Title:
ONE-PIECE CAP WITH FLEXIBLE STRAW AND SEALING DISK FOR BABY BOTTLE
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A baby bottle cap which comprises a one-piece cap which attaches to the open end of a baby bottle neck, a flexible straw extending from the interior of the baby bottle, through the inlet of the cap to a position outside of the baby bottle, and a removable sealing disk. The innermost hole of the inlet applies pressure to the flexible straw to create a leak-proof seal between the cap and the flexible straw and to hold the flexible straw in place. The sealing disk is secured to the underside of the cap which will create a leak-proof seal for traveling and storage. This apparatus will be used for a toddler that is weaning off of a bottle nipple learning to drink from a straw and used as a drinking device for the toddler years.


Inventors:
Adams, Victoria Marie (Broomall, PA, US)
Application Number:
13/536252
Publication Date:
01/02/2014
Filing Date:
06/28/2012
Assignee:
ADAMS VICTORIA MARIE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D51/24
View Patent Images:
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20030026508Push-on/screw-off cap assemblyFebruary, 2003Smith et al.
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Claims:
What I claim as the invention is:

1. A one-piece baby bottle cap comprising: a. said one-piece baby bottle cap having an upper side and lower side, an inlet in said one-piece baby bottle cap, a cylindrical wall circumscribing to the rim of said lower side of said one-piece baby bottle cap, said cylindrical wall having an inner and outer wall, said one-piece baby bottle cap lower side comprising a raised cylindrical ridge, b. a flexible straw, having a first end and a second end, an outer wall and inner wall defining a lumen, and said flexible straw extending from the interior of the bottle through said baby bottle cap inlet for conveying fluid out of the baby bottle. c. a removable sealing disk, having an upper side and lower side, where the lower side of said sealing disk contains an outward protrusion for attachment to said one piece baby bottle cap, d. said baby bottle cap cylindrical wall comprising a means for securing and removing said cylindrical wall to the baby bottle neck, e. f. a means of attaching said sealing disk to the underside of said one-piece baby bottle cap by attaching said upper side of said sealing disk, to said baby bottle cap underside which contains a protrusion that points toward said baby bottle neck between the cylindrical wall of one-piece baby bottle cap and said baby bottle neck.

2. Said inlet of said one-piece baby bottle cap of claim 1, further comprising of an edge circumscribing the outermost rim of said inlet.

3. Said inlet of said one-piece baby bottle cap of claim 2, further comprising an innermost hole which applies pressure on said flexible straw creating a seal between said one-piece baby bottle cap and said flexible straw.

4. Said sealing disk of claim 3 further contains a gripping mechanism on the lower side of said sealing disk for gripping said sealing disk.

5. (canceled)

6. (canceled)

7. (canceled)

8. (canceled)

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

Not Applicable

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH

Not Applicable

SEQUENCE LISTING OR PROGRAM

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to a one-piece cap with a flexible straw and sealing disk that replaces the nipple and annular ring on the neck of a baby bottle, specifically to accommodate the child to teach them weaning off of the nipple and for continued use once the child learns to drink from the straw.

2. Related Art

At present, there are no adaptors for baby bottles that are one-piece caps with flexible straws to replace the nipple and annular ring to allow the bottle to be converted into a device which liquid can be drawn through a straw. It is recommended for infants to wean from using a nipple by the age of one-year-old to prevent tooth decay, reduce the risk of ear infections, and to prevent lisps and other speech problems such as difficulty with articulation and clarity of speech. Furthermore, it is recommended to avoid the use of a sippy cup, a training cup with a lid and perforated spout and a common cup used to wean off of the nipple, and go straight to cups with straws instead. This is recommended to prevent issues where teeth are pushed forward or outward from the spout on sippy cups since the spout misplaces the tongue and pushes the teeth out. (Mann, Denise. “So Long Sippy Cups, Hello Straws.” WebMD Feb. 11, 2008. 9 Feb. 2012 <http://children.webmd.com/news/20080212/so-long-sippy-cups-hello-straws>). It is also believed that the most natural step when weaning from the nipple would be to use a straw to draw liquid out of a container instead of a sippy cup because the sucking motion of drawing liquid out of a nipple is similar to the sucking motion of drawing liquid through the straw. Sippy cups force the baby to learn a whole new way of drinking by having to tip the cup up and the head back to allow gravity to bring liquid out of the cup.

