Title:
NEONATAL WRAP
United States Patent 3739399
Abstract:
A wrap particularly adapted to keep a newborn baby warm until such time that his thermoregulatory mechanism gains stability. The wrap comprises a specially shaped and cut sheet of flexible plastic material which is nonabsorbent, transparent, thermally insulating, and suffocation proof. A series of flaps on each side of the sheet fold over the front of the baby as he lies supine on the central area thereof. Opposing flaps are offset and overlap so that air gaps are not created by slits in the sheet that form the flaps on each side. A closed pocket is formed for receiving the feet, and a hood is provided for the head. Any of the flaps, pocket or hood may be selectively folded back or opened for access without exposing other parts of the baby's body, in order to permit medical examination, surgical procedures, or facilitate the changing of diapers.


Inventors:
SHEAHON J
Application Number:
05/244072
Publication Date:
06/19/1973
Filing Date:
04/14/1972
Assignee:
SHEAHON J,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
428/178
International Classes:
A41B13/06; A41D13/12; (IPC1-7): A41D3/00
Field of Search:
2/69
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3636566SWADDLER1972-01-25Sutherland
3490072MEDICAL PATIENT'S GOWN1970-01-20Keltner
3464063MEDICAL EXAMINATION GOWN1969-09-02Hoegerman
Primary Examiner:
Hunter, Hampton H.
Claims:
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is

1. A wrap for an individual sensitive to exposure, said wrap comprising a sheet of flexible material having in combination:

2. The wrap as claimed in claim 1, wherein said sheet further has opposed end portions adapted to be adjacent the head and feet respectively of the individual lying on said area, the inferior end portion presenting an end flap continuous with adjacent flaps of both of said series of flaps, said end flap being movable to a disposition where it is folded over said adjacent flaps in said positions thereof to present a closed pocket for receiving the lower extremities of the individual lying on said area, there being releasable fastening means for holding said end flap in said disposition.

3. The wrap as claimed in claim 1, wherein said sheet further has opposed end portions adapted to be adjacent the head and feet respectively of the individual lying on said area, the superior end portion being continuous with adjacent flaps of both of said series of flaps and providing a hood for receiving the individual's head.

4. The wrap as claimed in claim 3, wherein said superior end portion has an irregular margin provided with a notch in central alignment with said area, there being releasable fastening means for uniting the material of said superior end portion to close said notch and thereby form said hood.

5. The wrap as claimed in claim 1, wherein said material is provided with a multitude of spaced protuberances, each of which defines an air pocket to render said material thermally insulating, the spaces between said protuberances being unobstructed to prevent inadvertent suffocation of the individual lying on said area.

6. The wrap as claimed in claim 1, wherein said material is nonabsorbent.

7. The wrap as claimed in claim 6, wherein said material comprises a thin plastic skin provided with a multitude of spaced protuberances in which air is captured, presenting a multitude of air bubbles in the material that render the same thermally insulating, the spaces between said protuberances being unobstructed to prevent inadvertent suffocation of the individual lying on said area.

8. The wrap as claimed in claim 7, wherein said skin and protuberances are transparent, thereby permitting the individual to be viewed through said cover.

9. The wrap as claimed in claim 8, wherein said sheet further has opposed end portions adapted to be adjacent the head and feet respectively of the individual lying on said area, the inferior end portion presenting an end flap continuous with adjacent flaps of both of said series of flaps, said end flap being movable to a disposition where it is folded over said adjacent flaps in said positions thereof to present a closed pocket for receiving the lower extremities of the individual lying on said area, there being releasable fastening means for holding said end flap in said disposition, the superior end portion being continuous with adjacent flaps of both of said series of flaps and providing a hood for receiving the individual's head.

Description:
This invention relates to a wrap or cover for an individual who is sensitive to exposure and, in particular, to a wrap for a newborn baby which minimizes the potential problem of excessive hypothermia.

A newborn baby at the time of delivery is suddenly subjected to room temperature. This is the first experience of the newborn with temperature change, since the entire period of gestation is in an environment of body heat in the amnionic fluid of the mother. Accordingly, the baby experiences a drop in ambient temperature on the order of 25° F. and is further subjected to cooling by evaporation of body moisture.

Due to the sudden temperature change, it is not uncommon for a newborn baby to experience hypothermia particularly since the thermoregulatory mechanism of the newborn is unstable. Excessive hypothermia may cause respiratory difficulties and is a condition which must be avoided. This is particularly an acute problem in a premature baby since his thermoregulatory mechanism may not as yet have acquired even the moderate instability commonly experienced in babies after a full term pregnancy.

