US20050168023A1 - One-hand fold handle for infant carrier - Google Patents

One-hand fold handle for infant carrier Download PDF

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Publication number
US20050168023A1
US20050168023A1 US10/999,148 US99914804A US2005168023A1 US 20050168023 A1 US20050168023 A1 US 20050168023A1 US 99914804 A US99914804 A US 99914804A US 2005168023 A1 US2005168023 A1 US 2005168023A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
handle
locking
actuator
carrier
seat shell
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US10/999,148
Inventor
Shiva Gangadharan
Matthew Morgenstern
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Graco Childrens Products Inc
Original Assignee
Graco Childrens Products Inc
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US52584903P priority Critical
Priority to US56153004P priority
Application filed by Graco Childrens Products Inc filed Critical Graco Childrens Products Inc
Priority to US10/999,148 priority patent/US20050168023A1/en
Assigned to GRACO CHILDREN'S PRODUCTS INC. reassignment GRACO CHILDREN'S PRODUCTS INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: MORGENSTERN, MATTHEW A., GANGADHARAN, SHIVA M.
Publication of US20050168023A1 publication Critical patent/US20050168023A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60NSEATS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR VEHICLES; VEHICLE PASSENGER ACCOMMODATION NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60N2/00Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles
    • B60N2/24Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles for particular purposes or particular vehicles
    • B60N2/26Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles for particular purposes or particular vehicles for children
    • B60N2/28Seats readily mountable on, and dismountable from, existing seats or other parts of the vehicle
    • B60N2/2842Seats readily mountable on, and dismountable from, existing seats or other parts of the vehicle adapted to carry the child, when dismounted from the vehicle
    • B60N2/2845Seats readily mountable on, and dismountable from, existing seats or other parts of the vehicle adapted to carry the child, when dismounted from the vehicle having handles
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47DFURNITURE SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR CHILDREN
    • A47D13/00Other nursery furniture
    • A47D13/02Baby-carriers; Carry-cots
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60NSEATS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR VEHICLES; VEHICLE PASSENGER ACCOMMODATION NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60N2/00Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles
    • B60N2/24Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles for particular purposes or particular vehicles
    • B60N2/26Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles for particular purposes or particular vehicles for children
    • B60N2/28Seats readily mountable on, and dismountable from, existing seats or other parts of the vehicle
    • B60N2/2803Adaptations for seat belts
    • B60N2/2806Adaptations for seat belts securing the child seat to the vehicle
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60NSEATS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR VEHICLES; VEHICLE PASSENGER ACCOMMODATION NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60N2/00Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles
    • B60N2/24Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles for particular purposes or particular vehicles
    • B60N2/26Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles for particular purposes or particular vehicles for children
    • B60N2/28Seats readily mountable on, and dismountable from, existing seats or other parts of the vehicle
    • B60N2/2821Seats readily mountable on, and dismountable from, existing seats or other parts of the vehicle having a seat and a base part
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60NSEATS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR VEHICLES; VEHICLE PASSENGER ACCOMMODATION NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60N2/00Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles
    • B60N2/24Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles for particular purposes or particular vehicles
    • B60N2/26Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles for particular purposes or particular vehicles for children
    • B60N2/28Seats readily mountable on, and dismountable from, existing seats or other parts of the vehicle
    • B60N2/2857Seats readily mountable on, and dismountable from, existing seats or other parts of the vehicle characterised by the peculiar orientation of the child
    • B60N2/286Seats readily mountable on, and dismountable from, existing seats or other parts of the vehicle characterised by the peculiar orientation of the child forward facing
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60NSEATS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR VEHICLES; VEHICLE PASSENGER ACCOMMODATION NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60N2/00Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles
    • B60N2/24Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles for particular purposes or particular vehicles
    • B60N2/26Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles for particular purposes or particular vehicles for children
    • B60N2/28Seats readily mountable on, and dismountable from, existing seats or other parts of the vehicle
    • B60N2/2857Seats readily mountable on, and dismountable from, existing seats or other parts of the vehicle characterised by the peculiar orientation of the child
    • B60N2/2863Seats readily mountable on, and dismountable from, existing seats or other parts of the vehicle characterised by the peculiar orientation of the child backward facing
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60NSEATS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR VEHICLES; VEHICLE PASSENGER ACCOMMODATION NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60N2/00Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles
    • B60N2/24Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles for particular purposes or particular vehicles
    • B60N2/26Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles for particular purposes or particular vehicles for children
    • B60N2/28Seats readily mountable on, and dismountable from, existing seats or other parts of the vehicle
    • B60N2/2875Seats readily mountable on, and dismountable from, existing seats or other parts of the vehicle inclinable, as a whole or partially

Abstract

An infant carrier includes a seat shell and a handle. The handle may be moved between a carrying position and a storage position by actuating, with only one hand, an actuator assembly provided in the handle. When actuated, an actuator of the actuator assembly disengages locking mechanisms associated with first and second ends of the handle where the handle is joined to the seat shell. The disengagement of the locking mechanisms enables to the handle to be rotated with respect to the seat shell.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/525,849, filed Dec. 1, 2003, and U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/561,530, filed Apr. 13, 2004, both of which are incorporated by reference in their entireties.