Along with the health benefits of using a straw cup, there is a need for a product that makes transitioning from nipple to straw easier, allows for the option of using glass to hold the liquid and saves money by allowing to continue to use the already owned bottle supply and not have to purchase a new inventory of trainer and toddler cups.

To address the issue of making transitioning from a nipple to a straw easier, babies are used to their bottle and like consistency. A lot of caretakers have problems with the transition from bottle to cup because the baby sees a new object that is not their familiar bottle and they refuse to drink from the new cup. This invention solves this problem because the baby gets to continue to drink from their familiar bottle. Along with this, bottles are a good size in diameter for a child to grasp, while trainer cups or sippy cups tend to be wider in diameter.

To address the issue of the need for a glass option to hold liquid instead of plastic or stainless steel, the present invention gives the option for the caretaker to attach the one-piece cap with flexible straw to a glass bottle. Most sippy and toddler cups are made out of plastic and there are a few on the market made out of stainless steel. While this one-piece cap with flexible straw can be attached to a plastic bottle, it can also be attached to a bottle made out of glass. Both plastic and stainless steel can leach unwanted substances into the liquid that the toddler is drinking. Other drawbacks of stainless steel include that it is hard to warm the liquid it contains and it is not transparent to see the amount of liquid the child has already consumed. There is a need for an alternative drinking container. For the caregiver that feels glass is the best container for their child, they now have the option to continue to use their glass bottles after a child has stopped using a nipple and not have to worry about leaching of plastic or stainless steel into the liquid.

To address the financial issues and issues of over consumption, when an infant is ready to start weaning from a nipple, caregivers are forced to purchase a whole new inventory of cups since sippy cups or straw cups must be purchased as a whole unit. The caregiver has invested money in a lot of baby bottle gear and now the bottles are no longer able to be used. A cap that can attach to the top of a baby bottle allows the caregiver to continue to use the supply of baby bottles that they already own and saves them money from having to purchase a whole new inventory of drinking containers. With this invention, caregivers spend less money and consume less materials, which is a benefit for the environment. Along with this, they do not have to purchase an array of different brands of cups with spouts or straws for the toddler to test out to see which one suits the toddler best since the toddler is already comfortable with their bottle.

Since the caregivers have been using the baby bottles for a while, they are accustomed to and have a routine of both preparing the liquid, washing and traveling. The present invention allows for the caregiver to continue using the process that they currently use of washing, maintenance or usage techniques without them having to learn and adapt to a whole new system. An example is that infants often like their liquid warmed, but if a caregiver switches to stainless steel training cups, heating the liquid could pose to be an issue.

Although the present invention consists of three pieces, a one-piece cap, a flexible straw and a sealing disk. In order to use the device, all that is necessary is the one-piece cap and flexible straw to be assembled to the bottle neck. The sealing disk is provided to give an option of storing the liquid or traveling with liquid in the bottle. The one-piece cap with the straw are less pieces to assemble, carry for travel and wash verses those that are described in the references cited in the following paragraphs.

Inventors have created several types of straw mechanisms or cups to be used by infants, but each has disadvantages. Examples of such are found in patent literature. Comparing to U.S. Pat. No. 5,234,117 to Dawn R. Garvin discloses a Straw Adaptor for Baby Bottle, which includes a first end that is curved and flattened for drinking and a second end that is straight and extends nearly to the bottom of a baby bottle. The device further includes a flattened, disc-shaped collar nearer its first end. This collar has a concentric, upstanding ridge on its upper face which registers with the inside edge of a threaded, annular baby bottle cap. The patent puts great necessity on the shape of the first end of the straw which is the drinking end by using a specifically shaped mouthpiece. Having a specific shaped mouthpiece hinders the infant from being able to move the straw end to a specific height or contour to its mouth. Alternatively, the present invention specifically has a flexible straw to adjust to the child's comfortable height, and can flex inside the child's mouth. Turning back to U.S. Pat. No. 5,234,117, the additional piece that is inserted within a threaded annular cap is not as convenient as the one-piece model, causing more pieces needed to be put together for use, travel and to wash. An issue arises with the straw length since the straw is cited as having a length slightly less than the depth of a standard baby bottle, which does not allow the child to draw up all of the liquid in the bottle, always leaving some liquid in the container. The present invention allows the straw to curve along the bottom to assure that all liquid can be reached and drawn up through the straw. Lastly, U.S. Pat. No. 5,234,117 is specifically for “standard” baby bottles limiting the size of bottles that can be used. There is a need for a device that can draw all liquid from the bottle and is open to manufacturing all sized bottles like the present invention addresses.

