US20120205954A1 - Child Motion Device with Adjustable Seat - Google Patents

Child Motion Device with Adjustable Seat Download PDF

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Publication number
US20120205954A1
US20120205954A1 US13349548 US201213349548A US2012205954A1 US 20120205954 A1 US20120205954 A1 US 20120205954A1 US 13349548 US13349548 US 13349548 US 201213349548 A US201213349548 A US 201213349548A US 2012205954 A1 US2012205954 A1 US 2012205954A1
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
seat
mechanism
example
motion
child
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
US13349548
Inventor
Thomas J. Pollack
Chad Robbins
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Graco Children s Products Inc
Original Assignee
Graco Children s Products Inc
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47DFURNITURE SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR CHILDREN
    • A47D1/00Children's chairs
    • A47D1/002Children's chairs adjustable

Abstract

A child motion device has a support having an upstanding post, a seat mounted on the upstanding post, and a rotation assembly. The rotation assembly has detents carried by either the seat or the post and spaced around and radially outward from the post, and has a spring biased protrusion carried on the other of the seat and the post. The seat can be rotated to different orientations corresponding to the detent positions. The protrusion seats in one of the detents positioning the seat in a selected orientation relative to the support and determined by the detent in which it is seated.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATION DATA
  • [0001]
    This patent is related to and claims priority benefit of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 61/432,099 filed Jan. 12, 2011 and entitled “Child Motion Device.” The entire contents of this prior filed application are hereby incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Disclosure
  • [0003]
    The present disclosure is generally directed to child motion devices, and more particularly to a child motion device with a multi-motion adjustable seat.
  • [0004]
    2. Description of Related Art
  • [0005]
    Child motion devices are known, such as infant swings and the like, and typically have a seat for holding an infant or child. Some of these devices have a seat with a seat back that can be reclined. Known recline mechanisms require a multitude of secondary components. One such example is the Luv'n Hug product produced by Graco Children's Products Inc. and which has a seat back with a recline mechanism. Some known recline mechanisms employ a large sized mechanism, such as the recline mechanism on the Blossom High Chair also produced by Graco. The Luv'n Hug recline mechanism utilizes a metal recline wire, two recline plungers, and two relatively complex recline lock housings on the sides of the seat. The Blossom High Chair recline mechanism utilizes a metal recline wire that engages into plastic (polypropylene) lock slots. The slots are located a minimum of about 2 inches away from the axis of rotation of the seat back, resulting in a minimum recline lock moment arm of about 2 inches for the seat back to the seat bottom.
  • [0006]
    Some child motion devices are also known to have a seat that can be rotationally adjusted to face in different directions. In other words, the child seat can swivel. One problem is in the complexity and number of components typically required to deliver or provide the swivel motion or orientation adjustment to the seat. Most such seats have predetermined selectable stations or positions to which the seat can be moved. Some provide an engagement mechanism that retains the seat in a selected orientation. Some require that the seat be completely removed fro a support frame and then replaced on the frame in the desired orientation. The components are typically complex and require numerous parts, which result in added manufacturing and part cost. In one example, Fisher Price and Kids2 have provided such seats by utilizing complex, multiple-component assemblies. The main attribute that both designs have is an acetyl plunger coupled with a compression spring that snaps into indents in the mating geometry. Due to the complexity of these products, the devices are costly while providing minimal benefit.
  • [0007]
    Another problem with such devices is that the products are large in size. The seats and supports or frames for these devices are also large in size. Many of these products come pre-assembled, thus requiring large size packaging and taking up a lot of shipping and shelf cube space. Some of these products require assembly of the seat to a support or frame. Such products require tools for assembly and typically have multiple parts that must first be assembled or installed prior to the seat being added to the support or frame. A noted common execution can be found on the above-mentioned Luv'n′ Hug slung seat where the top seat frame is coupled to the bottom seat frame by means of a rivet assembled by the manufacturer. Some of these types of child motion devices have one or more fasteners that require one or more tools and purchaser labor to assemble the product prior to use.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0008]
    In one example according to the teachings of the present invention, a child motion device has a support with an upstanding post, a seat mounted on the upstanding post, and a rotation mechanism. The rotation mechanism has a plurality of detents provided on one of the seat and the post and spaced circumferentially around and radially outward relative to the post, and has a spring biased protrusion carried on the other of the seat and the post. The seat can be rotated about the post to different orientations corresponding to the position of the plurality of detents. The spring biased protrusion is biased into and seats in a selected one of the plurality of detents to position the seat in a desired one of the different orientations relative to the support frame.
  • [0009]
    In one example, the upstanding post can be part of a swing arm on a swing.
  • [0010]
    In one example, the upstanding post can be a tube.
  • [0011]
    In one example, the rotation mechanism can have a housing and a portion of the rotation mechanism can be carried on a downward facing surface of the housing.
  • [0012]
    In one example, the rotation mechanism can include a collar on an underside facing surface of the rotation mechanism or the seat. The plurality of detents can be carried on a surface of the collar.
  • [0013]
    In one example, the rotation mechanism can include a hub carried on the upstanding post and the spring biased protrusion can be carried on the hub.
  • [0014]
    In one example, the rotation mechanism can further include a collar with a surface. The plurality of detents can be carried on the surface of the collar. The rotation mechanism can also include a hub carried on the upstanding post. The spring biased protrusion can be carried on the hub.
  • [0015]
    In one example, the rotation mechanism can further include a collar with radial inward facing surface. The plurality of detents can be carried on the surface of the collar. The rotation mechanism can also include a hub carried on the upstanding post. The spring biased protrusion can be carried on the hub and the hub can seat within the surface of the collar and the spring biased protrusion can be biased radially outward against the surface of the collar.
  • [0016]
    In one example, the child motion device can include two of the spring biased protrusions. Each of the protrusions can be carried on a metal leaf spring positioned opposite one another on a hub of the rotation mechanism.