  • BACKGROUND
  • This invention relates to an infant car seat including a foldable handle that may be rotated between a carrying position (in which an infant in the car seat may be carried) and a storage position (in which access to a seating area in the car seat is facilitated).
  • Rear-facing infant car seats generally include a base that can be secured to a vehicle seat and an infant carrier detachably coupled to the base. The infant carrier has a carrying handle so that a parent can carry a sleeping child from car to home without disturbing the child. The infant carrier also can be snapped onto a stroller to make a travel system. Thus, the infant carrier can play an important part in daily parental care of a child, and ease of use of the infant carrier is critical to parents.
  • When a parent wants to place a child in the carrier, the carrying handle needs to be away from the child seating area (i.e., in the stored position) so the child can be secured safely in the carrier. Carriers with handles generally have a handle lock on each side of the carrier, both of which must be released to rotate the handle away from the child seating area. Oftentimes, the handle is left in the up (or carrying) position. When the parent goes to place the child in the carrier, the parent cannot simultaneously manipulate the handle and hold the child. Instead, the parent must set the child down, away from the carrier, then use both hands to unlock and rotate the handle away from the child seating area, and finally lift and place the child in the carrier. This sequence can be awkward, frustrating, and time-consuming for the parent.
  • In light of the foregoing, there is a need in the art for an infant carrier with an improved handle release and rotation mechanism.
  • SUMMARY
  • An embodiment of the present invention relates to a carrier configured to be secured to a base of an infant seat. This carrier includes, among other possible things: a seat shell including an infant seating area and first and second handle mounts on opposite sides of the infant seating area; a handle rotatably coupled to the seat shell such that first and second ends of the handle are mounted to the first and second handle mounts, respectively; first and second locking mechanisms associated with the first and second ends of the handle, respectively, the first and second locking mechanisms being configured to lock the handle relative to the seat shell; and an actuator mounted to the handle, the actuator being configured to unlock the first and second locking mechanisms solely by moving the actuator from a locked position to an unlocked position relative to the handle.
  • Another embodiment of the present invention relates to an infant carrier that includes, among other possible things: a seat shell including an infant seating area, a first handle mount, and a second handle mount; a handle rotatably coupled to the first and second handle mounts; first and second locking mechanisms associated with the first and second handle mounts, respectively, the first and second locking mechanisms being configured to lock the handle relative to the seat shell; and an actuator assembly that is mounted to the handle, the actuator assembly being configured to engage and disengage the first and second locking mechanisms thereby enabling the handle to rotate with respect to the seat shell.
  • Another embodiment of the present invention relates to a carrier configured to be secured to a base of an infant seat. This carrier includes, among other possible things: a seat shell including an infant seating area and first and second handle mounts on opposite sides of the infant seating area; a handle rotatably coupled to the seat shell such that first and second ends of the handle are mounted to the first and second handle mounts, respectively; at least one locking mechanism associated with one of the first and second ends of the handle, the at least one locking mechanism being configured to lock the handle relative to the seat shell; and an actuator provided in the handle in a position intermediate the first and second ends of the handle, the actuator being configured to unlock the at least one locking mechanism solely by moving the actuator from a locked position to an unlocked position relative to the handle.
  • Another embodiment of the present invention relates to an infant carrier that includes, among other possible things: a seat shell including an infant seating area, a first handle mount, and a second handle mount; a handle rotatably coupled to the first and second handle mounts; at least one locking mechanism associated with one of the first and second handle mounts, the at least one locking mechanism being configured to lock the handle relative to the seat shell; and an actuator mounted to the handle, the actuator being configured to unlock all of the locking mechanisms solely by moving the actuator from a locked position to an unlocked position relative to the handle.