Description of Related Art United States Patent 2004/0169002 to Illissa Carrol White-Wooten discloses a Bottle Sipper Adapter and Method for Using Same, which includes a bottle adapter that inserts into the mouth of a standard-sized baby bottle and converts it into a “sippy bottle” for toddlers who have outgrown nipples and can negotiate straws. The adapter, which is normally made of soft plastic, comprises a disk with a lip around the periphery that fits into the mouth of the bottle, providing a leak proof seal. The disk further defines a center hole for the straw, such straw being made from soft, flexible plastic which is transparent so that one can easily ascertain its cleanliness. This patent is not a one-piece top, but an insert into the mouth of a standard-sized baby bottle that replaces the nipple. The threaded ring is retained and is still used to hold the disk in place. The material is specified to be made out of soft vinyl or any other type of plastic. Problems that arise with this product are that it is a small, loose disk made out of thin material that is not a one-piece unit top and it can be easily lost through everyday use or for travel outside the house. This has to be used with the threaded ring and results in additional pieces needed to put the product together for use or to wash. There is also no option for a cover to allow for travel. When purchasing a bottle, along with the bottle, threaded ring and nipple, it also comes with a cover that either encases and/or compresses the nipple so there is no spilling or leaking, for storage or travel. If someone already owns a bottle brand that uses a bottle cover that is designed for use with a nipple, the person will not be able to travel with this system as the liquid would spill throughout the center hole of the disk since this piece does not come with an plugging option for the center hole. Per the claims, the center hole generally orthogonally, which doesn't allow the straw to move at a slight angle to contour to the child's preferred height and angle. It also puts no emphasis on the importance of the flexibility of a straw and would allow a non-flexible straw. The present invention solves all of these issues being that it is a one-piece cap, provides an option for travel and storage with the sealing disk, has a conical angle for the straw in order to allow the straw to be placed in various angles and allows for the inlet for the straw to be placed in the center or side of the top. The present invention also can be made to fit various sizes of baby bottles.

U.S. Pat. No. 2011/0011819 to Kathy Gayi Lee discloses a Modular Feeding Bottle, which includes a modular feeding system assembled as an upright, hands-free feeding bottle or a traditional nurser bottle (which requires holding the bottle during feeding). The other complementary, modular parts can be used to convert the bottle (or other suitable container) into a sippy cup or a sports bottle. The parts offer versatility in bottle feeding to the user, whether it is an infant, toddler, adult, elderly person or animal. This patent goes into much detail about having a valve for fluid control. It states that at least one aperture is required for the structure to act as a valve. This product must include a value and does not leave an option for not having a valve which is a disadvantage for children learning to drink from a straw. The present invention prefers no valve in order to make pulling liquid up through the straw easy so the infant can learn how to use a straw when weaning from the bottle. A lot of times toddlers have issues with the straws when there is a valve because the valve makes it harder to draw the liquid up and the child may not fully understand the concept of how to work the straw in order to open the valve. The modular feeding bottle states in an example that, “the child's teeth compress the sides of the fluid control valve to open the passage and allow for the fluid to flow.” This straw would be for an experienced drinker of a straw, whereas the present invention can be used by an infant weaning from the bottle and learning the straw. The infant would not know how or have the experience to control a valve. Another disadvantage of the modular feeding bottle is that the straw must be used in conjunction with a gasket made of a soft, malleable material. The present invention has no use for a gasket and instead is a one-piece hard plastic top without the hassles of the additional pieces to be placed inside the threaded annular ring. The other issue is that the modular feeding bottle allows for the straw to be made out of a harder texture than the gasket portion. Using a harder plastic for the straw would hinder the child or caregiver from being able to manipulate the height of the straw and also would not conform to the comfort of the child's mouth. A harder straw would be something the child has to adapt to, where a flexible straw, like the present invention, adapts to the child's preferred height and can be easily moved in the mouth to a preferred position.

