are daily reflected in the statistics pertaining to deaths by drowning.
The present invention has as its primary object to provide an absolutely safe, portable, floating device which supports an infants or young childs body and simultaneously therewith allows the body to be partly submerged in the water.
Still further, other, and more specific objects of the present invention are: (a) to provide such a device which can be safely used as a play-toy by infants and small children in any depth of Water; (b) to provide such a device which can be safely used by infants and small children and at the same time allow the parents relative freedom from attention or worry; (c) to provide a device suitable for infants and young children which cannot overturn with free and unbalanced movements of a child; (d) to provide such a device suitable for infants and young children which would instill and maintain confidence in the child and overcome the unnecessary fear of water; (e) to provide such a device suitable for infants and young children which can serve as an accessory in learning to swim; (f) to provide such a device which can be easily modified to assume a more boat-like quality by the addition of auxiliary means such as steering mechanisms, or other guide devices; (g) to provide such a device which permits partial submergence of an infants or small childs body within the water, but which at the same time prevents the childs head from becoming submerged; and (h) to provide a portable float which can be inexpensively manu- 3,151,897 Patented Dec. 22, 1964 factured, and continuously used, as required, without repair or maintenance.
Auxiliary to the above, the invention has as an object, the provision of an improved type of pontoon support structure adapted to support other means such as seat units or the like.
The invention will be better understood, and objects other than those specifically set forth hereinabove will become apparent, when consideration is given to the following detailed description. Such description refers to the annexed drawings presenting the preferred and illustrative embodiments of the invention. In the drawings,
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a device constructed in accordance herewith and having a child supported therein;
FIGURE 2 is a plan view of the device shown in FIG- URE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a front view, partially in section, of the device shown in FIGURES l and 2;
FIGURE 4 is a fragmental detailed view, partially in section, and taken on the line 4-4 of FIGURE 2; and
FIGURE 5 is a fragmental detailed sectional view taken on the line 55 of FIGURE 2.
FIGURE 1 shows a portable floatable structure constructed in accordance herewith and generally designated by the numeral 20. The structure is adapted to support the child 22 in seated position on a water body 24 such as a swimming pool, lake, pond or the like. It will be noted from FIGURE 1 that the legs and lower portion of the childs body are submerged in the water body 24, and that the child is free to lean forwardly, rearwardly, and laterally to opposite sides. In fact, the childs hands can touch the water and play with the water, yet at least his head is permanently supported above the water body.
The structure encourages the child to feel safe in the water and to use his arms and legs, thereby developing coordination and motor skills aided by the buoyant effect of the water.
The structure is constructed so as to prevent any lateral tipping thereof, and comprises the combination of spaced pontoon means 26 and 28, frame means generally designated by the numeral 30 for maintaining the pontoon means 26 and 28 in spaced-apart relation to one another, and seat means generally designated by the numeral 32. The seat means 32 cooperates with the frame means 30 to support the child in the seated position shown, to prevent his falling from the structure, and also to permit the free leaning without substantial tipping of the structure.
The pontoon means 26 and 28 preferably each comprise an elongated rod-like pontoon structure formed of a rigid foamed plastic. It has been found that the most suitable plastic for the construction of the pontoon means 26 and 28 is polystyrene, which is a stable non-defiatable material.
The frame means 30 as noted above, serves to maintain the pontoon means 26 and 28 in spaced-apart relation and with the longitudinal axes A--A and A'-A' of the respective pontoon means (FIGURE 2) disposed in parallel relation. The frame means 30 is preferably formed as a continuous hollow tubular structure of rectangular shape. As such, the frame means 30 includes spaced side bar sections 4 and 5 and end bar sections 6 and 7 extending between respective opposite ends of the side bar sections 4 and 5.
In order to simplify the construction of the pontoon means and of the frame means, and in order to provide for increased stability of the structure with the use of a minimum number of parts, the end bar sections 6 and 7 of the frame means 30 are, in accordance with the preferred embodiment hereof, embedded within the respective pontoon means 26 and 28. This construction can be achieved, for example, by providing a pair of pontoonforming molds in spaced parallel relation, by inserting the frame means 3h, or specifically the end bar sections 6 and '7 thereof within the respective molds, and by then foaming the plastic material forming the pontoons within the molds. This results in securely afiixing the frame means 30 to the pontoon means '26 and 2S, and provides a final unit wherein the pontoon means are each of an integral and unbroken continuous construction about the respective end bar sections 6 and 7.
For purposes of providing positive stability of a unit constructed in accordance herewith, the end bar sections 6 and 7, or end portions of the frame means 30, are preferably disposed in a particular location with respect to the central geometric axis of each of the pontoon means. Specifically, as shown in FIGURE 3, the geometric central axis of the pontoon means 28 is designated by the numeral 34. This axis is, of course, the longitudinal axis.
With respect to the axis 34, the end bar section or end portion 7 of the frame means 30 is disposed to one side of such axis, and above such axis.
In the preferred embodiment, the pontoon means 26 and 28 are circular in cross-section, and thus the end bar section 7 is disposed in the upper quadrant of the cricle. However, as will be readily appreciated, the pontoon means may have varying shapes, and it has been found for purposes of stability, it is sufiicient if the end portions of the frame means are disposed above and to the outside of the longitudinal axis which extends centrally of the pontoon means.
A further important consideration resides in the comparative length of the pontoon means 26 and 28 with respect to the distance between the side bar sections 4 and of the frame means 30. Specifically, as best shown in FIGURE 2, both of the pontoon means 26 and 28 are of such length that they extend both forwardly and rearwardly substantially beyond the frame means 30.
