FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a portable cot. In particular, the invention relates to a cot which is foldable from an erected operational configuration to a collapsed configuration to make the cot more easily able to be stored and/or transported.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Portable cots are known to generally have four upright poles which define the four corner posts of the cot. Upper and lower bars extend between the upright posts. Often, these bars are foldable or collapsible so as to enable the four corner posts of the cot to move closer together into a collapsed configuration. However, these bars usually are covered with the fabric which forms the bassinet or defines the outline of the cot. Therefore, the mechanisms which enable the bars to collapse are generally hidden from the operator. This renders the operating mechanism non-intuitive so that the user may have difficulty erecting or collapsing the cot. Furthermore, in some known cots, the collapsing of the bars needs to be done in a particular order or the mechanism will jam or be damaged. Furthermore, the concealment of the collapsing mechanism within the fabric may therefore hide from the user whether or not the cot has been properly erected. This could lead to the cot being improperly used and subsequently collapsing in use.
It is therefore an objection of the present invention to provide a foldable cot which addresses at least some of the aforementioned disadvantages. An alternative object is to provide the public with a useful choice.
The foregoing prior art discussion is not to be taken as an admission of common general knowledge.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a foldable cot including:
an upper peripheral frame comprising a first U-shaped frame portion and a second U-shaped frame portion wherein the first U-shaped frame portion and the second U-shaped frame portion each have first and second ends, wherein the first ends substantially meet at a first junction and the second ends substantially meet at a second junction to thereby define a substantially closed loop peripheral frame7 the first and second U-shaped frames being pivotable relative to the first and second junctions to adjust from an erected configuration to a folded configuration; and
a first supporting leg structure supporting the peripheral frame at the first junction and a second supporting leg structure supporting the peripheral frame at the second junction, each of the first and second supporting leg structures comprising two support legs which are pivotable relative to the associated junction to adjust from a configuration whereby the two support legs diverge in the downward direction at an included angle, to a collapsed configuration with the support legs arranged at a lesser included angle, wherein the support legs are length adjustable.
The support legs are preferably adjustable between a shortened length and an extended length, wherein the shortened length is commensurate with the length of the U-shaped frame portions in the folded configuration. The support legs may be telescopic.
Preferably in the folded configuration, the support legs of each supporting leg structure are collapsible to a configuration whereby they extend substantially parallel to one another. In a most preferred form of the invention, when the support legs are in their collapsed configuration, the support legs of each support leg structure are arranged to be telescopic in unison. Each support leg of each support leg structure may include a length adjustment actuator, wherein the actuators are disposed to interact with each other when in the collapsed configuration. In a most preferred form of the invention, the length adjustment actuators are arranged on the respective support legs to face each other and to hit against each other in the collapsed configuration.
The support legs may each include a foot portion.
The folded cot may include first and second junction units. The first ends of the U-shaped frame portions may be pivotally connected to the first junction unit. The second ends of the U-shaped framed portions may be pivotally connected to the second junction unit. The first and second junction units may comprise a plastic moulding.
The first supporting leg structure may be connected to the first junction unit with both support legs thereof pivotally mounted to the first junction unit. Likewise, the second supporting leg structure may be connected to the second junction unit with both of the support legs pivotally mounted to the second junction unit. As each junction unit will be pivotally connected to the U-shaped frame portions and associated support legs, it is preferred that the pivotal mounting of the first ends in the first junction unit is arranged in a plane which is offset from the plane of the pivotal mounting of the support legs of the first supporting leg structure. Likewise a similar arrangement is preferred for the second junction unit. In this manner, the folding of the U-shaped frame portions will not interfere with the folding of the support legs. The folding of the U-shaped frame portions may be independent of the folding of the support legs.
Preferably, the erected configuration of the U-shaped frame portions and the support legs is held by a locking means. This may be achieved by bracing which operates between the support legs and the U-shaped frame portions. In a preferred form of the invention, a bracing mechanism extends between each support leg and an adjacent part of the peripheral frame. Accordingly, each U-shaped frame portion will be supported by two bracing mechanisms. Each bracing mechanism may comprise two pivotally joined links which are foldable between an aligned configuration wherein the two links are substantially aligned with each other and a folded configuration. Preferably, the two links are locked into the aligned configuration, which lock may be selectively deactivated by a user actuator. Preferably, each user actuator is located at the join between the two links with the user actuator facing outwardly of the cot to reduce the likelihood of the child occupant of the cot operating the actuator.