U.S. Pat. No. US 2009/012894 to Berna Kario, Haluk Hannavi, DanI I. Kario discloses a Multifunctional Bottle Cap, which includes a multifunctional drinking bottle cap for attachment to a plurality of different sized bottle neck diameters and includes a base member, a drinking mechanism attachment accommodation for a drinking mechanism selected from a flexible nipple, a spout and a straw. The base member has a dispensing orifice that extends from top to bottom for dispensing a liquid from a bottle. The bottom of the base member has a plurality of concentric threaded orifice sections with sequentially decreasing diameters when measured from the bottom to the top, and the top has an attachment ring collar connection, such as a screw thread, snap fit connector, bayonet connector or other similar connector. There is a drinking mechanism selected from the group consisting of a flexible nipple, a spout and a straw that partially engages the aforesaid drinking mechanism attachment accommodation of the base member. The attachment ring collar is adapted to fit over the drinking mechanism and to attach it to the base member. The purpose of the multifunctional bottle cap is to be able to drink directly from the manufacturer's container and to solve the problem of having to transfer liquids to a baby bottle. When comparing this related art to the present invention, we will focus on the disadvantages of the straw design. Since the multifunctional bottle cap attaches to manufacturer containers that already contain liquid a caregiver would find this product costly since they would need to have these prepackaged, single serving containers for every feeding. An issue arises with using unfamiliar containers, which may make the child hesitant to drink from something unfamiliar and this invention is not intended for the child weaning from the nipple to a straw. If the multifunctional bottle cap was used on a daily basis and can fit on a bottle, the plurality of different sized bottle neck diameters in the bottom of the devices causes a sanitary issue, especially with milk and other spoiling liquids since liquids can easily dry in between the many thread if not cleaned thoroughly. Along with this, the way the straw is connected uses a three, separate piece system for the straw to fit into. These are more parts to assemble for use, wash and take for travel as compared to the present invention that is a one-piece cap with a flexible straw. Lastly, the attached cap for the top of the straw is a distraction and should the material that attaches the cap break, the cap would be unsafe since it is small and a possible choking hazard.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,759,071 to Rebecca R. Nye; Daniel J. Nye discloses a Method for Manufacture of Container for Storage and Serving of Breastmilk, which includes a disposable, aseptic package for storage and serving of perishable beverages. The package is generally cylindrical in shape, the top of which is provided with a circular flange about the circumference of the package, such that the filled package can be dropped down into a cylindrical outer holder. The package is held with its top surface near the top of a holder by the flange. A dispensing assembly, such as a nipple assembly or straw assembly, is mounted atop the holder. As the dispensing assembly is mounted on the holder, a penetrating conduit engages the top surface of the package and punctures it, thereby providing a via for the beverage to flow freely from the package to the dispensing assembly, such as through a nipple or through a straw. Although this prior art incorporates a straw, per part 5, second paragraph, the patent states “this straw-type assembly is useful for serving perishable fluids to non-infants, such as nutritional supplements to bedridden patients and elderly persons.” The straw option is clearly stated that it is not for use for infants. Another disadvantage is that the straw option is to be used with the disposable, aseptic package.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,506,754 to Eugenio Segovia, Jr.; Kurt S. Myers discloses a Baby Bottle/Beverage Device, which includes a contemporary beverage dispenser, especially suited as a baby bottle, comprising a solid connector that has an upper portion and a lower portion and a plastic bag connected to the lower portion. The uniqueness of the combination of the connector and bag is that the connector is designed to fit on the lip of a conventional baby bottle with the bag in the bottle or is used without a bottle. When used without a bottle, a compression ring is used to connect a head, such as a nipple, to the beverage dispenser of the present invention. Disadvantages of this related art is that it is to be used with a plastic bag and has a separate insert that replaces the nipple to hold a straw. The use of the plastic bag is not ideal for weaning off of a bottle and the plurality of pieces (not a one-piece unit like the present invention) for assembly to use and wash are not as convenient as the present invention.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,661,546 to Yi Xin Jiang discloses a Switch Cap for Drinking Bottle, which includes a rotatable cap; a sucker received inside the rotatable cap; a cap cover covering the rotatable cap; and a switch portion; wherein the rotatable cap is rotatably connected with a circled round mouth the drinking bottle by the switch portion. This product's purpose is for attachment of a drinking bottle, such as a mineral-water bottle, to attach a nipple to the drinking bottle making it suitable for a baby to drink from. This invention also allows the option of a straw to be inserted into the nipple (section 3 paragraph 1) and claim 1. This also includes a hinged cap that can be pivoted to open or locked closed. While this product is not seemingly for use on a baby bottle or to be used for many feedings per day, it also proves unsafe with the hinged top that can close on fingers or serve as a distraction to an infant who is learning to wean from a bottle. If the hinge was removed it would be a safety hazard leaving sharp points exposed. The invention calls for a straw, which can be made out of hard plastic, to be inserted into the nipple. This set up is undesirable for teaching an infant how to use a straw. Using a harder plastic for the straw would hinder the child or caregiver from being able to manipulate the height of the straw and also would not conform to the comfort of the child's mouth like the present invention's flexible straw. A harder straw would be something the child has to adapt to, where a flexible straw adapts to the child. The plurality of pieces is more to assemble for use and to wash and is not as convenient or sanitary as the present invention, which consists of a one-piece cap.