  • [0017]
    In one example, the spring biased protrusion can be carried on a resilient plastic bridge formed integral with a hub of the rotation mechanism. The protrusion can also be integral with the hub and bridge.
  • [0018]
    In one example, the rotation mechanism can include a collar protruding downward from part of the rotation mechanism or the seat and can include a hub connected to the upstanding post. The hub can be seated within and bounded by the collar.
  • [0019]
    In one example, the child motion device can further include four of the detents defining four selectable seat orientations.
  • [0020]
    In one example, the child motion device can further include a pair of the spring biased protrusions and can include at least two pairs of the plurality of detents. The pair of spring biased protrusions can seat in a selected pair of the plurality of detents.
  • [0021]
    In one example according to the teachings of the present invention, a seat for a child motion device has a seat bottom section and a seat back section coupled to the seat bottom section at a pair of spaced apart pivot joints. The seat back section is pivotable between at least a first recline position and a second recline position different from the first recline position relative to the seat bottom section. The seat also has a release actuator carried on the seat back section, a latch pin positioned at each of the pivot joints remote from the release actuator, and a curved surface within each of the pivot joints. A bar extends transversely across the seat and has curved free ends each lying along one of the curved surfaces within a corresponding one of the pivot joints. Holes or receptacles are formed in the curved free ends of the bar and face the latch pins. Each hole in each of the curved free ends corresponds to one of the first and second recline positions. The release actuator, when actuated, withdraws the latch pins from the holes in the bar, and, when released, biases the latch pins into engagement with one of the holes in the bar.
  • [0022]
    In one example, the release mechanism can include a bent wire connected to the release actuator and terminating at free ends defining the latch pins.
  • [0023]
    In one example, the pivot joints can each include a tongue on each free end of one of the seat back and seat bottom sections and can include a yoke on each free end of the other of the seat back and seat bottom section. The tongues can be received in gaps in the yokes.
  • [0024]
    In one example, the curved surfaces can include an end face on a tongue and an interior surface within a yoke of each pivot joint. Each end face can mate with and bear against a respective interior surface.
  • [0025]
    In one example, the curved surfaces can include an end face on a tongue and an interior surface within a yoke of each pivot joint. Each end face can mate with and bear against a respective interior surface. A groove can extend along each of the end faces and interior surfaces. Each curved free end of the bar can be captured between the grooves on a respective one of the end faces and interior surfaces within the corresponding pivot joint.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0026]
    Objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon reading the following description in conjunction with the drawing figures, in which:
  • [0027]
    FIG. 1 shows one example of a child motion device constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention and with the swing arm in the home position and the child seat in a forward facing orientation.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 2 shows the child motion device shown in FIG. 1 but with the swing arm rotated to one side.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 3 shows an exploded perspective view of the rotation mechanism components of the seat and support frame of the child motion device shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 4 shows a top view of the assembled hub portion of the rotation mechanism shown in FIG. 3.
  • [0031]
    FIG. 5 shows a cross-section taken along line 5-5 through the rotation mechanism of the forward facing seat and support frame shown in FIG. 1.
  • [0032]
    FIG. 6A shows the child motion device shown in FIG. 1, but with the seat rotated to a right side facing orientation on the support frame.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 6B shows the rotation mechanism cross-section of FIG. 5, but with the seat in the right side facing orientation shown in FIG. 6A.
  • [0034]
    FIG. 6C shows the rotation mechanism cross-section of FIG. 5, but with the seat rotated to a left side facing orientation opposite the orientation shown in FIG. 6A.
  • [0035]
    FIG. 7A shows the child motion device shown in FIG. 1, but with the seat rotated to a rear facing orientation on the support frame.
  • [0036]
    FIG. 7B shows the rotation mechanism cross-section of FIG. 5, but with the seat in the rear facing orientation shown in FIG. 7A.
  • [0037]
    FIG. 8 shows an underside view of portions of the seat frame of the child motion device shown in FIG. 1.
  • [0038]
    FIG. 9 shows an exploded view of the seat frame shown in FIG. 8.
  • [0039]
    FIG. 10A shows a side view of the seat of the child motion device shown in FIG. 1 and with the seat back section in a lowered or reclined position.
  • [0040]
    FIG. 10B shows a cut-away section view of one side of the seat shown in FIG. 10A and with the recline mechanism latched or engaged.
  • [0041]
    FIG. 10C shows the side of the seat shown in FIG. 10B, but with the recline mechanism released or disengaged.
  • [0042]
    FIG. 11A shows the side of the seat shown in FIG. 10C, but with the seat back section of the seat in an inclined position and the recline mechanism still released or disengaged.
  • [0043]
    FIG. 11B shows the side of the seat shown in FIG. 11A, but with the recline mechanism latched or engaged.
  • [0044]
    FIG. 11C shows a side view of the seat of the child motion device shown in FIG. 1, but with the seat back section in the inclined position of FIG. 11B.
  • [0045]
    FIG. 12 shows a perspective view of an alternate example of a seat frame construction in accordance with the teachings of the present invention and with the seat back and seat bottom portions disassembled.
  • [0046]
    FIG. 13 shows a cross-section taken along line 13-13 of one side of the seat frame shown in FIG. 12 and with the seat back and bottom sections assembled.
  • [0047]
    FIG. 14 shows a cross section, similar to FIG. 5, but of an alternate example of a hub for the rotation mechanism constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DISCLOSURE
  • [0048]
    The disclosed child motion device and its various components solve or improve upon one or more of the above-noted and/or other problems and disadvantages with prior known child motion devices. In one example, a child motion device is disclosed herein that has a seat supported on an upstanding post. The seat orientation can be adjusted by rotating the seat relative to the post without having to remove the seat. In one example, such a child motion device has a rotation mechanism between the seat and the post that utilizes a spring biased protrusion and detent arrangement permitting such rotational adjustment of the seat and selection of one of the plurality of optionally available seat orientations. In one example, a child motion device as disclosed herein has a seat with the frame constructed so that the incline or recline of the seat back section of the seat can be adjusted by the user. In one example, a child motion device as disclosed herein has a relatively simple recline mechanism design that requires fewer parts and allows for a small seat back to seat bottom joint construction. In one example, a child motion device as disclosed herein has a relatively simple construction allowing a purchaser or consumer to assemble the child motion device without the need for tools. Such a relatively simple construction also allows for a manufacturer to package the child motion device in a relatively small container because the components can be substantially unassembled until purchased by a consumer. These and other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art upon reading this disclosure.
