US 3761126 A
A chair especially useful for children with cerebral palsy has a super structure portion that can be totally uncoupled by way of two support posts from a substructure portion constituted by a wheeled base.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Mulholland 1 Sept. 25, 1973 ADJUSTABLE CHAIR FOR CHILDREN 3,632,162 1/1972 Trethway 297/010. 4 WITH CEREBRAL PALSY 561,908 H1896 Munson 297/390 X 875,903 l/l908 Flemming 297/390 Inventor: Larry Mulholland, 1343 Camden 3,497,259 2/1970 Sherfey 297/391 Ln., Ventura, Calif. 93003  Filed: Man I 1972 Primary Examiner-James T. McCall Attorney-Pastonza & Kelly  Appl. No.: 230,607
 ABSTRACT 52 C u 297/3 4 297 4 297 391 A chair especially useful for children with cerebral 297 4 1 palsy has a superstructure portion that can be totally 51 1111.01. A471: 15/00, A47 7/36 uncoupled y y of two pp Posts from a  Field 01 Search 297/390, 384, 391, Structure Portion constituted y a wheeled base- 53. 353, 333 A back rest and seat can be independently lengthened or shortened and tilted together as a seat-back rest unit  References Cited to meet changing requirements. The seat is equipped UNITED STATES PATENTS with a pair of movable arm rests. 2,591,911 4/1952 Block 297/384 The primary components of the chair are capable of 1,357,826 1 H1920 haw 297/383 X multiple independent or concurrent movements so that Paater0.... ..-t. X the chair configuration can be adjusted to 2,136,852 11/1938 Knauthj 297/390 X accommodate the growth, medical or other needs of a 1,721,221 7/1929 Jauregui 297/411 X child 930,074 8/1909 Jaspersen 297/390 2,694,437 11/1954 Glaser 297/384 13 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures ADJUSTABLE CHAIR FOR CHILDREN WITH CEREBRAL PALSY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention generally relates to medical or invalid chairs and more specifically to chairs suitable for accommodating children with cerebral palsy.
Ordinary or conventional chairs are not adequate to assist in satisfying the special needs of children with cerebral palsy. For example, when the seat of an ordinary chair extends to the childs calves and the arm rests are positioned at chest level then one solution is to prop up the child on pillows. Inasmuch as the pillows do not properly support the child his resulting unnatural posture becomes detrimental to normal development.
In order to alleviate or break up an extensor pattern and furnish a gravity assist to weak neck muscles it may be required, for example, to cause the seat and back to intersect at an angle of 75 while tilting the back at an angle of 30. Conventional chairs are of no assistance and if an expensive custom chair of fixed geometry is provided then it is useful but only until it becomes more advantageous to change the chair configuration.
Hypotonic children with poor neck and trunk muscle control may only be able to sit up and hold their heads erect for short periods of time. Generally the children are forced to spend much of their time lying on the floor which is good for development of head control but detrimental to their respiratory systems etc. When seated in ordinary chairs their heads tend to fall over to one side or pitch forward beyond range of their limited control and this tends to cause their bodies to slump into a scoliotic curve which may become permanent.
Adjustable and specially equipped chairs have been proposed for resolving some of these problems. For example, an invalid chair is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,215,469 to Wamsley and a folding wheel chair is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,927,631 to Andersson et al.
This invention is characterized by significant departures over conventional and known adjustable chairs.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Briefly stated this invention comprehends a chair for children with cerebral palsy that. is versatile, lightweight and multi-directionally adjustable so as to be gradually expanded to accommodate the growth of a particular child or modified to meet requirements of different children. I
In its broader aspects the adjustable chair includes a wheeled base and a horizontally extending cross rod positioned above the base. A pair of laterally spaced mounting units are coupled to opposing end portions of the rod and a pair of upstanding support posts are coupled at their bottom portions to the base and are removably connected to their upper portions to corresponding mounting units. A seat is coupled to the mounting units and a back rest is also coupled to the mounting units.
A seat tilting means is provided for tilting the seat independently about the cross rod in order to change the angle between the seat and back rest. A seat depth adjustment means is arranged for selectively repositioning the seat back and forth relative to the cross rod.
A seat-back rest tilting means is provided in order to tilt the seat and back rest as a unit about the cross rod.
A back rest height adjustment means is arranged for selectively changing the back rest height.
The seat tilting means, seat depth adjustment means, seat-back rest tilting means and back rest height adjustment means are independently operable in order to accommodate the needs of a child. The super structure portion of the chair can be lifted out of the wheeled base for storage or portability purposes or alternatively for use, after modifications, as an automobile infant seat.