In the erected configuration, the upper peripheral frame preferably defines a substantially planar rectangular loop. The upper peripheral frame may support the bassinet fabric which is preferably suspended therefrom. Suitably, the bassinet fabric extends on the inside of the support legs and the bracing mechanisms.
Additionally, the cot may include a lower frame. The lower frame may assist in providing support to the fabric bassinet. Preferably, the lower frame is supported at each of its four corners from the support legs. Accordingly, the lower frame may be foldable with the folding of the support legs. In a most preferred form of the invention, the lower frame comprises two frame loops which are pivotally connected along a transverse centre line of the cot. Preferably, the two base frame loops fold about this transverse centre line. The base frame loops may be pivotally mounted to adjacent support legs. Furthermore, the lower frame may incorporate feet portions which are preferably disposed along the transverse centre line.
In accordance with a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a foldable cot including:
a support frame having two spaced supporting leg structures, each of which comprises two support legs which are pivotable relative to one another between an angled configuration whereby the support legs extend at an included angle, and a collapsed configuration whereby the support legs extend at a lesser included angle, wherein each of the support legs is length adjustable with the length adjustment of the two support legs of each support leg structure being operable in unison in the collapsed configuration.
The features described above in connection with the first aspect of the invention may be applied to the second aspect above.
In accordance with a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided a foldable cot including a base comprising two frame portions which are pivotally interconnected to be foldable from a co-planar configuration to define a support for a mattress, to a folded configuration, wherein the pivotal interconnection is in the form of a 4-bar linkage.
The pivotal interconnection between the two frame halves may include support feet which in the co-planar configuration assist in supporting the base of the cot. The 4-bar linkage may comprise two upper links, each of is fixedly connected to a part of a respective one of the frame halves. Further, the 4-bar linkage may include two lower links which are longer that the upper links and incorporate respective support feet. The 4-bar linkage operates so that in the co-planar configuration, the upper links may extend with their length direction somewhat aligned with the plane of the frame halves. In the folded configuration, the upper links and the lower links extend preferably generally parallel to the frame halves to reduce the folded bulk of the linkage. Furthermore, the links may be designed so that in the co-planar configuration they interfere with each other so as to preclude movement beyond the co-planar configuration. The linkages therefore define a support for the centre of the base. They also allow the frame halves of the base to fold up and lie in a compact configuration alongside one another by reconfiguring to a compact configuration in the folded configuration.
Preferably, the arrangement of the two frame halves is such that they fold along a transverse centreline of the cot. The two frame halves preferably comprise closed rectangular frames. Each of the frame halves may also be pivotally mounted to support legs of the cot.
The foldable cot described above in accordance with the third aspect of the invention may incorporate any of the features described above in connection with the other aspects of the invention.
As used herein, the term "comprise" and variations of the term, such as "comprising", "comprises" and "comprised", are not intended to exclude other additives, components, integers or steps.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In order that the invention may be more fully understood, one embodiment will now be described by way of example with reference to the drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is perspective view showing the framework of a portable cot according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 1 but with the inclusion of the bassinet fabric;
FIG. 3 is a front view of the cot of FIG. 1 with the bassinet fabric removed for clarity;
FIG. 4 is a front view, similar to FIG. 3, except shown in a partially folded configuration;
FIG. 5 is a front view similar to FIG. 4 except shown in a further folded configuration;
FIG. 6 is a front view similar to FIG. 5, except shown in a fully folded configuration;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing the framework in the fully folded configuration;
FIG. 8 is an exploded perspective view of a bracing mechanism of the cot of FIG. 1;
FIG. 9 is a front view of a pivotal interconnection of the cot of FIG. 1, shown in an extended configuration;
FIG. 10 is the pivotal interconnection of FIG. 9 except shown in a folded configuration;
FIG. 11 is a sectional view through a support leg of the cot of FIG. 1, shown latched in the extended configuration;
FIG. 12 is a detail of FIG. 11; and
FIG. 13 is a sectional view of the support leg of FIG. 13, shown in the retracted configuration.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 illustrates the framework 10 for a cot 12 which is fully shown in FIG. 2. The framework 10 supports a fabric bassinet 14 as shown. For clarity, the remaining figures will show the framework 10 without the fabric bassinet 14.
