Title:
Baby sleeping cushion and method of use thereof
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A baby sleeping cushion and method of use thereof, wherein the cushion is wedge-shaped and comprises two principal layers, a top layer and a bottom layer. The bottom high-density foam provides a firm backing or support and the selected elevation from head end to foot end. The viscoelastic or visio memory foam top layer molds to the body form of a baby, retarding lateral movement of the baby, and preventing the baby from rolling from side-to-side. In addition to the two-layer wedge-shaped cushion, a separate cushioning device, generally hemispherical in shape, is removably secured to the wedge-shaped cushion, and supports the baby's legs and buttocks; thereby preventing movement of the baby in response to the inclined slope of the wedge-shaped cushion. An additional embodiment provides a support pillow to restrain the baby's head from movement removably-secured to the wedge-shaped cushion.



Inventors:
Foster, Maryam (Union City, GA, US)
Application Number:
10/985142
Publication Date:
05/11/2006
Filing Date:
11/10/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/632
International Classes:
A47D13/00; A47C27/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090211024SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR ENHANCING THE SAFETY OF A SLEEPING ARRANGEMENT FOR A CHILD ON A BEDAugust, 2009Maloney et al.
20080295252Mattress Construction with Filamentary FastenersDecember, 2008Cecil
20080034505INFANT HEAD SUPPORT, SAFETY AND COMFORTING DEVICEFebruary, 2008Thomas
20090007337PORTABLE CUSHION AND BUMPER DEVICEJanuary, 2009Mese
20040172752Collapsible hammock frameSeptember, 2004Vo et al.
20050172412Inflatable device for adjusting the support and comfort of a mattressAugust, 2005Pearson
20100088817SIDE GRATEApril, 2010Bock
20100037395SHOULDER PILLOWFebruary, 2010Heeter
20090178202Infant pillow deviceJuly, 2009Kovalyak
20070192956Multifunctional furnitureAugust, 2007Street
20080271245Inflatable mattress with uniform restraintNovember, 2008Flick



Primary Examiner:
CONLEY, FREDRICK C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BakerHostetler (Cira Centre, 12th Floor 2929 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104-2891, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A baby support device comprising: an angled cushion member; and a leg-and-buttocks support member.

2. The device of claim 1, further comprising means for attachment of said angled cushion member to said leg-and-buttocks support member.

3. The device of claim 1, wherein said baby support device further comprises a removable cover.

4. The device of claim 3, wherein said removable cover is washable.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein said angled cushion member comprises a top side.

6. The device of claim 5, wherein said top side forms an angle of between approximately fifteen and approximately forty-five degrees from a surface upon which said device is placed.

7. The device of claim 1, further comprising at least one pillow.

8. The device of claim 7, wherein said at least one pillow and said angled cushion member comprise means for securing together.

9. The device of claim 8, wherein said means for securing together comprises at least one hook-and-loop fastener.

10. The device of claim 1, wherein said angled cushion member comprises a high-density foam base.

11. The device of claim 1, wherein said angled cushion member comprises a-contouring foam surface.

12. The device of claim 1, wherein said leg-and-buttocks support member comprises a contouring foam.

13. A method of supporting a baby, said method comprising the steps of: a. obtaining a baby support cushion having a wedge-shaped cushion member; b. placing said baby support cushion on a supporting surface; and c. placing a baby on said baby support cushion.

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising the step of: a′. covering said baby support cushion with a cover.

15. The method of claim 13, wherein said baby support cushion further comprises a leg-and-buttocks support member, and a means for attaching said wedge-shaped cushion member to said leg-and-buttocks support member.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein said wedge-shaped cushion member comprises a high density foam base.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein said wedge-shaped cushion member comprises a memory foam top.

18. The method of claim 15, wherein said baby support cushion further comprises a pillow.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein said pillow and said wedge-shaped cushion member comprise a means for securing together.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein said means for securing together comprises at least one hook-and-loop fastener.