The back rest includes a generally U-shaped frame- 3 work with a pair of parallel side members and the back rest height adjustment means is further constructed to cause releasable engagement of the back rest side members enabling the back rest to be length adjusted.
A U-shaped neck pad is preferably coupled to the back rest for cradling the neck of a child. A pair of trunk control pads is coupled to the back rest and the pads project downwardly from positions adjacent opposing sides of the neck pad in order to aid in preventing a child from pitching forward in the seat.
The seat is preferably constructed from a generally U-shaped framework with a pair of parallel side beams linked together by way of a frontal cross beam. The seat adjustment means is constructed to cause releasable engagement of the side beams. A pair of arm rests removably coupled to the seat are constructed for being mutually laterally displaced and vertically adjusted.
An adduction post is preferably connected to the frontal cross beam to aid in preventing a child from crossing his legs. A leg rest is movably coupled to the seat and arranged for angular displacement above the frontal cross beam.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS constructed in accordance with this invention, showing a service tray connected to the chair and a pair of trunk control pads coupled to the chair back rest; and,
FIG. 2 is another perspective view of a slightly modifled adjustable chair showing more details of components constituting the rear portion of the chair.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to both FIG. 1 and FllG. 2 an adjustable chair 10, especially useful for children with cerebral palsy, includes a substructure or wheeled base 11. Base 11 has a pair of side members 12 and 13 interlinked by a transversely oriented front member 14 and a transversely oriented rear member 15. The members 12, 13, 14 and 15 are coupled together to generally constitute a rigid rectangular framework.
A pair of erect links 16 and 17 connected to the rear portions of side members 12 and 13 hold rear member 15 raised above the height of front member 14. The
substructure framework is supported on four wheels including a pair of front wheels 18 and 19 and a pair of rear wheels 20 and 21. A pair of brake elements or bars 22 is rigidly connected to rotatable rear member 15 so that a lever 23, that can be manually operated either by foot or by hand, may be used to cause the brake elements 22 to engage their adjacent wheels and 21.
A pair of upstanding support posts 24 and 25 are formed in their lower segments with a plurality of diagonally aligned height adjustment apertures 26 and 27 respectively. A pair of locking blocks 28 and 29 are slidably mounted on base side members 12 and 13 respectively. The locking blocks 28 and 29 are formed with transverse slots which when registered with selected apertures 26 and 27 and fixed in desired set positions by laterally aligned locking pins 30 and 31, serve to fix the support posts 24 and 25 at desired heights.
The upper segments of support posts 24 and 25 are removably connected to a pair of mounting units 32 and 33 that are coupled to opposing ends of a horizontally extending cross rod 34 positioned above base 11.
A back rest 35 is coupled to the mounting units 32 and 33. A seat 36 is also coupled to the mounting units 32 and 33. All of the weight of the superstructure portion of chair 10 is transmitted to the substructure or base 11 soley through the two support posts 24 and 25. When locking pins 30 and 31 are removed the chair superstructure including posts 24 and 25 can be lifted away from base 11 for facilitating storage or portability requirements. Alternatively, because of the removable couplings (not shown) between the upper portions of posts 24 and 25 and mounting units 32 and 33, the chair superstructure without posts 24 and 25 can be lifted away from the base 11.
With the addition of a simple adapter the superstructure portion of chair 10 can be used as an infant seat and installed in an automobile or other vehicle.
Each of the mounting units 32 and 33 has a group of three blocks journalled or threadably coupled to the opposing end portions of cross rod 34. The counterpart blocks of each group are identical and therefore a description of one group will suffice for a full understanding of both groups. Outermost blocks 40 are rotatably mounted by way of smooth bores to cross rod 34 and are formed with generally vertical slots 41. Blocks 40 are removably connected to the upper segments of the support posts 24 and 25 by way of a pair of depending pegs (not shown) that are inserted into sockets or cavities formed in the upper ends of support posts 24 and 25. In addition locking pins similar to locking pins 30 and 31 may be employed. Middle blocks 42 have split sections and slots that aid in mounting the back rest 35. The middle blocks 42 are threadably engaged with intermediate threaded segments of rod 34 for a purpose to be described. The innermost blocks 43, in a manner similar to outer blocks 40, are rotatably connected by way of smooth bores to cross rod 34 and are formed with split sections and generally horizontally aligned slots to aid in mounting portions of seat 36.
A.seat-back rest tilting means is provided for tilting seat 36 and back rest 35 as a rigid unit about cross rod 34. The seat-back rest tilting means includes a pair of outer tightening knobs 44 that are threadably engaged with outer threaded segments of cross rod 34. By loosening knobs 44 the seat 36 and back rest 35 as a unit may be swung to any desired angular position over a broad range of possibilities.