  • It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive of the invention, as claimed.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate several embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.
  • FIG. 1A is a perspective view of an embodiment of a child carrier, including a handle in a carrying position;
  • FIG. 1B is a perspective view of the carrier of FIG. 1A but with the handle in a stored position;
  • FIG. 2 is an exploded, perspective view of a connection between the handle and a seat shell of the carrier of FIGS. 1A and 1B;
  • FIG. 3 is a side view of a locking member engaged with the handle of the carrier of FIGS. 1A and 1B;
  • FIG. 4A is front view of the locking member of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 4B is a rear view of the locking member of FIG. 4A;
  • FIG. 5A is an isometric view of a handle mount configured to receive the locking member of FIGS. 4A and 4B;
  • FIG. 5B is a front view of the handle mount portion of FIG. 5A;
  • FIG. 6A is an exploded, isometric, partial cut-away view of a portion of the handle, showing the relationship between a conical portion of the locking member of FIGS. 4A and 4B and a cord engagement member;
  • FIG. 6B is an end view of the cord engagement member and the conical portion of the locking member in a resting state;
  • FIG. 6C is a side view of the cord engagement member and the conical portion of the locking member in the resting state shown in FIG. 6B;
  • FIG. 6D is an end view of the cord engagement member and the conical portion of the locking member in an actuated state;
  • FIG. 6E is a side view of the cord engagement member and the conical portion of the locking member in the actuated state shown in FIG. 6D;
  • FIG. 7A is a break-away perspective view of a push-button actuator assembly provided in the handle of the carrier shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, the figure showing that the push-button actuator is connected to a cord that, in turn, is connected to the cord engagement member;
  • FIG. 7B is an exterior, close-up perspective view of the push-button actuator shown in FIG. 7A;
  • FIG. 8A is a break-away perspective view of the push-button actuator shown in FIG. 7A, the figure showing that the actuator has sloped surfaces that, when pushed rearward, can force a cord connector to be pulled inward, thereby pulling the cord and, in turn, the cord engagement member;
  • FIG. 8B is a break-away perspective view, in partial cross section, of the push-button actuator of FIG. 8A;
  • FIG. 8C is a break-away perspective view, in partial cross section, of the push-button actuator of FIG. 8A, showing the push-button actuator actuated such that the sloped surfaces are driven into the cord connectors, thereby pulling the cord connectors toward the center of the handle;
  • FIG. 9A is a break-away perspective view of an alternative actuator assembly; and
  • FIG. 9B is a break-away perspective view of the slide-button actuator assembly shown in FIG. 9A.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Reference will now be made in detail to various 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.
  • FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate an infant carrier 100 having an adjustable handle 110 that can be folded with one hand according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • The carrier 100 includes a seat shell 120, a padded seating portion 105 serving as an infant seating area, an adjustable handle 110, a handle gripping portion 112, and a handle actuator 820. The handle gripping portion 112, which extends along a substantial portion of the horizontal portion of adjustable handle 110, allows a person carrying the carrier 100 to grip the handle 110 comfortably at any point along the handle gripping portion 112.
  • The handle 110 is connected to the seat shell 120 at two handle ends 118, each of which contains a locking mechanism 200 (shown in FIG. 2) that is configured to releasably fix the orientation of the handle 110 with respect to the seat shell 120. Specifically, the handle 110 is configured to be locked (by means of the locking mechanisms 200 associated with the handle ends 118) in several distinct rotational positions including, but not limited to, a carrying position (shown in FIG. 1A) and a stored position (shown in FIG. 1B). In the carrying position, a parent may carry an infant seated in the seating portion 105. In the stored position, in which the handle 110 does not impede direct access to the seating portion 105, a parent can easily place an infant in the seating portion 105 or remove the infant from the seating portion 105.
  • The seat shell 120 and the adjustable handle 110 may be constructed of any appropriate rigid material. For example, the seat shell 120 and the adjustable handle 110 may be constructed of metal or a high-strength plastic such as an injection molded plastic.