  • [0049]
    Turning now to the drawings, FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate one example of a child motion device 20 constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. In this example, the child motion device 20 is an orbital motion type swing or soothing device. As will be evident to those having ordinary skill in the art upon reading this disclosure, the various features of the invention can be employed on other types of child motion devices that utilize a seat for transporting and/or soothing a child or infant. Other examples of such child motion devices include A-frame type swings, pendulum type swings, strollers, and the like. The inventions as disclosed herein are not intended to be limited to use only on the disclosed orbital motion type swing example.
  • [0050]
    The child motion device 20 in this example has a base 22 with a plurality of interconnected tube segments configured to form a ring or D-shape. A tower 24 is supported by the base 22 and extends upward from one edge of the base. The tower 24 acts as a backbone or spine for the child motion device in this example. The tower 24 in this example includes a shroud 26 mounted thereon to cover and contain the various components of the device therein. In this example, a top surface 28 on the shroud 26 includes a plurality of controls 30 for controlling various performance features and characteristics of the child motion device 20. Such performance features and characteristics can vary considerably within the spirit and scope of the present invention. For example, the child motion device 20 may be motorized to operate automatically. Such a motor would typically be housed on the tower in the shroud and the controls 30 could include ON/OFF and speed controls. The child motion device 20 may also include audio functions to produce soothing sounds, music, or the like, which can also be operated by the controls 30.
  • [0051]
    In this example, the child motion device 20 has a curved, J-shaped swing arm 32 projecting forward from the tower 24. A proximal end of the swing arm is connected to the tower and its components and a free or distal end of the swing arm defines an upstanding post 34, which is oriented generally vertically. A seat 36 is carried on the post 34 and is configured to support an infant or child above the ground on which the base 22 rests. The configuration and construction of the seat 36 can also vary considerably within the spirit and scope of the present invention. In this example, the seat 36 has an oval-shaped seat frame 38 arranged in a generally horizontal orientation and supported above a rotation mechanism 40 coupled to the post 34. Details of the seat frame 38 and seat 36 are described in greater detail below. In general, the seat frame 38 in this example is intended to carry a sling-type fabric seat (not shown) that is suspended from and below the frame but above the rotation mechanism 40. The fabric material of the sling seat is not shown or described herein in order to more clearly depict other components of the seat that are relevant to the invention.
  • [0052]
    As used herein, the term post is intended to encompass a wide range of structures on which the rotatable seat can be mounted. The post can be a relatively small diameter, elongate tube or solid cylinder. The post can also be a short height, small diameter stub-like structure. The post can also have a relatively large diameter and can be short or lengthy, as desired for a particular seat and child motion device application. Also, the rotation mechanism 40 can be considered as an underside of the seat, and thus as a part of the seat, or can be considered as a separate element positioned beneath the underside of the seat. In the disclosed example, the rotation mechanism also defines a part of the seat structure.
  • [0053]
    As shown in FIG. 2, the swing arm 32 is constructed to move rotationally left and right about a vertical axis of the tower 24 as is known in the art. The swing arm 32 can be motorized to automatically swing through a partial orbit creating a soothing motion for a child. Alternatively, motion of the swing arm may be imparted manually either by the seat occupant, the caregiver, or both. The swing arm 32 and seat 36 are depicted in a home or neutral position in FIG. 1, centered over the base 22. The swing arm 32 and seat 36 can swing in either direction, left or right of the home or neutral position, generally represented by the arrows S in FIG. 2.
  • [0054]
    The configuration, contour, and construction of the base 22, tower 24, shroud 26, swing arm 32, and seat 36 can vary from the example shown and described herein while remaining within the spirit and scope of the present invention. Specific ornamental, structural, component, and assembly details of the components disclosed and described herein can vary and yet perform as intended.
  • [0055]
    In a disclosed example, the seat 36 can be easily reoriented to any one of a plurality of seat facing orientations. The seat 36 is depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2 in a forward facing orientation whereby the seat occupant would face away from the tower 24. In other words, the head of the seat occupant would be positioned in the seat closest to the tower. In this example, the rotation mechanism 40 is constructed so that a user need only apply circumferential torque to the seat 36 in order to reorient the seat facing orientation as described below.
  • [0056]
    FIG. 3 illustrates an exploded view of the rotation mechanism 40 in this example. In general, the rotation mechanism 40 includes one or more spring biased protrusions that can seat in a selected one of a plurality of detents. The one or more protrusions and detents help to retain the seat in a selected seat facing orientation. However, the spring bias can be overcome when the caregiver applies a torque to the seat in order to change its orientation, as described below. Either one or the other of the detents or protrusions can be stationary relative to the post 34 and the other one of the detents or protrusions can move as the seat 36 is rotated to change the seat facing orientation.
  • [0057]
    In the disclosed example, the rotation mechanism 40 generally includes a housing 42 with a lower base portion 44 and an upper cover portion 46. A plurality of fasteners 48 and standoffs 50 can be utilized, either by the manufacturer or the consumer, to assemble the housing and to secure the cover portion over the base portion. When assembled, the combination of the base and cover portions 44 and 46 create a cavity 52 within the housing 42. In this example, the base portion 44 has an extension 54 extending from one side and which curves upward and terminates at a frame segment 56. The frame segment 56 defines a portion of the seat frame 38, as described below, and, in part, aids in supporting the seat frame 38 above the rotation mechanism 40.