A seat tilting means is provided for tilting just the seat independently about the cross rod 34 in order to change the angle between seat 36 and back rest 35. The seat tilting means is constituted in part by a pair of inner tightening knobs which when loosened permit the seat 36 to be swung independently in order to increase or decrease the angle between seat 36 and stationary back rest 35.
The adjacent faces or sides of blocks 40, 42 and 43 are serrated to constitute locking teeth that can be selectively unlocked when the knobs 44 and 45 are loosened and then interfitted and relocked when the knobs are tightened. Thus if the knobs 44 and 45 are loosened simultaneously a person may adjust the relative angle between seat 36 and back rest 35 and also adjust the relative position of the seat 36 and back rest 35 as a unit. Thereafter the knobs 44 and 45 may be locked again to fix seat 36 and back rest 35 in a desired set position.
The back rest 35 is generally a U-shaped framework 46 having a pair of parallel side members 47 and 48 whose bottom segments are adjustably fitted into middle blocks 42. When a back rest height adjustment means, in the form of tightening nuts 88, is loosened then binding pressure by the split sections of blocks 42 is relaxed to thereby enable the back rest 45 to become length or height adjusted. A cross member 49 is bent slightly backwardly for use as a handle in maneuvering the chain 10 from place to place. An intermediate cross bar 50 is located beneath cross member 49. Back support fabric 51 is held between side members 47 and 48 and back support fabric 52, oriented cross wise relative to fabric 51, is held between cross rod 34 and intermediate cross bar 50.
A horseshoe or U-shaped neck pad 53 as best shown in FIG. 2 is movable in both back and forth directions and lateral directions on a mounting carriage 54. Neck pad 53 is fully padded and is dimensioned to extend from just above the shoulder ofa child to about the ear lobes of a child. A pair of side braces 55 are securely attached to the neck pad 53 and to a pair of rearwardly extending rods 56 which pass through openings in a pair of movable joints 57 slidably coupled to the intermediate cross bar 50.
A slightly different embodiment of the neck pad 53 is shown in FIG. 1 where the carriage 54 has a pair of openings that mount trunk control pads 58 and 59 by way of rearwardly extending rods 60 and 61. The trunk control pads 58 and 59 project generally downwardly from positions adjacent opposing sides of neck pad 53 to prevent a child from pitching forwardly. The trunk control pads 58 and 59 are essentially cylindrical and positioned laterally of the strnolido-mastoid muscles and contact the childs chest below the clavicales. The trunk control pads 58 and 59 restrict only forward motion of the childs body and do not hinder head or arm movement. The pads 58 and 59 are so constructed that when properly positioned a child is unable to squirm free of the support or become confined in an abnormal position.
The neck pad 53 is an effective structure for breaking up strong extensor patterns. The reason for this is that in order for a child to develop thrust with his neck he must coordinate neck extensors and flexsors. A reflex dominated child is unable to do this which apparently breaks up the signal allowing the muscles to relax.
The seat 36 is constructed from a U-shaped framework having a pair of parallel side beams 66 and 67 that are slidably connected within the innermost split blocks 43 of mounting units 32 and 33. When a seat depth adjustment means, formed in part by tightening nuts 87, is loosened then binding pressure by the split sections of blocks 43 is relaxed to thereby enable the seat 36 to become depth or length adjusted. Afrontal cross beam 68 interconnects side beams 66 and 67. Seat support fabric 69 is held taut between side beams 66 and 67. An adduction post 70 is rotatably connected to the frontal cross beam 68 to aid in preventing a child from crossing his legs which is often detrimental to a child. The adduction post 70 may be locked in an upright position for use or swung downwardly out of the way beneath seat 36 if it is not necessary.
A pair of movable arm rests 71 and 72 with depending hip supports are coupled to opposing sides of seat 36. Frontal holding blocks 73 slidably connected to cross beam 68 mount front portions of arm rests 71 and 72. Similarly, rear holding blocks 74 are slidably connected to cross rod 34 and mount rear portions of arm rest 72 and 72. The arm rest 71 and 72 may be moved inwardly towards one another or away from one another and may also be adjusted vertically to accommodate a child. The arm rests 71 and 72 may be totally removed from holding block 73 and 74.
Pivotally connected to seat 36 is a leg rest 78 which includes a pair of side rods 78a and 78b pivotally coupled to cross beam 68 by way of conventional joints. A pair of tightening knobs 79 may be used to fix the angular displacement between leg rest 78 and seat 36. A retractable foot rest 80 is movably coupled to leg rest 78 and may be adjusted by way of movable stops 8]. attached to the side rods of leg rest 78.