  • FIG. 2 shows an exploded isometric view of the locking mechanism 200 of the carrier 100. It is to be understood that although only one locking mechanism 200 is shown and described, locking mechanisms 200 are provided on both ends of the handle 110. Accordingly, the following discussion of the locking mechanism 200 is equally applicable to the locking mechanism at the other end of the handle 110. The locking mechanism 200 may include a locking member 220, a locking member receiving portion 210 at the end 118 of the handle 110, and a handle mount 240 formed on a side of the seat shell 120.
  • The locking member 220 includes a recess portion 221, a conical portion 222, a cylindrical portion 224, alignment locking tabs 227, a plurality of teeth 229, which include at least one key tooth 228, and over-rotation prevention tabs 226. The locking member 220 may be constructed of any appropriate rigid material. For example, locking member 220 may be constructed of metal or a high-strength plastic such as an injection molded plastic.
  • The handle 110 includes the locking member receiving portion 210, which, in turn, includes over-rotation prevention tabs 212 and locking ridges 216. Small gaps 218 and large gaps 214 are formed between locking ridges 216. The large gaps 214 are configured to engage the at least one key tooth 228, or two teeth 229. In contrast, the small gaps 218 are configured to engage a single tooth 229 and will not receive the key tooth 228 due to their size. The over-rotation prevention tabs 212 are configured to engage the over-rotation prevention tabs 226 of the locking member 220 to limit the extent of rotation of the handle 110 with respect to locking member 220. The handle 110 and associated components of the locking mechanism 200 may be constructed of any appropriate rigid material. For example, the handle 110 and its locking member receiving portion 210, including tabs 212 and locking ridges 216, may be constructed of metal or a high-strength plastic such as an injection molded plastic.
  • Locking mechanism 200 also may include a biasing spring 230 to urge the conical portion 222 of the locking member 220 towards the locking member receiving portion 210 of the handle 110. The handle mount 240 can receive one end of the biasing spring 230. The other end of the spring 230 can be received in the recess 221 in the locking member 220. Thus, the biasing spring 230 biases the locking member 220 and its conical portion 222 toward the handle 110. More specifically, the biasing spring 230 biases the locking member 220 so that it is partially received in the locking member receiving portion 210 of the handle 110, whereas the remainder of the locking member 220 is received in the handle mount 240. As the biasing spring 230 biases the locking member 220 to engage both the locking member receiving portion 210 of the handle 110 and the handle mount 240, movement of the locking member receiving portion 210 (and, therefore, the handle 110) with respect to the handle mount 240 can be releasably inhibited.
  • FIG. 2 also shows a pin 270 that serves as an axle for the rotation of the handle 110. The pin 270 passes through the locking member receiving portion 210 of the handle 110, the locking member 220, the biasing spring 230, and the handle mount 240 to secure the entire assembly together. Although not shown, the pin 270 may have threads thereon (e.g., the pin 270 may be in the form of a screw) that are configured to engage matching threads formed in or on the handle mount 240. However, it should be understood that the pin 270 may be formed from any appropriate attachment mechanism such as a screw, a bolt, a shaft with a lock pin, etc.
  • FIG. 3 shows a front view of a portion of a handle 110. The handle 110 includes locking member receiving portion 210, over-rotation prevention tabs 212, locking ridges 216, small gaps 218, and large gaps 214. Furthermore, handle 110 includes a pin hole 310, which is configured to receive the pin 270, and a raised cylindrical boss 315. As shown, the handle 100 may include three pairs of large gaps 214 and, therefore, have three distinct locking positions. However, it should be understood that any number of distinct locking positions could be accommodated without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
  • FIG. 4A shows a front view of the locking member 220. The locking member 220 includes conical portion 222 having a tip 223, cylindrical portion 224, alignment locking tabs 227, teeth 229 (including the at least one key tooth 228), over-rotation prevention tabs 226, and a pin hole 510. The other side of the locking member 220, which is shown in FIG. 4B, includes the recess portion 221.
  • FIG. 5A shows an isometric view of the handle mount 240. The handle mount 240 includes a pin hole 610, a spring mounting surface 620, locking tab receiving cut-outs 630, locking ridges 640, and key tooth receiving gaps 650. As shown in FIG. 5B, which is a front view of the handle mount 240, the key tooth receiving gaps 650 are configured to receive the key teeth 228, while the locking ridges 640 are configured to receive the other teeth 229. During assembly, the biasing spring 230 is placed between pin hole 610 and the spring mounting surface 620. Subsequently, the locking member 220 is placed into the handle mount 240 until alignment locking tabs 227 engage the locking tab receiving cut-outs 630. As a result, the locking member 220 is biased away from the handle mount 240 toward the locking member receiving portion 210.