An incubator may be used, of course, for the premature baby but normally this is neither practical nor desirable in instances of normal birth. Furthermore, the incubator has the inherent disadvantage of denying access to the child except through exposure each time it is necessary to perform routine tasks such as the changing of diapers. A baby resulting from a normal birth is commonly simply wrapped in a blanket and fed and changed in the usual manner, although radiant heaters have been used heretofore but, in general, these have not been too satisfactory.

It is, therefore, the primary object of the present invention to provide a simple and practical means of maintaining a newborn baby in essentially a body heat environment until such time that his thermoregulatory mechanism gains normal stability.

As a corollary to the foregoing object, it is an important aim of this invention to provide a means as aforesaid which accomplishes these results without preventing access to regions of the baby's body, yet without unnecessarily exposing other parts of the body to which access is not needed.

A further and important object of this invention is to provide such a means in the form of a specially shaped and cut wrap which permits the aforesaid selective access, and which is both thermally insulating and nonabsorbent in character in order to prevent the escape of natural body heat.

Still another important object of the invention is to provide a wrap as aforesaid which does not limit an attendant's ability to observe the skin color of the newborn child, and which also does not present any hazard of suffocation.

Additionally, it is an important object of the invention to provide such a wrap which is also adaptable to patient's of adult size for use in special circumstances such as abnormal conditions caused by a failure of health or an injury accident.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of the wrap in completely unfolded condition prior to use thereof;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing a baby in the wrap with the hood and upper flaps in place;

FIGS. 3, 4, and 5 are views similar to FIG. 2 showing progressive stages of application of the wrap to the baby, FIG. 5 illustrating the baby completely sealed therein;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged, plan view of the material of the wrap, showing the circular, air filled protuberances that render the material thermally insulating; and

FIG. 7 is a cross section of the material shown in FIG. 6 in which the construction thereof is further illustrated.

Referring initially to FIG. 1, a sheet of flexible material is shown which is specially shaped and cut to form the wrap of the present invention, as will be appreciated hereinafter. In FIG. 1 the sheet is laid out flat in a plan view prior to being folded and arranged about a newborn baby. It may be noted that the sheet, although irregular in shape, has a major central area 10 which is separation free and which receives the child in a supine position. As will become clear hereinafter, the wrap does not prevent the child from being placed in a prone position in that the material of the sheet is suffocation proof, but the supine position is normally preferred for a newborn.

The sheet is provided with opposed, straight, free side edges 12 and 14 which are parallel with one another as is clear in FIG. 1. Three slits 16 extend inwardly from the side edge 12 and terminate at the central area 10. It may be noted that these slits 16 are in parallelism, substantially equally spaced, and form right angles with the side edge 12. Being communicated with the edge 12, four flaps 18, 20, 22 and 24 are formed and present a series of flaps which will ultimately be folded over the central area 10 to form part of a cover for the baby.

Similarly, three slits 26 communicate with the side edge 14 to form a series of four flaps 28, 30, 32 and 34. It should be noted, however, that the three slits 26 are out of alignment with the three slits 16; accordingly, the four flaps 28, 30, 32 and 34 are offset with respect to the four flaps 18, 20, 22 and 24. The uppermost flap 28 of the right-hand series is specially shaped, being provided with a concavity 36 along its upper edge to provide clearance for the baby's chin as will be subsequently appreciated.

The opposed end portions 38 and 40 of the sheet will, in use, be associated with the head and the feet, respectively, of the baby lying in the central area 10. The superior end portion 38 has an irregular margin 42 formed by curved edges tapering toward the central or longitudinal axis of the central area 10, a V-shaped notch 44 being provided in central alignment with the area 10. A pair of pressure sensitive fasteners 46 at the ends of the notch 44 provide a means of uniting the stretches of material on opposite sides of the notch to close the latter and thereby form a hood for the baby's head as seen in FIGS. 2-5.

Pressure sensitive fasteners are also employed in conjunction with the various flaps previously described. One series of four such fasteners 48 are disposed adjacent the terminations of the three slits 16 and the upper edge 50 of the flap 18. Four fasteners 52 on the flaps 28, 30, 32 and 34 at the side edge 14 mate with corresponding fasteners 48 to hold the flaps in place. It should be understood that various types of pressure sensitive fasteners that adhere to one another may be employed, such as textile strips having raised pile threads which interlock. Strips of this type are sold under the trademark Velcro and are composed of a synthetic resin textile material made in accordance with the teachings of de Mestral, U. S. Letters Pat. No. 2,717,437, granted Sept. 13, 1955.