21. A device for supporting a baby comprising: a wedge-shaped support cushion, wherein said wedge-shaped support cushion comprises a high density foam base section and a memory foam top section.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to bedding, and more specifically to a baby sleeping cushion and method of use thereof, wherein the sleeping cushion provides a wedge-shaped support for a baby, and further provides leg support portion to prevent slipping of the baby from the cushion. The wedge shaped support and leg support portion are formed from a resilient foam material so as to comfortably contour to the baby's body form.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Sleeping babies are often subject to potentially hazardous conditions, such as rolling over and suffocating, dying for unexplained reasons (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or ‘SIDS’), and/or fluids draining into the baby's head thereby causing reflux or congestion therein.

SIDS describes the sudden death of an infant usually during sleep. Although, there is no explanation for SIDS-related death, it has been found that babies who sleep on their stomachs are more likely to die of SIDS than those who sleep on their backs. That is, it has been suggested that a possible cause of SIDS is excessive carbon dioxide intake caused by congestion and/or by re-breathing carbon dioxide laden air trapped in the bedding into which the baby is facing when lying on its stomach. If the baby's nervous system does not detect the high level of carbon dioxide, and thus, fail to timely awaken the baby, the baby may succumb to the excess carbon dioxide and die.

Accordingly, childcare-related literature suggests that parents ensure that their baby sleeps on its back to prevent SIDS, and in placing the baby on its back, to provide a means to prevent the baby from rolling over onto its stomach. However, because placing a baby on its back has traditionally been discouraged in view of the heightened tendency for reflux to occur, it is recommended to provide adequate elevation of the baby's head to help prevent such reflux. It is also recommended that babies be provided with a firm sleeping surface, and that bedcoverings likely to cause/create pockets of carbon dioxide be avoided.

Although infant sleeping apparatuses are available, such apparatuses typically do not provide adequate elevation of the baby's head and feet, do not provide for the comfort of the baby, do not prevent the baby from rolling onto its stomach, and/or do not prevent the baby from slipping off of the apparatus.

For instance, U.S. Pat. No. 5,029,351 to Weber discloses a baby support pillow that is wedge-shaped to provide a slight incline for assisting in the breast feeding process of a baby, and to further prevent back pain in the nursing mother by placing the baby at a selected height suitable for nursing. The pillow has a contoured side to provide a firm supportive surface for the child's mother. However, the device of Weber '351 does not provide a suitable surface for a sleeping baby to be restrained from slipping down or rolling to the sides thereof, nor does it provide independent support for the baby's legs, buttocks, and head.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,133,098 to Weber discloses a wedge-shaped support pillow for assisting in the breast feeding process, wherein the pillow comprises an inflatable support, having a layer of foam and cardboard laminated thereto to prevent ballooning out of the inflatable support. However, the device of Weber '098 does not include a means for independently supporting the legs and buttocks of the baby, or a support for a baby's head, and is designed for use in the presence of a caregiver or nursing mother.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,378,151 to Lowe teaches a wedge-shaped baby crib sleep aid, wherein the sleep aid comprises a wedge shape having tines that extend through the bars of a baby crib. A baby can then be placed on the tines such that the baby's head is elevated to prevent head congestion. However, the device of Lowe '151 does not provide a means for preventing slippage of the baby toward the bars of the crib, or between them, and does not provide independent support for the baby's legs, buttocks, and head.

United States Patent Appl. No. 2002/0133881 to Vrbas et al. teaches a baby pillow that is wedge-shaped for supporting a supine or prone baby, wherein the pillow has a concave surface to hold the baby. The device further includes a removable, washable cloth cover and a strap device for securing a baby upon the pillow. However, the device of Vrbas et al. '881 only supports a portion of the baby and also lacks a means for independent support of the baby's legs, buttocks, and head.