  • With reference to FIGS. 2 and 5A, the locking tab receiving cut-outs 630 are longer in the axial direction than the alignment locking tabs 227. Thus, the locking member 220 is able to move axially (when biasing spring 230 is compressed) with respect to the handle mount 240, without becoming completely disengaged from the handle mount 240. However, the locking member 220 is prevented from rotating with respect to the handle mount 240 when the locking member 220 is received in the handle mount 240 as a result of the engagement of the teeth 229 and the locking ridges 640.
  • Adjustment of the handle 110 of the carrier 100 now will be described in detail with reference to actuator assembly embodiments shown in FIGS. 6A-9B. A first actuator assembly embodiment will be described with respect to FIGS. 6A-8B and an alternate actuator assembly embodiment will subsequently be described with respect to FIGS. 9A and 9B. Preliminarily, however, certain components of the locking mechanism 200 of each of the actuator assembly embodiments will be discussed with reference to FIGS. 6A-6E.
  • As stated above, the locking mechanism 200 can include the locking member 220, the locking member receiving portion 210, the spring 230, and the handle mount 240. A cord engagement member 250 can interface with the locking member 220. FIG. 6A is a exploded, isometric, partial cut-away view of a portion of the handle 110 of the carrier 100 and illustrates the positioning of the cord engagement member 250 in the locking member receiving portion 210 and relative to the locking member 220. The cord engagement member 250 is positioned against an inner wall 150 of the locking member receiving portion 210 to slide along the inner wall 150 upon actuation of the actuator assembly. In addition, the cord engagement member 250 includes a generally triangular or trapezoidal slot 252 to receive the conical portion 222 of the locking member 220. The conical portion 222 of the locking member 220 is urged into slot 252 of the cord engagement member 250 by spring 230.
  • As shown in FIGS. 6B and 6C, in a resting position, the end of the conical portion 222 resides within the triangular slot 252. More specifically, the end of the conical portion 222 spans the wider base 254 of the triangular slot 252 such that, as seen in FIG. 6B, a tip 223 of the conical portion 222 is not in contact with the sides of the triangular slot 252. Further, the teeth 229 of the locking member 220 are engaged with both the small gaps 218 of the locking member receiving portion 210 of the handle 110 and the locking ridges 640 of the handle mount 240. Similarly, the key teeth 228 are engaged with the large gaps 214 in the locking member receiving portion 210 of the handle 110 and the key tooth receiving gaps 650 of the handle mount 240.
  • By comparison, in an actuated state shown in FIGS. 6D and 6E (in which the cord engagement member 250 is pulled toward the center of the handle 110, as later explained in detail), the conical portion 222 of the locking member receiving portion 210 is drawn into contact with the triangular slot 252. As a result, the tip 223 of the conical portion 222 comes into contact with the peak 256 and the sides of the triangular slot 252. In addition, as a result of the narrowing of the triangular slot 252, as the conical portion 222 nears the peak 256, the conical portion 222 is moved laterally out of the slot 252, away from the locking member receiving portion 210 and toward the handle mount 240.
  • When the conical portion 222 is moved laterally to the position in FIG. 6E, the biasing spring 230 is compressed, and the locking member 220 is pushed completely into the handle mount 240 to an actuated position. In other words, the teeth 229 of the locking member 220 are disengaged from the small gaps 218 in the locking member receiving portion 210 of the handle 110 and are completely housed in the locking ridges 640 of the handle mount 240. Similarly, the key teeth 228 are forced out of the large gaps 214 in the locking member receiving portion 210 of the handle 110 and are completely housed in the key tooth receiving gaps 650 of the handle mount 240.
  • When the locking member 220 is completely housed in the handle mount 240, the locking member 220 is corresponding completely disengaged from the locking member receiving portion 210 of the handle 110. As a result, the handle 110 is able to rotate with respect to the locking member 220 and the handle mount 240. For example, the handle 110 may be rotated from the carrying position (shown in FIG. 1A) to the stored position (shown in FIG. 1B) in which the padded seating portion 105 is readily accessible.