  • [0058]
    As shown in FIGS. 3 and 5, a support cylinder 62 is positioned within the cavity 52 of the base portion 44 and is oriented generally vertically. The cylinder 62 is positioned surrounding the top of the post 34 and concentric therewith, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3. A plurality of radially extending ribs 64 extend radially inward from the support cylinder 62. The top of the post 34 protrudes upward through and within the ribs when the base portion 44 of the housing 42 is installed on the post 34. A pivot hub 66 has a tubular shaft 68 protruding downward and has a flange 70 on the upper end of the shaft. The lower end of the shaft 68 has a pair of opposed notches 72. Stop pins or bosses 74 are affixed to and protrudes from the outer surface of the post 34 and are spaced downward from the top of the post. The shaft 68 of the hub 66 extends downward into the support cylinder 64 and is sized to fit over the exposed top of the post 34 and within the spacing of the ribs 64. The stop pins or bosses 74 seat in the notches 72 when the hub 66 is installed. The notches 72 and bosses 74 rotationally affix the hub 66 relative to the post 34. However, the housing 42, including the support cylinder 62 and ribs 64, can rotate relative to the post 34 and thus the fixed hub 66.
  • [0059]
    The flange 70 has a diameter that is larger than the diameter of the support cylinder 62 and thus rests on top of the support cylinder when the rotation mechanism 40 is assembled. The flange 70 has an open central region 76 that also has a diameter that is larger than the diameter of the shaft 68. Thus, an upward facing shoulder 80 is formed therein, recessed downward within the central region 76 of the hub 66.
  • [0060]
    A snap fastener 82 is utilized to interconnect the hub 66, the base portion 44 of the housing 42, and the post 34. A pair of slots 84 are formed through the post opposite one another and spaced near the top edge of the post 34. The snap fastener 82 has a top cap 86 and the downward depending leg 88. A tab 90 protrudes radially outward from the leg in one direction. In an inverted V-shape resilient arm 92 is connected to the lower end of the leg 88 on a side opposite the tab 90. The resilient arm 92 has an elbow 94 at its upper end. A nub 96 protrudes from a free end of the resilient arm 92 below the elbow 94. The snap fastener 82 can be pushed downward into the central region 76 of the hub 66 until the top cap 86 seats against the shoulder 80. The tab 90 will seat in one of the slots 84 and the nub 96 on the resilient arm 92 will snap into the other of the slots 84, securing the snap fastener 82 in place within the post 34. With the snap fastener 82 fixed to the post, the top cap 86 will capture and retain the hub 66, as well as the base portion 44 of the housing 42, between the top cap and the bosses 74 on the post 34.
  • [0061]
    The cover portion 46 can then be installed on the base portion 44 by inserting the fasteners 48 and securing them to the standoffs 50. In one example, each of the fasteners 48 can be a one-way push-in fastener that does not require use of a tool and that would engage and be retained in the corresponding standoffs 50. In another example, the fasteners 48 could be conventional fasteners requiring a tool such as a screwdriver for installation. In still another example, the cover portion 46 can be secured to the base portion 44 by the manufacturer and can include an opening therein that is large enough to receive the snap fastener 82. In such an example, the consumer would not need to install any fasteners 48 to assemble the housing 42. The rotation mechanism 40 can be secured to the post 34 simply by installing the snap fastener 82. A separate snap on cover could be provided to cover the opening in the cover portion 46 once the snap fastener 82 is installed. Such an example would eliminate the need for fasteners and tools when the consumer assembles the product.
  • [0062]
    Also as shown in FIG. 3, the underside of the cover portion 46 includes a collar or ring 100 protruding downward into the cavity 52. The diameter of the collar or ring 100 is sized to closely fit around the flange 70 when the housing 42 is assembled. In this example, a plurality of interior, radially extending ribs 102 and a structural ring 103 also protrude downward from the cover portion 46 within the perimeter of the collar or ring 100. These ribs 102 and ring 103 add rigidity to the collar 100 and can be configured to seat within the central region 76 of the hub 66 in order to help align and retain alignment between the hub and the collar or ring 100. A plurality of female detents or recesses 104 are formed into the interior surface of the collar or ring 100. In this example there are four such female detents or recesses 104 spaced 90° equidistant from one another and circumferentially around the collar or ring 100.
  • [0063]
    The flange 70 of the hub 66 in this example includes a pair of spring retainers 106 formed in opposite edges of the flange. A metal leaf spring 108 is seated in each of the spring retainers 106. Each of the leaf springs 108 includes a central male protrusion 110 that projects radially outward from the perimeter edge of the flange 70. In this example, the male protrusions 110 are arranged 180° opposite one another on the flange 70. The protrusions 110 are spring biased in this example by the resiliency of the leaf spring, which can be made from spring steel or the like. Each of the protrusions 110 can be pushed radially inward by applying a force against the protrusion to overcome the biasing force of the spring steel. FIG. 4 shows a top view of the assembled hub 66 including the snap fastener 82 and the leaf springs including the protrusions 110. The opposed free ends of the leaf spring 108 are retained by the spring retainers 106. The springs 108 can vary from the leaf spring example shown and described herein. The intent it to have the protrusions and detents resiliently movable relative to one another to create distinct, user selectable and determinable rotational orientations for the seat while permitting the seat to be selectively rotated among the orientations.
  • [0064]
    As noted above, the pivot hub 66 in this example is affixed to the post 34 and does not rotate relative to the post. Thus, the flange 70 and the leaf springs 108 are also rotationally fixed relative to the post. As the seat 36 is rotated on the post 34, the ring or collar 100 will thereby rotate relative to the springs. This in turn will rotate the detents or recesses 104 relative to the springs. The protrusions 110 on the pair of leaf springs 108 are arranged to seat in any opposed pair of the detents or recesses 104 in the ring or collar 100. As shown in FIG. 5, the protrusions 110 in this example are directed one toward and one away from the tower 24 and are aligned parallel to the neutral or home position of the swing arm 32. The rotation mechanism 40 is illustrated in a forward seat facing position in FIG. 5, which represents the seat 36 as shown in FIG. 1. The protrusions 110 are seated in the opposed pair of detents or recesses 104 that are also aligned lengthwise relative to the seat 36.
