CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED ACTIONS
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/475,902 filed Apr. 15, 2011.
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Preparing a child for a long car ride can often be a very chaotic process. A child may require, or desire, to bring along many items to keep them entertained along the way. For example, today's young traveler may want to bring such entertainment items as small toys, pencil and paper, electronic devices (e.g., portable music players, personal data appliances, portable gaming systems), and other assorted knick-knacks. Further, once the journey is underway, the young traveler may struggle to retrieve and utilize the entertainment devices only to realize they are not easily accessible, or have fallen out of reach. In such circumstances, the parents may have to stop the vehicle or otherwise divert their attention from the road in an effort to retrieve the displaced items and place them back into the reach of the child. Thus, there is a need for a traveling stowage device to help keep such entertainment items organized and accessible.
In addition to providing a device for stowing a child's items during a car ride, there is also a need to help the child assemble, maintain and care for the collection of entertainment items, as well as the stowage device. It is known that children, like adults, enjoy and care for personalized items. For example, there is a sense of pride for a child in receiving a letter addressed to them, being issued their own library card, or earning a personalized school badge. Such personal items in a child's eyes emulate the responsibilities of adults and thus can inspire a sense of responsibility in caring for the items. Thus, there is a need to attach some degree of personalization to a stowage device to encourage children to care for it and its contents responsibly.
In an age of instant gratification, where technology enables travel across the globe with ease, a long journey whether by car or other means, can be a boring and uninspiring time. This can be especially true for children. It is known that for adults, their experience can be improved by earning frequent traveler awards, or feeling a sense of accomplishment by adding another stamp to their passport. Thus, there is also a need to provide travelling children a similar sense of entitlement, excitement, and rewards while travelling.
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An example of a plush toy according to the disclosure includes a monolithic shape with a soft exterior fabric surrounding a compliant stuffing, the monolithic shape having a head section and a body section, such that the head section is wider than the body section, a first soft securing flap attached (e.g., sewn, buttoned, or otherwise fastened) to a back side of the head and/or body sections and configured to attach the plush toy about a shoulder strap of a vehicle seatbelt, at least one exterior pocket located on a front side of the plush toy, such that the pocket is attached to the exterior fabric of the body section, and a first interior zippered pocket located inside the body section including a first zipper located along a side of the body section.
Implementations of such a plush toy may include one or more of the following features. A second interior zippered pocket located inside the head section including a head zipper located along a top side of the head section. The first interior zippered pocket includes a second zipper located on an opposite side of the body section from the first zipper, such that the first interior zippered pocket is accessible from either the first or second zipper. A membership card holder can be located on the back of the body section. The width of the head section is between 9 and 12 inches, and the width of the body section is between 4 and 5 inches. The length of the plush toy is between 18 and 26 inches. The monolithic shape resembles the letter T.
An example of a soft toy capable of functioning as a vehicle seatbelt cover and a knapsack according to the disclosure includes a T-shaped body with a head section and a body section, a first soft securing flap located on a back side of the T-shaped body, one or more exterior pockets on a front side of the T-shaped body, and a head section pocket located in the head section of the T-shaped body.
Implementations of such a soft toy capable of functioning as a vehicle seatbelt cover and a knapsack may include one or more of the following features. A body pocket located in the body section of the T-shaped body. The body pocket includes one zipper on each side of the body section. A detachable shoulder strap, such that the shoulder strap includes a primary loop and a secondary loop, and the first soft securing flap is configured to be inserted between the primary loop and the secondary loop when the soft toy is attached to the shoulder strap. The thickness of the head section is between 4 and 6 inches, and the thickness of the body section is between 3 and 5 inches. A second securing flap located on the back side of the T-shaped body. The first securing flap is disposed on the back side of the body section, and the second securing flap is disposed on the back side of the head section. The first securing flap is disposed along a first axis that is parallel to the body section, and the second securing flap is disposed along a second axis that is not perpendicular to the first axis. The width of the head section is between 9 and 12 inches, and the width of the body section is between 4 and 5 inches.