  • When the handle 110 is rotated to a desired position at which the key teeth 228 are aligned with the large gaps 214 in the locking member receiving portion 210 of the handle 110, the locking member 220 may be returned to the resting state, as later described in detail. To return the locking member 220 to the resting state, the biasing spring 230 pushes the locking member 220 into the locking member receiving portion 210 of the handle 110, thereby once again locking the handle 110 with respect to the locking member 220 and the handle mount 240.
  • To move the conical portion 222 of the locking member 220 between the resting and actuated positions, the invention contemplates an actuator assembly, such as the embodiments shown in FIGS. 7A-8C and 9B-9B.
  • An exemplary actuator assembly 800 is shown in FIGS. 7A-8C. For purposes of simplicity, this actuator assembly 800 is discussed with respect to the locking mechanism 200 on one side of the carrier 100. It is be understood, however, that the other locking mechanism 200 (i.e., the one on the other side of the carrier) is actuated in the same manner and by the same actuator assembly 800.
  • Actuator assembly 800 can include a cord 810 that terminates at cord engagement member 250 (shown in more detail in FIGS. 6A-6E), a cord connector 830, and a push-button actuator 820. The cord 810, which may be made out of a flexible but strong material (e.g., a polymer, rope, wire, etc.), connects the cord connector 830 to the cord engagement member 250. The cord connector 830, the cord 810, and the cord engagement member 250 may be integrally formed. Alternatively, these three components may be formed separately and then subsequently adjoined.
  • As shown in FIG. 7B, a portion 822 of the push-button actuator 820 projects through the handle 110 and is, therefore, externally accessible to a user for purposes of actuation, as hereafter described with respect to FIGS. 8A-8C. In FIGS. 8A and 8B, it can be seen that a sloped surface 824 of the push-button 820 is received within a slot 832 formed in the cord connector 830. As a result, when the accessible portion 822 of the push-button actuator 820 is pushed into the handle 110 (i.e., in the direction of arrow α shown in FIGS. 7A and 8C), the cord connector 830 rides along the sloped surface 824, thereby moving toward the center 160 of the handle 110 (i.e., in the direction of arrow β).
  • As the cord connector 830 moves toward the center of the handle 110, it pulls the cord 810 and, in turn, the cord engagement member 250 toward the center 160 of the handle 110. As a result, the cord engagement member 250 moves in the direction of arrow ω, shown in FIG. 7A. Further, as the cord engagement member 250 moves in the direction of arrow ω, the locking member 220 moves laterally inward with respect to the cord engagement member 250. In other words, the locking member 220 moves in the direction of arrow β (as shown in FIG. 7A) and is, therefore, forced into the actuated state, previously discussed with respect to FIGS. 6D and 6E.
  • To return the locking member 220 to the resting state shown in FIGS. 6B and 6C, the user releases the push-button 820. When the push-button 820 is released, the biasing spring 230 forces the locking member 220 laterally outward (i.e., in the direction of arrow φ in FIG. 7A), thereby forcing the cord engagement member 250 to move downward (i.e., in the direction of arrow σ), which, in turn, pulls the cord 810 away from the center 160 of the handle 110 (i.e., in the direction of arrow η). As the cord 810 is pulled away from the center 160 of the handle 110, the cord connector 830 returns to the state shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B. As a result, the push-button actuator 820 is pushed back (i.e., in direction of arrow γ) into the position shown in FIG. 7A. The push-button 820 can be actuated and released repeatedly.
  • Another actuator assembly 900 is shown in FIGS. 9A and 9B. The actuator assembly 900 includes a slide actuator 920, two racks 922, 924, and a pinion 940 (the axis of rotation R of which is fixed). The cords 810 and the cord engagement members 250 function in the same manner as previously described with respect to the push-button actuator assembly 820. Accordingly, a discussion of the cords 810 and the cord engagement members 250 with respect to this assembly 900 is omitted.
  • The slide actuator 920, like the push-button actuator 820, is provided in the center 160 of the handle 110. The slide actuator 920 is fixedly connected to a front rack 922 that, in turn, is fixedly connected to a cord 810A that extends to a cord engagement member 250 (not shown in FIGS. 9A and 9B), as previously described.
  • The front rack 922 includes a plurality of recesses 923 that are sized to receive teeth 942 that extend around the pinion 940. Similar to the front rack 922, the rear rack 924 also includes a plurality of recess 925 that are sized to receive the teeth 942 of the pinion 940. Moreover, the rear rack 924 is similarly fixedly connected to the other cord 810B.