  • [0065]
    If a user or caregiver wishes to change the seat facing orientation of the seat 36, they can easily do so on the disclosed child motion device 20, without having to remove the seat from the support base 22. Doing so will change the motion characteristics that are imparted to a child or infant seated in the seat 36. This is because the child will face in a different direction relative to the swinging or movement direction of the seat 36, depending on the orientation of the seat. The user can grasp the seat frame 38 and apply a torque to the seat 36 that is sufficient to overcome the biasing force of the leaf springs 108. The protrusions 110 will unseat from the detents 104 in which they are seated and then ride along the interior surface of the collar 100 at the seat is rotated. As shown in FIG. 6A, the seat 36 can be rotated to a right side facing orientation. The protrusions 110 of the leaf springs 108 will align with and fire into the pair of detents 104 that are arranged laterally across the collar 100. This orientation of the rotation mechanism 40 is depicted in FIG. 6B. Though not shown herein, the seat 36 can also be rotated in the opposite direction so that the seat is oriented facing to the left. This orientation of the rotation mechanism 40 is depicted in FIG. 6C Likewise, the user may wish to reorient the seat 36 so that it faces in a rearward direction toward the tower 24. This rear seat facing orientation is depicted in FIG. 7A and the corresponding orientation of the rotation mechanism 40 is depicted in FIG. 7B.
  • [0066]
    As will be evident to those having ordinary skill in the art, the configuration and construction of the rotation mechanism 40 can vary considerably from the example shown and described herein. In one example, a cylindrical recess can be provided in a surface of the seat or rotation mechanism housing replacing the protruding ring or collar 100 Likewise, a hub-like protrusion can be provided on the downward facing cover portion 46 of the housing 42 or on part of seat, if desired. Similarly, a cylindrical recess or a protruding ring or collar could be provided in or on the upward facing base portion 44 of the housing 42 or the like. Additionally, only a single spring biased protrusion need be utilized, or three or more such protrusions could be utilized. The number and position of the detents or recesses 104 can also vary from the four shown and described herein, creating more or fewer selectable seat orientations. Still further, the one or more spring biased protrusions 110 can be provided within a recess or on the ring or collar and the corresponding detents or recesses can be provided on the flange of the hub. Other such spring biased detent arrangements can be employed within the spirit and scope of the present invention.
  • [0067]
    The foregoing aspects of the present invention include an easy to assemble rotation mechanism 40 and result in a simple to use rotation adjustment scheme for the seat 36. Such a seat construction can be utilized on other different types of child motion devices, other than the orbital motion type swing disclosed herein, if desired.
  • [0068]
    The disclosed rotation mechanism achieves the same performance as the competitive designs, but is obtained through a minimalistic design approach that allows seat swivel or rotational adjustment, while keeping part costs down. The spring/male plunger or protrusion component mates with the female geometry on the seat, i.e., the housing 42. The spring/male plunger component is keyed to the swing arm post 34 as the caregiver rotates the seat around the stationary post or swing arm, which carries the spring/male plunger component. When the seat is rotated, the male plungers or protrusions ramp out of the female detent geometry in the underside of the seat and the spring deflects to allow the relief. The seat is then free to rotate until the male plungers or protrusions hit the next female detents.
  • [0069]
    The male plunger or protrusion and the spring could alternatively be achieved by utilizing a Valco-ball like component that is fixed to the swing arm. Substitute materials for the male and female mating geometry could be nylon, acetyl, polypropylene or the like.
  • [0070]
    The disclosed rotation mechanism for this aspect of the invention uses significantly less components than comparable systems. The reduction in components leads to a reduction of material usage and the amount of assembly required. Therefore, the primary functionality of the disclosed swiveling ratchet type rotation mechanism is met while meeting much lower product cost requirements.
  • [0071]
    In another aspect of the present invention, the seat 36 and seat frame 38 include a recline mechanism or feature that is also simple to use and of relatively simple construction. FIGS. 8 and 9 show the basic components of the seat frame 38 and recline mechanism. In this example, the recline mechanism generally has pivot joints on the sides of the seat frame 38, latches on the pivot joints, and a release mechanism to actuate, i.e., engage or disengage, the latches. The seat frame 38 has a seat back section 120 that is generally an inverted U-shape and configuration. The seat frame 38 also has a seat bottom section 122 connected to the seat back section. In this example, two opposed seat bottom segments 124 are connected to free ends of the seat back section 120 and to ends of the earlier described frame segment 56, which is carried as an integral part of the extension 54 of the rotation mechanism 40. When joined to one another, the frame segment 56 and pair of seat bottom segments 124 together form the seat bottom section 122. The seat frame 38 lies generally horizontally during use and would support a sling type fabric seat. Such a seat is suited for infants.
  • [0072]
    The seat frame 38 has a bar 126 that is generally U-shape and extends transversely across the seat frame. A mid-portion 128 of the bar 126 is secured to a top side of the cover portion 46 on the housing 42 of the rotation mechanism 40. The bar 126 can be secured by fasteners to the housing 42 of the rotation mechanism 40, or can snap into a groove 129 formed thereon, if desired, or both. The bar 126 also has a pair of upstanding leg portions 130 extending from the mid-portion 128. Free curved ends 132 extend from the leg portions 130 and are bent in a forward direction.
  • [0073]
    The seat frame 38 is assembled via a tongue and groove type pivot joint 133 on each side of the seat frame. In this example, each free end of the seat back section 120 has a yoke 134 with a space or gap 136, i.e., a groove, between spaced apart legs 138 of the yoke. A free end of each of the seat bottom segments 124 has a tongue 140 correspondingly sized and shaped to fit within the gap or space 136 on a respective one of the yokes 134. An end face 142 on each tongue 140 has a consistent radius of curvature in this example. An interior face 144 within each yoke 136 is correspondingly shaped or curved to mate with and bear against the end face 142 within the yoke 134. In this example, the end face 142 on each tongue 140 has a convex curvature and the interior face 144 within each yoke 134 as a concave curvature when assembled. A pivot pin 146 pivotally joins the two seat sections 120 and 122 together. In this example, the pivot pin 146 has a threaded end 148 for receiving a nut 150 thereon to secure the pins in place, connecting the seat back section 120 to the seat bottom segments 122. The pivot pins 146 define the pivot axis of movement for the seat back section 120 when it is moved to adjust the seat recline.