In this connection, it should be appreciated that mating fasteners used in the present invention are disposed on opposite faces of the sheet material. This may not be altogether clear in FIG. 1 since the sheet material of the present invention is transparent and solid lines are used in FIG. 1 for clarity of illustration. The fasteners 52, for example, are on the upper face of the sheet as seen in FIG. 1, and the fasteners 48 are on the underside thereof.

For securing the wrap about the shoulders, mating fasteners 54 and 56 are provided at the upper outside corner of the flap 28 and the opposite edge of the superior end portion 38. A pair of closely spaced fasteners 58 are disposed adjacent the upper inside corner of the flap 28 and mate with each other to fit the other shoulder.

The inferior end portion 40 of the sheet presents an end flap 60 which is continuous with the adjacent side flaps 24 and 34. This end flap 60 and the side flaps 24 and 34 are used to form a closed pocket for receiving the lower extremities of the child as may be seen in FIGS. 2-5. A fastener 62 selectively mates with either of a pair of fasteners 64 or 66, depending upon the length of the child.

Before discussing FIGS. 2-5 in detail, it is first instructive to understand the construction of the material with reference to the illustrations of FIGS. 6 and 7. The material is a flexible plastic which has heretofore been employed as a packing material. A thin skin 68 forms a base layer and is provided with a multitude of spaced, circular protuberances 70 in which air is captured. The protuberances 70 are formed by a second overlying skin which is fused to the skin 68, thus the material has a multitude of air bubbles therein which, in the present invention, greatly enhance the thermal insulating properties of the material. Furthermore, the plastic sheet is inherently nonabsorbent as well as transparent, thereby providing a material which is especially advantageous in the present invention.

The manner of utilization of the wrap of the present invention will now be discussed with particular reference to FIGS. 2-5. In FIG. 2 the hood has been formed about the head of the child by uniting the fasteners 46. Also, the shoulder fasteners 54 and 56 and the shoulder fasteners 58 have been secured. The uppermost flaps 18 and 28 are in place and secured by the uppermost fasteners 48 and 52. It should be noted in this respect that the series of flaps 18, 20, 22 and 24 are the lower flaps of the cover that is progressively formed in FIGS. 2-4. The series of flaps 28, 30, 32 and 34 comprise the upper flaps of the cover and overlap the series of lower flaps. Accordingly, a double layer covering is provided to assure that the desired warmth is sustained.

In FIG. 3 the second lower flap 20 is in place, and the corresponding upper flap 30 is shown in broken lines. This Figure emphasizes the significance of the offset relationship of the two series of flaps, in that it may be appreciated that the flap 30 overlaps the flap 18 as well as the flap 20 to cover the intervening slit 16. This arrangement prevents the slits from creating air gaps that would unnecessarily expose the child and permit body heat to escape.

In FIG. 4 the upper flap 32 is in place, and the positions of the underlying flap 22 and the flap 34 are illustrated in broken lines. The flap 24 is also shown in broken lines in a manner to illustrate the opening of the inferior end portion 40 for access to the lower extremities of the child for the purpose of changing diapers or absorbent pads (not shown). Normally, for changing purposes, the flaps 22 and 32 need not be opened, thus no more of the baby's body is exposed than is absolutely necessary.

In FIG. 5 the baby is completely sealed within the wrap, as evidenced by the fact that all of the flaps are in place with their fasteners secured, including the end flap 60 which is folded up and cooperates with the flaps 24 and 34 to form a closed picket for the feet. FIG. 5 illustrates the manner in which access may be gained to other portions of the baby's body, such as the abdominal region by folding back the flaps 30 and 20. Here again, other regions of the body are not unnecessarily exposed. Access to the abdomen would be necessary, for example, in instances where it is necessary to gain access to the umbilical cord for an infusion or transfusion. It may also be recognized that folding back the flaps 32 and 22 provide access exclusively to the genital region for such purposes as circumcision immediately after birth. The uppermost flaps 28 and 18 fold back to expose the chest region which would be necessary for routine medical examinations in the early days of life.

As mentioned previously, the baby is also protected against suffocation by the wrap of the present invention. This is best appreciated from a study of FIGS. 6 and 7, it being understood that the protuberances 70 face inwardly when the baby is placed in the wrap. (Viewing FIG. 1, the protuberances 70 are on the upper face of the sheet.) Since the protuberances 70 are spaced from one another in all directions, natural passages 72 are formed therebetween which always permit air to be drawn into the nostrils even though the nose of the child may be firmly imbedded in the material. Furthermore, since the air bubbles formed within the protuberances 70 are never broken other than at the edges and slits at the time of cutting the sheet during manufacture, there is no sterilization problem in that initial sterilization of the cut sheet is all that is required. In most applications, the wrap would be utilized as a throwaway item and discarded after it is assured that the thermoregulatory system of the child has stabilized.