  • To actuate the slide actuator assembly 900, a tab 930 projecting from the slide actuator 920 can be pushed in the direction of the horizontal portion of the handle 110, i.e., in the direction of arrow β. When the tab 930 is pushed, the front rack 930 (and the cord 810A attached thereto) likewise is moved in the direction of arrow β. As the axis of rotation R of the pinion 940 is fixed, when the front rack 922 moves in the direction of arrow β, the recesses 923, which are engaged with the teeth 942 of the pinion 940, cause the pinion 940 to rotate about its axis of rotation R. In turn, the rotation of the pinion 940 drives the teeth 942 into the recess 925 of the rear rack 924, thereby causing the rear rack 924 (and the cord 810B attached thereto) to move in the direction of arrow η. As a result, both cords 810A, 810B are pulled toward the center 160 of the handle 110 in a manner similar to that previously described with respect to the push-button actuator assembly 800. Moreover, as a result of the movement of the cords 810A, 810B toward the center 160 of the handle, the actuator assembly 900 goes from a resting state shown in FIG. 9A to the actuated state shown in FIG. 9B.
  • To return to the resting state of FIG. 9A, the user merely needs to release the tab 930. As a result, the biasing springs 230 will push their associated locking members 220 into the associated triangular slots 252 of the cord engagement member 250, thereby causing the cords 810A, 810B to be pulled away from the center 160 of the handle 110. In turn, the slide 920 will be returned to its original state (i.e., the resting state shown in FIG. 9A) by a reverse rotation of the pinion 940.
  • Other actuation assembly mechanisms are contemplated. For example, instead of a push-button assembly 800 or a slide assembly 900, a twisting or rotating mechanism could be used. The moving members 114 of the embodiments shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B of U.S. Pat. No. 6,068,284, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety, are two examples of twisting or rotating members that could be used in a one-hand actuation assembly according to the present invention.
  • Although the actuators of the above-described actuator assemblies are located at the center of the handle, it will be understood that, in other embodiments, the actuator can be located elsewhere on the handle, doe example, at either end of the handle or at a location intermediate the ends of the handle.
  • It will be understood that the carrier 100 can be used in a variety of vehicles, including but not limited to cars, trucks, buses, and airplanes. Moreover, the adjustable handle is easily operable and may automatically return to a locked position upon rotation of the handle to a selected position. In addition, because the locking member can engage the adjustable handle over a large surface area, preferably over its entire circumference (i.e., 360 degrees), the adjustable handle assembly may be able to withstand greater forces without failure.
  • The embodiments set forth herein were for purposes 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.

Claims (17)

1. A carrier configured to be secured to a base of an infant seat, the carrier comprising:
a seat shell including an infant seating area and first and second handle mounts on opposite sides of the infant seating area;
a handle rotatably coupled to the seat shell such that first and second ends of the handle are mounted to the first and second handle mounts, respectively;
first and second locking mechanisms associated with the first and second ends of the handle, respectively, the first and second locking mechanisms being configured to lock the handle relative to the seat shell; and
an actuator mounted to the handle, the actuator being configured to unlock the first and second locking mechanisms solely by moving the actuator from a locked position to an unlocked position relative to the handle.
2. The carrier according to claim 1, wherein the actuator slides in a direction parallel to the handle.
3. The carrier according to claim 1, wherein the actuator slides in a direction normal to the handle.
4. The carrier according to claim 1, wherein the actuator communicates with the first and second locking mechanisms via first and second cords, respectively.
5. The carrier according to claim 4, wherein the handle includes a housing, and wherein the first and second cords extend through the housing to the first and second locking mechanisms, respectively.
6. An infant carrier comprising:
a seat shell including an infant seating area, a first handle mount, and a second handle mount;
a handle rotatably coupled to the first and second handle mounts;
first and second locking mechanisms associated with the first and second handle mounts, respectively, the first and second locking mechanisms being configured to lock the handle relative to the seat shell; and
an actuator assembly that is mounted to the handle, the actuator assembly being configured to engage and disengage the first and second locking mechanisms thereby enabling the handle to rotate with respect to the seat shell.
7. The carrier according to claim 6, wherein the actuator assembly comprises an actuator that slides in a direction parallel to the handle.
8. The carrier according to claim 6, wherein the actuator assembly comprises an actuator that slides in a direction normal to the handle.