  • [0074]
    In this example, each of the end faces 142 and interior faces 144 within each joint has a lengthwise groove 152, 153, respectively, formed therealong. The curved ends 132 of the bar 126 are captured between the corresponding grooves 152, 153 in the surfaces within each joint. The bar 126 can have one or more holes 154 formed therethrough near the free tips of the curved ends 132. Fasteners (not shown) can be received through these holes to secure and fasten the bar to the seat frame 38, if desired.
  • [0075]
    As shown in FIGS. 10A-11C, the seat back section 120 can pivot relative to the seat bottom segments 124 at the pivot joints 133. The seat back section 120 can be reclined to a lowered position as depicted in FIG. 10A and can be elevated to an inclined or raised position as depicted in FIG. 11C. As will be evident to those having ordinary skill in the art, additional intermediate positions can also be provided. In order to allow for recline adjustment of the seat back section 122, a release mechanism 160 is provided on the seat back section as shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. The release mechanism includes a one-piece bent wire 162 having a central segment 164 and a pair of elongate, curved latch segments 166 extending from the central segment. The latch segments 166 are configured to generally correspond in shape to the curvature and contour of the seat back section 122 of the seat frame 38. In this way, the bent wire 162 can generally underlie the seat back section and be hidden from view.
  • [0076]
    The terms upward, downward, and vertical are used in the following description with reference to the orientation of the seat frame 38 in FIGS. 8 and 9 merely to simplify the description. During use, it would be apparent that the actual motion of the release mechanism components would be fore and aft with reference to the generally horizontal seat frame orientation.
  • [0077]
    The release mechanism 160 includes a release actuator 168 connected to the seat back section 120 and to the central segment 164 of the bent wire 162. In this example, the release actuator 168 has a pair of vertically slots 170 formed therethrough. Fasteners 172 are received through the slots 170 to fasten the release actuator 168 to the mid-point of the seat back section 120. The slots 170 allow for vertical travel of the release actuator 168. The travel distance of the release actuator 168 is limited by the length of the slots 170 and the fasteners 172 captured therein. A spring 174 biases the release actuator 168 downward in this example, which in turn biases the bent wire downward. An upward force can be applied by a user's hand to overcome the biasing force of the spring 174 and move the release actuator 168 upward. Movement of the release actuator 168 upward also moves the bent wire 162 upward.
  • [0078]
    As shown in FIG. 10B, each of the latch segments 166 of the bent wire 162 terminates at a tip that defines a latch pin 176 protruding into the corresponding pivot joint 133. A plurality of holes 178 a, 178 b are formed in a portion of the curved ends 132 of the bar 126 positioned along the grooves 152, 153 in this example. Each of the plurality of holes 178 a, 178 b define a different recline position for the seat back section 120. As shown, the holes 178 a, 178 b are exposed within the pivot joint 133 and face the respective pin 176 therein. In this example, the pins 176 are received in a lower most one of the holes 178 a with the seat back section 122 in the lowered or reclined position and with the release mechanism in a latched or engaged condition.
  • [0079]
    The user can actuate the release mechanism 160 by grasping and pulling upward on the release actuator 168, i.e., by squeezing the actuator into the seat back section 120, to overcome the force of the spring 174. The pins 176 are then withdrawn from the holes 178, as shown in FIG. 10C. The seat back section 120 is then free to rotate upward from the lowered position to the raised or inclined position as depicted in FIG. 11A. In this position, the pins 176 aligned with the uppermost holes 178 b in the bar 126. If the user had previously released their grip on the release actuator 168, the pins 176 would ride along the curved ends 132 of the bar 126 lying against the faces 142 of the tongues 140 on the seat bottom segments 123. The pins 176 would fire into the uppermost holes 178 b when aligned therewith. Otherwise, the user can then release their grip on the release actuator 168 so that the pins 176 can fire into and engage the holes 178 b as depicted in FIG. 11B. With the pins 176 engaged in the uppermost holes 178, the seat back section 120 is latched in the raised or inclined position as depicted in FIG. 11C.
  • [0080]
    As will be evident to those having ordinary skill in the art, the configuration and construction of the release mechanism 160 and the other recline components, such as the pivot joints 133 can vary within the spirit and scope of the present invention. The curvature of the mating pivot joint surfaces 142, 144 can be reversed so that the end faces of the tongues 140 are concave in the interior faces 144 of the yokes 134 are convex. Likewise, the tongue and groove-type pivot joint parts can be reversed on the seat back section 120 and seat bottom segments 122. Also, the pivot joints can be altered to a different type of pivot joint structure, if desired. In this particular example, the pivot joint construction provides a relatively compact joint requiring few components. The latch receptacle holes 178 a, b are provided directly in the bar 126 which also serves as a structural support for the seat structure. The pivot joints 133 only require the pivot pin connecting the two seat sections in this example.
  • [0081]
    The disclosed recline and release mechanisms provide a robust, yet simple, recline mechanism in a cost efficient manner. The mechanisms take up very little space on the product, thus helping to minimize the overall size of the device and mechanism. The disclosed mechanism also help decrease the distance between the recline holes and the axis of rotation, i.e., the pins 146 of the reclining seat back section.
  • [0082]
    The recline position holes 178 a,b are fabricated in a metal tube of the seat structure, i.e., the transverse bar 126. The metal component can be pre-assembled on the seat and can be a key structural member of the seat construction, which can be referred to as the seat bight tube. Integrating the array of recline holes into the steel of the tube allows for utilizing a material with significantly higher mechanical properties compared to the surrounding plastic of the seat frame. The added strength of the holes allows for a reduced moment arm length between the pins 146 and the latch pins and holes. The steel seat bight tube 126 also can act as a robust hard stop to prevent the seat back section of the seat frame from rotating past the set minimum rotational angle. Further, the recline mechanism requires few parts in creating this feature.