Although the detailed construction of the pontoon means and frame means discussed above in themselves constitutes a significant aspect of the instant invention,'
the same further provides as indicated at the outset of the specification for the proper support of an infant or child on a body of water. To this end, the seat means 32 is incorporated, and as shown, the seat means 32 preferably includes an auxiliary frame 50 and a seat 52. The auxiliary frame 50, like the frame means 30, which forms the primary or main frame means, is formed as a continuous hollow tubular structure or ring. The auxiliary 4 whereby the auxiliary frame 50 can be easily cooperatively secured to the main frame means 30.
The seat 52 is preferably directly supported by the auxiliary frame 5%. The seat 52 includes a bottom or bottom section it? and side wall portions 11a, 11b, 11c, and 11a. The side wall portions Illa-11d project forwardly and rearwardly and from opposite sides of the bottom .or bottom section lit), and in accordance with the preferred embodiment hereof, the entire seat is formed of a fabric, or plastic of a flexible or non flexible nature.
The upper end portions of each of the side wall portions 11a through lid is folded over the auxiliary frame 50. By referring to FIGURE 4, it will be noted that the upper end portion 64) of the seat wall portion 11b is folded over and about the auxiliary frame 50. In a similar manner, the upper end portions of each of the other side wall portion of the seat are folded about the adjacent part of the auxiliary frame 50.
Again to simplify the construction and minimize the number of parts, the seat 52 is secured in place by the same means utilized for securing the auxiliary frame to the main frame means 30. A rivet-type member extends through a suitable aperture in the upper end portion 60, and through coaxial apertures in the auxiliary frame 59 and main frame means 39. The rivet-type member '70 has enlarged heads 70a and 76b at opposed ends thereof to provide the desired positive fixing of the members together.
Quite naturally, and as shown in FIGURE 2, the portions of the auxiliary frame 50 which extend parallel to the pontoon means do not overlie the main frame means 3%. Thus, as shown in FIGURE 5, the end portions 81? of the sidewall portions 11a and lie are merely folded over the auxiliary frame 50 and secured to the adjacent part of the corresponding wall section. In effect, a loop is formed at the upper ends of each of the side wall portions 11a and and the auxiliary frame passes through such loop. The overlying portions or parts of the side wall portions of the seat referred to immediately above, can be secured together by suitable adhesive, heat sealing, or stitches, as desired.
Regardless of the construction, with the preferred unit, the seat 52 includes a pair of leg openings 13 which are spaced apart at the forward end of the seat to permit the insertion therethrough of a childs legs. Moreover, the seat is so dimensioned so that the bottom section 10 thereof, as shown'in FIGURE 3 extends substantially below the lower extremity of each of the pontoon means 26 and 28. If pontoon means of different configuration than those shown are used, then in a generic sense, it is only necessary that the seat bottom 10 extend below the lower extremity of the body portion of the pontoon means utilized.
For purposes of facilitating definition of the invention it should be appreciated that this position of the respective end portions or end bar sections 6 and 7 of the frame means 30 relative to the pontoon means might not only be described as to the outside of the central longitudinal axis of the pontoon means, but also as to the side of the central longitudinal axis of the pontoon means removed from the seat, the seat means, or the auxiliary frame.
After reading the foregoing description, it should be apparent that when the child, such as the child 22, is placed within the seat 52 of the device provided hereby, he is positively supported in an upright position, although he is free to move forwardly and rearwardly and from side to side. His legs and a major portion of his body are submerged within the body of water, and his hands are free to play in the water. Leg movement and arm movement thus remains unrestricted, while the child is positively and safely positioned in a. floatable manner on the water body. For further safety, and if desired, a suitable seat belt or the like might be incorporated as part of the seat means of a structure constructed in accordance herewith to prevent the child from in any way climbing from the structure, Similarly, the device hereof may well be equipped with auxiliary devices such as a steering wheel, a rudder, pedals, or other means adapted to propel the structure or to amuse the user thereof.
Having now described in detail a preferred and illustrative embodiment of the invention, it is believed readily apparent that the objects set forth at the outset of the present specification have been successfully achieved. Accordingly, what is claimed is:
1. structure for floatably supporting a child in water, comprising:
a pair of elongated foamed plastic ontoons, each symmetrical about a longitudinally extending central axis;
said pontoons being juxtaposed in spaced alignment with one another with said central axes being parallel to one another;
a first tubular frame means connected between said pontoons for maintaining said pontoons in their spaced alignment;
said first tubular frame means including a pair of spaced apart linear rods which extend between said pontoons, with said linear rods being coplanar and each having an axis which is perpendicular to the central axes of said pontoons;
a second tubular frame means formed as a continuous planar ring of generally rectangular shape and hence having two spaced apart side portions joined together by two spaced end portions;
each of said end portions being juxtaposed to a linear rod of said first frame means;
connecting means securing said end portions to their respective juxtaposed linear rods and thereby interconnecting said first and second frame means;
each of said side portions being spaced inwardly from said pontoons and extending generally parallel to said pontoons; and,
supporting seat means depending from said second frame means between said linear rods and projecting downward to a distance beneath said pontoons;
said supporting seat means including a forward and a rear upper portion respectively connected to said second frame means end portions and lateral upper portions respectively connected to said second frame means side portions; said supporting seat means further including a pair of spaced leg openings through which a childs legs 5 may extend when the child is seated in the structure.
2. A structure as defined in claim 1 wherein said supporting seat means includes a pair of criss-crossed fabric members, with one such member terminating in said forward and rear upper portions and the other such member 10 terminating in said lateral upper portions.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS FERGUS S. MIDDLETON, Primary Examiner. MILTON BUCHLER, Examiner.