9. The carrier according to claim 6, wherein the actuator assembly comprises an actuator, a first cord, and a second cord, wherein the actuator communicates with the first and second locking mechanisms via the first and second cords, respectively.
10. The carrier according to claim 9, wherein the handle includes a housing, and wherein the first and second cords extend through the housing to the first and second locking mechanisms, respectively.
11. A carrier configured to be secured to a base of an infant seat, the carrier comprising:
a seat shell including an infant seating area and first and second handle mounts on opposite sides of the infant seating area;
a handle rotatably coupled to the seat shell such that first and second ends of the handle are mounted to the first and second handle mounts, respectively;
at least one locking mechanism associated with one of the first and second ends of the handle, the at least one locking mechanism being configured to lock the handle relative to the seat shell; and
an actuator provided in the handle in a position intermediate the first and second ends of the handle, the actuator being configured to unlock the at least one locking mechanism solely by moving the actuator from a locked position to an unlocked position relative to the handle.
12. The carrier according to claim 11, wherein the actuator slides in a direction parallel to the handle.
13. The carrier according to claim 11, wherein the actuator slides in a direction normal to the handle.
14. The carrier according to claim 11, wherein the carrier comprises first and second locking mechanisms associated with the first and second ends of the handle, respectively.
15. The carrier according to claim 14, wherein the actuator communicates with the first and second locking mechanisms via first and second cords, respectively.
16. The carrier according to claim 15, wherein the handle includes a housing, and wherein the first and second cords extend through the housing to the first and second locking mechanisms, respectively.
17. An infant carrier comprising:
a seat shell including an infant seating area, a first handle mount, and a second handle mount;
a handle rotatably coupled to the first and second handle mounts;
at least one locking mechanism associated with one of the first and second handle mounts, the at least one locking mechanism being configured to lock the handle relative to the seat shell; and
an actuator mounted to the handle, the actuator being configured to unlock all of the locking mechanisms solely by moving the actuator from a locked position to an unlocked position relative to the handle.
US10/999,148 2003-12-01 2004-11-30 One-hand fold handle for infant carrier Abandoned US20050168023A1 (en)

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US56153004P true 2004-04-13 2004-04-13
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PCT/US2004/040043 WO2005054001A1 (en) 2003-12-01 2004-12-01 One-hand fold handle for infant carrier

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GB2432345A (en) * 2005-11-18 2007-05-23 Red Lan Child carrier with pivotal handle to interlock with stroller
GB2432345B (en) * 2005-11-18 2008-04-09 Red Lan Child carrier
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US20080067845A1 (en) * 2006-02-28 2008-03-20 Britax Child Safety, Inc. Carry handle seat latch for child safety seat
EP1839937A1 (en) * 2006-03-31 2007-10-03 Jane, S.A. A device for the articulated linking of handles to infant seats, carrycots and the like
US7909353B2 (en) * 2006-04-03 2011-03-22 Graco Children's Products Inc. Stroller frame having a spine assembly for folding and extending the stroller frame
US20070290485A1 (en) * 2006-04-03 2007-12-20 Graco Children's Products Inc. Stroller Frame
GB2466105B (en) * 2008-12-09 2013-03-20 Gm Global Tech Operations Inc Actuating lever for a longitudinal adjustment device of a motor vehicle seat
GB2483560B (en) * 2010-09-10 2017-08-02 Bp Children's Products Hk Co Ltd Bassinet with handle and anchoring member
GB2483560A (en) * 2010-09-10 2012-03-14 Bp Childrens Prod Hk Co Ltd Bassinet with handle
US9371017B2 (en) 2012-07-03 2016-06-21 Kids Ii, Inc. Pivotal handle lock/release mechanism for child car seat
US10351027B2 (en) 2015-01-29 2019-07-16 Artsana Usa, Inc. Carry handle release mechanism for a child seat
USD837538S1 (en) * 2016-08-12 2019-01-08 Cybex Gmbh Child safety seat for motor cars
US10300814B2 (en) * 2016-09-16 2019-05-28 Wonderland Switzerland Ag Child safety seat
US10562418B2 (en) * 2016-09-16 2020-02-18 Wonderland Switzerland Ag Load leg and child safety seat assembly therewith
US10737593B1 (en) 2018-07-02 2020-08-11 Summer Infant (Usa), Inc. Car seat

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