An example of a huggable plush seatbelt cover according to the disclosure includes exterior fabric means for forming a monolithic shape, such that the monolithic shape has a head section and a body section, stuffing means for expanding the exterior fabric means into the monolithic shape, securing flap means for attaching the huggable plush seatbelt cover to a vehicle seatbelt, an exterior pocket located on the outside surface of the exterior fabric means, and an interior pocket located within the monolithic shape and accessible through an opening in the exterior fabric means.
Implementations of such a huggable plush seatbelt cover may include one or more of the following features. A membership card holder means for attaching an ID card to the huggable plush seatbelt cover. A detachable shoulder strap means for securing the huggable plush seatbelt cover to a person.
In accordance with implementations of the invention, one or more of the following capabilities may be provided. A character based huggable plush seatbelt cover (i.e., a plush toy, a SeatPet) can be configured to attach to a vehicle seatbelt. The plush seatbelt cover can incorporate pockets and zippered compartments to accommodate a variety of items that kids want or need to have close by during car travel. The huggable plush toy can attach to a shoulder strap to be carried by a child. An affinity membership program for kids can be created that can entitle members (Very Important Kids) to special discounts on related products. A customizable website can include special offers at affiliate destinations and unlimited access to a ‘members only’ area of the website. Various characters can be created based on market demands. Cross-branded and complementary travel products (e.g., keychains, earphones, audio travel guides) can be configured to operate with a particular plush toy configuration.
As an example, and not a limitation, a plush toy is a soft stuffed animal and carry-all (e.g., knapsack, backpack) that attaches to a car seat belt and can serve two functions—it's various pockets and interior compartments are a place to keep the things a child might need or want when they are in the car (pockets are designed to accommodate music players, hand-held games, etc.) and the plush toy itself is a wrap-around pillow that makes car trips much more comfortable and kid friendly.
A website can also serve as the launching and activation point for a membership program which entails a credit-card like plastic membership card, personalized with the child's name and mailed under separate cover directly to the child. The card can entitle the member to discounts at kid-friendly places throughout the country. The membership program can leverage the power of a built-in age specific audience and significant and ongoing national media exposure to entice restaurants, museums, toy stores, etc. to become destination affiliates and offer members-only discounts. A point-of-sale advertising piece can identify affiliate destinations and serve to increase national brand awareness. A location based and searchable directory of affiliate destinations can be incorporated into the website.
The plush toy design can include an integrated holder for the membership card—to assist in making it easy to remember and always at the ready.
In an embodiment, the pockets on the plush toy can be configured to store short children\'s books dedicated to the adventures associated with different character embodiments (e.g., ornamentation) of the plush toy. Further, whimsical plush toy creatures can occupy the pockets of the plush toy, including functional accessories (i.e. ear buds, lip balm, candy).
These and other capabilities of the invention, along with the invention itself, will be more fully understood after a review of the following figures, detailed description, and claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
FIG. 1 is an isometric front view of an exemplary huggable plush seatbelt cover.
FIG. 2 is an isometric back view of an exemplary huggable plush seatbelt cover.
FIG. 3 is a front view of an exemplary huggable plush seatbelt cover.
FIG. 4 is a side view of an exemplary huggable plush seatbelt cover.
FIG. 5 is a bottom view of an exemplary huggable plush seatbelt cover.
FIGS. 6 and 7 are back views of an exemplary huggable plush seatbelt cover with a single securing flap in the closed and open positions respectively.
FIGS. 8 and 9 are back views of an exemplary huggable plush seatbelt cover with dual securing flaps in the closed and open positions respectively.
FIG. 10 is an isometric side view of a huggable plush seatbelt cover shoulder strap.
FIG. 11 is an isometric side view of a huggable plush seatbelt cover attached to a shoulder strap.
FIG. 12 is a back view of a huggable plush seatbelt cover with an integrated membership card holder.
FIG. 13 is a conceptual diagram of a web application associated with a huggable plush seatbelt cover.