Therefore, it is readily apparent that there is a need for a baby sleeping cushion and method of use thereof, to prevent babies from suffocating and dying, wherein the present invention provides comfort and security from the baby slipping therefrom, while at the same time elevating and supporting the baby's head, and supporting the baby's legs and buttocks.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly described, in a preferred embodiment, the present invention overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages and meets the recognized need for such a device by providing a baby sleeping cushion and method of use thereof, wherein the cushion is elevated at a selected angle to provide a comfortable and supportive sleeping position, and wherein the cushion contours to the baby's body in support thereof, and further provides support to the baby's legs and buttocks; thus, preventing the baby from slipping off of the cushion.

According to its major aspects and broadly stated, the present invention in its preferred form is a baby sleeping cushion and method of use thereof, wherein the cushion comprises a wedge-shaped base with a body-conforming top layer disposed thereover. The cushion further includes a generally-hemispherical-shaped removable support cushion utilized to support the infant's legs and buttocks, wherein the support cushion is removably secured to the lower end of the wedge-shaped base. The cushion can alternatively include a removably securable head cushion for restraining the baby's head thereon and therewithin.

More specifically, the present invention is a baby sleeping cushion and method of use thereof, wherein the cushion is wedge-shaped and comprises two principal layers, a top layer in contact with the baby, and a bottom layer. The bottom layer is formed from high density foam to supply a firm support or backing for the cushion. The wedge shape provides the selected elevation from head end to foot end. The top layer is comprised of a contouring foam that takes the shape of, or molds to, the body form of the baby, thereby retarding lateral movement of the baby, and preventing the baby from rolling from side to side and ultimately off of the cushion. Such foams are known as viscoelastic or visio memory foams. In addition to the two-layer wedge-shaped cushion, a separate cushioning device, generally hemispherical in shape, is removably secured to the wedge-shaped portion, and supports the baby's legs and buttocks, thereby preventing movement of the baby in response to the inclined slope of the wedge-shaped cushion. The generally-hemispherical-shaped “leg and buttocks” cushion component is removably secured to the wedge-shaped cushion via a fastening strip, such as, for exemplary purposes only, a strip of hook-and-loop fastener.

In addition to the cushioning features of the present baby sleeping cushion, an additional support pillow is provided to restrain the baby's head from movement, wherein the pillow is removably secured to the wedge-shaped cushion via hook-and-loop fasteners, or the like.

Accordingly, a feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to elevate a resting or sleeping baby's head at a selected angle so as to prevent and/or reduce the occurrence of congestion, SIDS, reflux, and/or other fatal or hazardous health conditions.

Another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to conform to any infant's body.

Still another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to be easily cleaned.

Yet another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to prevent an infant from rolling out of its sleeping position.

Yet still another feature and advantage of the present invention is that its component parts can be separated for cleaning, transport and/or storage.

A further feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to restrain movement of a baby's head and body, thereby preventing suffocation otherwise resulting from the baby turning over and facing into its mattress while sleeping.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent to one skilled in the art from the following description and claims when read in light of the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be better understood by reading the Detailed Description of the Preferred and Selected Alternate Embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing figures, in which like reference numerals denote similar structure and refer to like elements throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a baby sleeping cushion according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of a baby sleeping cushion according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, shown in use;

FIG. 3 is a bottom view of a leg and buttocks support component of a baby sleeping cushion according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4A is a side view of a baby sleeping cushion according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4B is a bottom view of a pillow component of a baby sleeping cushion according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a baby sleeping cushion according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention, shown positioned within a baby crib.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED AND SELECTED ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS

In describing the preferred and selected alternate embodiments of the present invention, as illustrated in FIGS. 1-5, specific terminology is employed for the sake of clarity. The invention, however, is not intended to be limited to the specific terminology so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific element includes all technical equivalents that operate in a similar manner to accomplish similar functions.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-3, the present invention in a preferred embodiment is generally wedge-shaped support 10, wherein support 10 preferably comprises wedge-shaped cushion member 20 and leg-and-buttocks support member 70. Wedge-shaped cushion member 20 and leg-and-buttocks support member 70 are preferably removably secured to one another via connector 60. First end 110 of connector 60 is preferably in communication with tail end 100 of wedge-shaped cushion member 20, wherein second end 120 of connector 60 is preferably in communication with leg-and-buttocks support member 70.