  • [0083]
    One execution for this aspect of the invention may be to leverage existing components in the seat that have high mechanical strength properties. By executing this practice, a higher return of subsystem performance can be achieved with a minimal negative cost impact. Therefore, the holes can be provided in the steel seat bight tube and the recline wire 162 can also be made of steel wire. The seat frame and pivot joint components surrounding the latch pars, i.e., the bar 126 and wire 162 can be constructed of reasonably priced plastic, such as polypropylene.
  • [0084]
    Another way to execute this aspect of the invention in a similar fashion would be to use a secondary component(s) for the metal recline slots. Such secondary components could be a fabricated sheet metal component or an additional metal tube assembled to the seat structure within the pivot joints.
  • [0085]
    The male portion, i.e., the pins 176 of the recline mechanism are not limited to being constructed of metal wire. A metal tooth that is fixed to the seat back section could be utilized. The metal tooth could rotate or translate into and out of the metal holes in numerous ways. Also, other materials such as plastics or composites can be used for the male portion and/or female parts as well.
  • [0086]
    The disclosed recline mechanism 160 allows for a smaller overall size required for a commonly used plunger into plastic slot execution; while also delivering higher mechanical properties.
  • [0087]
    FIGS. 12 and 13 depict an even simpler pivot joint construction that eliminates the pivot pins 146 and nuts 150 described previously. In this example, the seat back section of the seat frame includes an integral, male pivot boss 200 within the gap or space of the yoke. The bosses 200 project inward from and between the legs 202 of the yoke 203. Each seat bottom segment includes a corresponding guide track 204 on each side face of the tongue 206. Each guide track 204 is essentially open at the top 205 and terminates in a female receptacle, depression, or hole 208 through or into the tongue 206 at the bottom end of the track. In order to assemble the seat frame in this example, the user need only align the pivot bosses 200 with the open tops 205 of the guide tracks 204 and then push downward on the yoke 203 of the seat back section. Once the pivot bosses 200 align with the holes or recesses 208 at the bottom of the tracks, the bosses will pop into the holes or depressions, securing the seat back section to the seat bottom segments. The seat back section can pivot about the bosses 200 relative to the seat bottom segments in this example. As shown in FIG. 13, the walls of the guide tracks 204 can be gradually tapered further apart. The bosses can thus easily slide into the open tops 205 of the tracks 204 and then experience increased outward force as the track surfaces gradually move apart. This will allow for the protrusions 200 to forcibly fire into the holes 208 when assembled.
  • [0088]
    In this example, the seat can be more collapsible to fit into smaller packaging, as with the prior example. With a seat that is broken down in packaging, the packaging overall size is reduced. Therefore, shipping costs of the product and required storage space during shipping and on store shelves or in warehouses can also be reduced. Also, the seat back section can easily assemble to the seat bottom section in this example simply by sliding and snapping the sections together as shown in FIG. 13. Having the two components couple together without secondary components, such as the aforementioned pins 146 and nuts 150, helps keep part costs down while still allowing for the smaller required shipping cube.
  • [0089]
    This example of a pivot joint construction also can help to maintain good user experience of the assembly so as to reduce customer assembly frustrations. The seat frame utilizes two male/female snap connections per each side of the seat frame. The dual snap connections help to lock the seat bottom segments to the seat back section securely. The snap connection can withstand forces applied in all directions of pull in an attempt to separate the two components. As the seat back section is being coupled to the seat bottom segments, flex finger-like walls on the tongues can deflect to allow the connection. The flex finger-like walls can then rebound and capture the male bosses. The walls act as a barb to not allow the boss to disconnect.
  • [0090]
    This example could potentially be executed without the use of the flex finger walls of the tongues. In such an example, the plastic structure around the male bosses and female holes or depressions could all deflect to allow for the coupling of the male to female parts. Also, one could reverse or swap the location of the male and female parts between the seat sections. This is equally true for any of the connection embodiments disclosed herein. One male boss and one female hole could be located on the seat bottom section while the other female hole and male boss could be located on the seat back section. Alternatively, both male bosses could be located on the seat bottom section and both female holes could be on the seat back section. In either embodiment, the tongues and yokes could also be swapped or reversed.
  • [0091]
    The seat back and seat bottom components can be made from plastic, such as polypropylene. Using this type of material may help reduce the chances of the flex finger walls breaking off during assembly, i.e., under deflection. However, all of the foregoing examples can be executed in many different materials such as other plastics, metals, woods, or the like.
  • [0092]
    This aspect of the invention, whether utilizing the pins 146 or the snap connections, allows for the seat to be more collapsible in packaging. With a seat that is broken down in packaging, the packaging overall size can be reduced, thus reducing shipping and storage costs of the product. Also, having the two components couple together without secondary components or the need for tools helps keep part costs down and maintains a good user experience during assembly of the product by a user, which in turn can reduce customer assembly frustrations.
  • [0093]
    In another example, FIG. 14 shows a pivot hub construction that eliminates the need for the separate leaf springs 108 described previously. In this example, the pivot hub 220 includes an integral plastic bridge 222 molded directly to the hub flange 224 on two opposed edges of the hub. Each plastic bridge 222 has a relief opening 226 in the flange 224 that is adjacent the bridge. The relief openings 226 allow for protrusions 228 carried on the radial outward facing sides of the bridges 222, to flex toward the relief openings 226. The resiliency of the plastic bridges will bias the protrusion 228 outward, similar to the earlier described leaf springs 108. In this alternative example, the male spring biasing element of the swivel structure is integrated into the hub flange and creates a male plunger or protrusion and spring (bridge) in a single integral component.