Referring to FIG. 1 an eating tray 84 or service tray or desk top or the like has a pair of depending stems S5 and 86 that fit into slots 41 of the mouting units 32 and 33. A seat adjustment means. is provided to selectively reposition the seat 36 back and forth relative to cross rod 34.
OPERATION Keeping the above construction in mind it can be understood how many of the previously described disadvantages of conventional chairs structured for children with cerebral palsy are overcome or substantially eliminated by the present invention.
The superstructure of chair including back rest 35 and seat 36 is assembled on base 11 by way ofjust two structural members i.e.; support posts 24 and 25. The height of seat 36 above the wheeled base 11 is adjusted by positioning the locking pins and 31 in selected height adjustment apertures 26 and 27.
The inclination of seat 36 relative to the back rest is adjusted by the seat tilting means by way of manipulating the inner tightening knobs 45. The depth of seat 36 is adjusted by manipulating the tightening elements 87 of the seat depth adjustment means.
The precise position of the seat 36 and back rest 35 as a unit is set by manipulating the knobs 44 of the seatback rest tilting means.
The arm rests 71 and 72 are correctly positioned by urging them inwardly or outwardly and either raising or lowering them.
The chair 10 can be virtually collapsed and folded down to occupy a relatively small space for shipping and storage purposes.
Various straps and belts and harnesses may be used in connection with the chair 10 to further stabilize the position and handling of a child with cerebral palsy.
From the foregoing it will be evident that the present invention has provided an adjustable chair for children with cerebral palsy in which all of the various advantages are fully realized.
What is claimed is:
1. An adjustable chair for children with cerebral palsy, the chair comprising:
a. a base;
b. a horizontally extending cross rod positioned above the base;
c. a pair of laterally spaced mounting units each comprising a group of three blocks journalled to opposite end portions of the rod for independent rotation about the rod;
d. a pair of upstanding support posts coupled at their bottom portions to the base and removably connected at their upper portions to corresponding outer blocks in the mounting units;
e. a seat including parallel side beams slidably connected to inner blocks in the mounting units;
f. a back rest having parallel side members extending downwardly and slidably connecting to intermediate blocks in the mounting units;
g. seat tilting means cooperating with the inner blocks to lock the block in an adjusted, rotatable position relative to the intermediate blocks for tilt ing the seat independently about the cross rod to change the angle between the seat and back rest;
h. seat depth adjustment means cooperating with said inner blocks for selectively repositioning the parallel side beams for the seat back and forth relative to the cross rod;
. a seat-back rest tilting means cooperating with the outer blocks to lock and release the intermediate and inner blocks in a manner for tilting the seat and back rest as a unit about the cross rod; and,
j. back rest height adjustment means for selectively locking the slidable portions of the parallel side members in the intermediate blocks for changing the back rest height,
wherein, the seat tilting means, seat-back rest tilting means, seat depth adjustment means and back rest height adjustment means are independently operable in order to accommodate the needs of a child.
2. The structure according to claim 1, including:
a U-shaped neck pad coupled to the back rest for cradling the neck of a child.
3. The structure according to claim 2, including:
a pair of trunk control pads coupled to the back rest and projecting downwardly from positions adjacent opposing sides of the neck pad to aid in preventing a child from pitching forward. t
4. The structure according to claim 1, wherein;
the seat includes a generally U-shaped framework with a pair of parallel side beams linked by a frontal cross beam, and,
the seat adjustment means in constructed to cause releasable engagement of the side beams.
5. The structure according to claim 4, including:
a pair of arm rests removably coupled to the seat and constructed to be mutually laterally displaced and vertically adjusted.
6. The structure according to claim 5, including:
front holding blocks slidably connected to the frontal cross beam and forward portions of the arm rests, and,
rear holding blocks slidably connected to the cross rod and rearward portions of the arm rests.
7. The structure according to claim 4, including:
an adduction post connected to the frontal cross beam to aid in preventing the child from crossing his legs.
8. The structure according to claim 4, including:
a leg rest movably coupled to the seat and arranged for angular displacement about the frontal cross beam, and,
a foot rest movably coupled to the leg rest.
9. The structure according to claim 7, wherein;
the leg rest includes a pair of side rods pivotally coupled to the frontal cross beam.
10. The structure according to claim 1, wherein;
the base includes a rectangular frame supported on a plurality of wheels. 11. The structure according to claim 10, including:
locking blocks mounted to the rectangular frame and detachably coupled to corresponding support engagement with corresponding mounting units.