Wedge-shaped cushion member 20 preferably comprises top 40 and base 30, wherein top 40 and base 30 are preferably secured together along joint 90 via any suitable securing means, such as for exemplary purposes only, adhesive. Base 30 preferably comprises a high-density rigid foam, thereby providing a firm backing or support for top 40, wherein top 40 preferably comprises a viscoelastic foam, thereby providing a resilient form-accommodating comfort layer.

Wedge-shaped cushion member 20 preferably has slope 50, wherein slope 50 preferably comprises an angle of between approximately fifteen and approximately forty-five degrees, preferably formed by line 130 extending between head end 95 and tail end 100 of wedge-shaped cushion member 20 along top surface 140 of top 40 thereof and top T of surface S.

Referring now more specifically to FIG. 2, in order to provide baby B with a secure sleeping or resting location, support 10 is placed on top T of surface S of crib C, or on any other selected structure or planar surface. Baby B is placed on top 40 of wedge-shaped cushion member 20, wherein head H of baby B is placed upon head end 95 of wedge-shaped cushion member 20, and wherein legs L of baby B are positioned on leg-and-buttocks support member 70. Buttocks K of baby B preferably rests upon connector 60 against leg-and-buttocks support member 70, wherein leg-and-buttocks support member 70 preferably comprises a viscoelastic foam, so as to comfortably contour to the legs L and buttocks K of baby B.

Referring again to FIGS. 1-3, leg-and-buttocks support member 70 is secured to wedge-shaped cushion member 20 via hook-and-loop fastener 170. Leg-and-buttocks support member 70 comprises first half 160 of hook-and-loop fastener 170, wherein wedge-shaped cushion member 20 comprises second half 180 of hook-and-loop fastener 170, thus enabling the removable engagement of same.

Referring now more specifically to FIGS. 4A-4B, illustrated therein is an alternate embodiment of support 10, wherein the alternate embodiment of FIGS. 4A-4B is substantially equivalent in form and function to that of the preferred embodiment detailed and illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 except as hereinafter specifically referenced. Specifically, the embodiment of FIGS. 4A-4B further comprises pillow 150. Pillow 150 could be removably secured to wedge-shaped cushion member 20 via hook-and-loop fastener 175, wherein pillow 150 comprises first half 165 of hook-and-loop fastener 175, and wherein wedge-shaped cushion member 20 further comprises second half 185 of hook-and-loop fastener 175.

Referring now more specifically to FIG. 5, illustrated therein is an alternate embodiment of support 10, wherein the alternate embodiment of FIG. 5 is substantially equivalent in form and function to that of the preferred embodiment detailed and illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 except as hereinafter specifically referenced. Specifically, the embodiment of FIG. 5 comprises support 10 in combination with pillow 150, wherein support 10 is placed in crib C and functions to permit unattended sleeping of baby B (not shown in FIG. 5) placed within crib C.

It is envisioned in an alternate embodiment of the present invention that wedge-shaped cushion member 20, pillow 150, and/or leg-and-buttocks support member 70 could be covered with removable, washable cover 190 (best shown in FIG. 4A).

In a further alternate embodiment of the present invention, it is envisioned that pillow 150 could be formed from contoured foam.

In yet another alternate embodiment of the present invention, it is envisioned that the high density rigid foam of base 30 could be adapted to contour to uneven surfaces.

The foregoing description and drawings comprise illustrative embodiments of the present invention. Having thus described exemplary embodiments of the present invention, it should be noted by those skilled in the art that the within disclosures are exemplary only, and that various other alternatives, adaptations, and modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention. Merely listing or numbering the steps of a method in a certain order does not constitute any limitation on the order of the steps of that method. Many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which this invention pertains having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Although specific terms may be employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to the specific embodiments illustrated herein, but is limited only by the following claims.