Reverting to FIG. 1, it can be seen that the framework 10 includes an upper peripheral frame 16 and a lower frame 18 which are supported by two leg supporting structures 20 on either side of the framework 10. The upper peripheral frame 16 is made up of two U-shaped frame portions 22 each of which has a first end 24 and a second end 26. The first ends substantially meet and are pivotally mounted to a first junction unit 28. The second ends 26 are likewise pivotally mounted to a second junction unit 30. The first and second junction units 28, 30 may be plastic mouldings and are preferably identical.
Each supporting leg structure 20 comprises two support legs 32, 34 which are both pivotally mounted to the associated junction unit 28, 30. Each of the support legs 32, 34 is length adjustable and has support feet 36 at the lower end.
The base frame 18 is made up of two frame halves 40 which are pivotally interconnected by two spaced 4-bar linkage mechanisms 42. The two 4-bar linkage mechanisms 42 are aligned. The frame halves 40 are also pivotally mounted to the support legs 32, 34 through pivotal mounting 44.
Bracing mechanisms 46 extend between each support leg 32, 34 and an adjacent part of the upper peripheral frame 16. The bracing mechanisms 46 include a press button actuator 48 which when actuated enables the bracing mechanisms 46 to collapse and fold inwardly.
Referring to FIG. 2 it can be seen that the fabric bassinet 14 is suspended to some extent from the upper peripheral frame 14. Further, the fabric bassinet 14 may be supported on the base frame 18. The fabric extends inwardly of the support legs 32, 34 and the bracing mechanisms 46 to reduce the likelihood of these parts being accessed by an infant within the cot 12. Thus they can be easily accessed externally by an adult operator.
The operation to fold the cot of FIG. 2 will now be described in conjunction with FIGS. 3 to 7. In operation, the user can commence folding the cot by depressing the two button actuators 48 provided on the two bracing mechanisms 46 which are disposed at the same end of the cot, i.e. connected to the same U-shaped frame portion 22. By depressing the button actuators 48, one with each hand, the associated upper frame portion 22 can be folded about the first and second junction units 28, 30 to the position shown in FIG. 4. The user will be required to use both hands to depress both actuators and collapse one of the U-shaped frame portions 22. The user then moves to the other end of the cot 12 and depresses the remaining two button actuators 48 to fold down the other U-shaped frame portion 22. The partially folded configuration in FIG. 4 will then be adopted.
In a further step, the user then grabs the centre of the lower frame 18, e.g. adjacent the two 4-bar linkages 42 and pulls upwardly. Where the fabric bassinet 14 covers the base frame, a hand-pull may be provided to effect this operation. By pulling up the centre of the lower frame 18, the two base frame halves 40 will fold from the co-planar configuration shown in FIG. 1 to a position where the two frame halves lie alongside each other. This can be most clearly seen in FIG. 7. This operation also causes the pivotable support legs 32, 34 to move from the erected configuration shown in FIG. 1 to the folded configuration shown in FIG. 5. In FIG. 5 the two leg portions 32, 34 on each side of the cot 12 extend substantially parallel to one another.
Reverting to FIG. 4, it can be seen that the leg portion 32, 34 each have a length adjustment mechanism 110 which will be described in greater detail in FIGS. 11 to 13. The length adjustment mechanisms both include an actuator 119 which face each other as shown. When the support legs 32, 34 are brought together as shown in FIG. 5, the actuators 119 hit each other and thereby effect operation of the each of the length adjustment mechanisms. This may occur practically automatically as the two support legs 32, 34 are brought together. When the length adjustment mechanisms are operated (see FIGS. 11 to 14 for further detail), the support legs 32, 34 will be moved to the retracted position shown in FIG. 6.
FIG. 7 shows the fully folded and retracted framework 10 in perspective. It can be seen that the fully folded and retracted configuration still possesses the width of the erected cot but will fold to a flat configuration which has a length approximately equal to half the length of the framework 10. This presents a substantially flat package which enables the cot to be stored in certain locations such as under beds. Furthermore, because the operating mechanism of the cot is visible from the outside of the cot, this makes the folding operation more intuitive for the user and thus makes the cot easier to erect and disassemble.
FIG. 8 illustrates the components of the bracing mechanism 46. The bracing mechanism 46 includes two links 60, 62. In the fully erected configuration of the cot shown in FIG. 1, the two links 60, 62 are substantially aligned. Each link 60, 62 has an outer end. The outer end 64 of link 60 is pivotally connected to the U-shaped frame 22. The outer end 66 of the link 62 is pivotally mounted to the support leg 32/34.