  • [0094]
    One execution of this example would be to manufacture the hub, flange, bridge, and protrusion component out of Acetyl. The mating female geometry of the collar on the seat underside can be manufactured from high density polyethylene (HDPE). Utilizing Acetyl for the male protrusion and bridge will help to reduce friction in the system and provide a good flex life of the integral spring. The HDPE will provide good wear resistance, good stiffness, and the cost of the material will be much lower compared to other usable plastic grades. Other materials can certainly be used, however, including metal or spring steel for the spring/male plunger and/or the collar or ring, as noted above.
  • [0095]
    Clearly, other alternate variations of the aforementioned components for the recline mechanism, release mechanism, the rotation mechanism, and the various fastener-less connections are within the spirit and scope of the present invention. A number of examples are disclosed and described herein that eliminate conventional fasteners, and thus the need for tools, for use when assembling the product. The disclosed child motion device and its features can simplify assembly of the device, thus allowing the manufacturer to package and ship the device at least partly unassembled. This also allows the retailer to sell the child motion device in the unassembled state because it will be relatively easy for the consumer to assemble the product prior to use.
  • [0096]
    Although certain seat components and part arrangements for child motion devices have been described herein in accordance with the teachings of the present disclosure, the scope of coverage of this patent is not limited thereto. On the contrary, this patent covers all embodiments of the teachings of the disclosure that fairly fall within the scope of permissible equivalents.

Claims (18)

  1. 1. A child motion device comprising:
    a support having an upstanding post;
    a seat mounted on the upstanding post; and
    a rotation mechanism having
    a plurality of detents provided on one of the seat and the post and spaced circumferentially around and radially outward relative to the post; and
    a spring biased protrusion carried on the other of the seat and the post,
    wherein the seat can be rotated about the post to different orientations corresponding to the plurality of detents and wherein the spring biased protrusion is biased into and seats in a selected one of the plurality of detents to position the seat in a desired one of the different orientations relative to the support frame.
  2. 2. A child motion device according to claim 1, wherein the upstanding post is part of a swing arm on a swing.
  3. 3. A child motion device according to claim 1, wherein the upstanding post is a tube.
  4. 4. A child motion device according to claim 1, wherein the rotation mechanism has a housing and a portion of the rotation mechanism is carried on a downward facing surface of the housing.
  5. 5. A child motion device according to claim 1, wherein the rotation mechanism includes a collar on an underside facing surface of the rotation mechanism or the seat, the plurality of detents being carried on a surface of the collar.
  6. 6. A child motion device according to claim 1, wherein the rotation mechanism includes a hub carried on the upstanding post, the spring biased protrusion carried on the hub.
  7. 7. A child motion device according to claim 1, wherein the rotation mechanism further comprises:
    a collar having a surface, the plurality of detents carried on the surface of the collar; and
    a hub carried on the upstanding post, the spring biased protrusion carried on the hub.
  8. 8. A child motion device according to claim 7, wherein the hub seats within the surface of the collar and the spring biased protrusion is biased radially outward against the surface of the collar.
  9. 9. A child motion device according to claim 1, further comprising two of the spring biased protrusions, each being carried on a metal leaf spring positioned opposite one another on a hub of the rotation mechanism.
  10. 10. A child motion device according to claim 1, wherein the spring biased protrusion is carried on a resilient plastic bridge formed integral with a hub of the rotation mechanism.
  11. 11. A child motion device according to claim 1, wherein the rotation mechanism includes a collar protruding downward from part of the rotation mechanism or the seat and includes a hub connected to the upstanding post, the hub seated within and bounded by the collar.
  12. 12. A child motion device according to claim 1, further comprising four of the detents defining four selectable seat orientations.
  13. 13. A child motion device according to claim 1, further comprising a pair of the spring biased protrusions and at least two pairs of the plurality of detents, the pair of spring biased protrusions seating in a selected pair of the plurality of detents.
  14. 14. A seat for a child motion device, the seat comprising:
    a seat bottom section;
    a seat back section coupled to the seat bottom section at a pair of spaced apart pivot joints, the seat back section pivotable between at least a first recline position and a second recline position different from the first recline position relative to the seat bottom section; and
    a release mechanism carried on the seat, the release mechanism including
    a release actuator carried on the seat back section,
    a latch pin positioned at each of the pivot joints remote from the release actuator,
    a curved surface within each of the pivot joints,
    a bar extending transversely across the seat and having curved free ends each lying along one of the curved surfaces within a corresponding one of the pivot joints, and
    holes formed in the curved free ends of the bar and facing the latch pins, each hole corresponding to one of the first and second recline position,
    wherein the release actuator, when actuated, withdraws the latch pins from the holes in the bar, and, when released, biases the latch pins into engagement with respective ones of the holes in the bar.
  15. 15. A seat according to claim 14, wherein the release mechanism includes a bent wire connected to the release actuator and terminating at free ends defining the latch pins.
  16. 16. A seat according to claim 14, wherein the pivot joints each include a tongue on each free end of one of the seat back and seat bottom sections and include a yoke on each free end of the other of the seat back and seat bottom section, the tongues received in gaps in the yokes.
  17. 17. A seat according to claim 16, wherein the curved surfaces include an end face on each tongue and an interior surface within each yoke, each end face mating with and bearing against a respective interior surface in each pivot joint.
  18. 18. A seat according to claim 17, further comprising a groove extending along each of the end faces and interior surfaces, wherein each curved free end of the bar is captured between the grooves on a respective one of the end faces and interior surfaces within the corresponding pivot joint.
US13349548 2011-01-12 2012-01-12 Child Motion Device with Adjustable Seat Abandoned US20120205954A1 (en)

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US20090085389A1 (en) * 2007-09-17 2009-04-02 Nuna International B.V. Swing chair
US20130214567A1 (en) * 2012-02-16 2013-08-22 Ryan N. Miller Infant supporting device
US8834282B2 (en) 2011-07-28 2014-09-16 Kids Ii, Inc. Children's motion device
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US8419132B2 (en) * 2007-09-17 2013-04-16 Nuna International B.V. Swing chair
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