The inner ends of the links 60, 62 each have respective housing halves 68, 70 which provide a housing for an internal toothed cog 72 and spring 74. The spring 74 biases the cog 72 towards the housing half 70. In this position, the tooth cog 72 will engage with mating recesses 76 provided in the housing half 68 and likewise will engage with mating recesses (not shown) provided in the housing half 70, thus precluding relative movement of the housing halves 68, 70. The button actuator 48 has a pair of arcuate projections 78, only one of which is shown. These projections 78 extend through complementary recesses 80 provided in the housing half 70. On depression of the button actuator 48, the toothed cog 72 will be moved out of alignment with the mating recesses provided in the housing half 70, thereby permitting the link 62 to rotate about central pin 82. The bracing mechanism 46 will then be permitted to fold inwardly to adopt the configuration shown in FIG. 4, provided both button actuators 48 are depressed on opposite sides of the cot.
FIGS. 9 and 10 show more clearly the nature of one of the 4-bar linkages 42 provided in the base frame 18. As previously discussed in connection with FIG. 1, each 4-bar linkage 42 pivotally interconnects the two base frame halves 40. The two base frame halves 40 are incorporated into first and second upper linkages 90. The transversely extending bars of the frame halves 40 are riveted to respective upper linkages 90. The two linkages 90 are pivotally interconnected about central upper pivot 92.
The 4-bar linkage 42 further includes two lower linkages 94. The lower linkages 94 are longer than the upper linkages 90. Each of the lower linkages 94 are pivotally connected to the outer end of a respective upper linkage 90 about pivot 96. Further, the lower linkages 94 are pivotally interconnected at central lower pivot 98. The lower linkages 94 are formed with lower lobes 100 which are shaped such that in the extended configuration of FIG. 9, they form a ground engaging foot to provide support to the lower frame 18. The members of the linkage 42 are also designed such that they will interfere to not move beyond the configuration shown in FIG. 9. This provides for ease and control of folding. The configuration will nevertheless be such that the foot rests on the ground and the loading is transferred to the foot to avoid overstressing the linkages 94 which are formed as mouldings. FIG. 9 corresponds to the configuration of the base frame 18 shown in FIG. 3 where the frame halves 40 extend substantially co-planar.
In FIG. 10, the 4-bar linkage 42 is shown in the configuration as would be adopted in the folded configuration shown in FIGS. 5 to 7. It can be seen that in this configuration, the upper linkages 90 have the central upper pivot 92 disposed at the top of the configuration with the upper linkages 90 extending in line with the lower linkages 94. This provides for a more compact arrangement of the 4-bar linkage 42 in the folded configuration.
FIGS. 11 to 13 are cross-sections through leg 32 to show the workings of the length adjustment mechanism. Leg 32 is made up of two telescopic sections 104, 106. The upper section 104 is pivotally mounted to the first junction unit 28 through pivot 108. As shown most clearly in FIG. 12, at an intermediate location on the extended support leg 32 is a length adjustment mechanism 110 which is housed within a length adjustment housing 112 on the lower end of upper section 104. The lower section 106 slides within the upper section 104. The lower section 106 may be U-shaped in cross-section with a complementary opening 114 provided in the base of the housing 112. The sections 104, 106 telescope between an extended configuration shown in FIG. 11 and a retracted configuration shown in FIG. 13. The lower section 106 has a pop rivet 105. The length adjustment housing 112 includes a moulding 107 which is internal of the lower end of the upper section 104. As the leg 32 is extended, the moulding 107 will abut against the pop rivet 105 and thus the pop rivet acts as a stop preventing the two sections 104, 106 from separating entirely.
A latch lever 119 is mounted on the housing 112 for pivotal movement about pivot 118. The latch lever has a lower end 122 which may be received within a detent 124 provided within the wall of the lower section 106. The latch lever 119 has a spring 121 which biases the lower end 122 into the detent 124. When the lower end 122 is engaged in the detent 124 the support leg 32 will be latched in the extended configuration as shown in FIG. 11.
The length adjustment is effected by depressing latch lever 119 against the bias of spring 121. This releases the lower end 122 from within the detent 124. The support legs 32, 34 can then be adjusted to the retracted configuration as shown in FIG. 13. In this configuration, the lower end 122 of latch lever 119 is not locked in the retracted position. Alternatively, as already explained, the user need not depress the actuator 119 but rely on the two actuators from the two legs 32, 24 cooperating by hitting against each other as explained in connection with FIGS. 4 through 6.
The foregoing describes only one embodiment of the present invention and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the scope of the invention.