U.S. Pat. No. 20100127005 to Peter Sanbrook, Sean Edwin Moran, Jon Seddon discloses Inventions Relating to Drinking Vessels, which includes a drinking vessel provided for use in an upright orientation and an upturned orientation. The vessel includes a mouthpiece portion and a conduit portion fluidly connected to the mouthpiece portion. The conduit portion has a lower opening through which fluid may be drawn to the mouthpiece portion when the vessel is oriented in a substantially upright orientation. The vessel further includes an intermediate inlet (fluidly connected to the mouthpiece portion). The intermediate inlet is disposed intermediate the lower opening and the mouthpiece portion. The vessel further includes a flow controller operable to control flow to the mouthpiece portion from the intermediate inlet, according to the orientation of the vessel. A lid for a drinking vessel and a drinking conduit are also claimed. Disadvantages of this related art are that it does not have the ability to attach to baby bottles, unlike the present invention which is made to attach to the neck of a baby bottle. It also includes a molded mouthpiece/spout which does not conform to a baby's mouth, rather something the baby needs to conform to instead, which causes difficulty when weaning from the nipple. The current invention allows the baby to have a flexible straw that conforms to the baby's preferred height and positioning.

In addition to the related art mentioned above, there is a large size of related art for hands free feeding systems where there is a straw that extends from the top of the baby bottle but has a nipple on the end to allow for hands free feeding. U.S. Pat. No. 4,898,290, U.S. Pat. No. 4,994,076, U.S. Pat. No. 5,873,474, U.S. Pat. No. 90,606. These related arts and the like are not indented or advised to be used without a nipple. Further disadvantages are the length of the straw is so long that it would take a long time for the child weaning from the nipple to draw liquid through the straw. The straw is also a strangulation hazard and a distraction for children who play, kink or pull on the cord-like straw. Many of these related arts have the straw attach to the cap that is screwed onto the bottle top, which allows for the straw to become unattached from the cap easily should an infant pull on the cord-like straw. I have not seen these related arts have a cap that prevents leaking and spilling for travel or one that is to be used without the nipple. This shows the importance of the nipple in these related art designs and how they are not to be used without a nipple.

Notwithstanding the related art, the present invention is neither taught nor rendered obvious thereby. While the aforementioned related art may be generally suitable for their intended purposes, they nevertheless leave something to be desired from the standpoints of needing an adaptor for a baby bottle that has minimal pieces for assembly, wash and travel that also includes a sealing disk for travel and a flexible straw that can be adjusted for height and manipulated by the child for a desired position in the mouth when in use. Thus, a need presently exists for a one-piece cap with a flexible straw and sealing disk, which allows the child to easily learn to wean from a nipple by continuing to use their familiar bottle, gives an option to attach to glass baby bottles, benefits the planet with less consumption, saves the caretaker money by allowing them to use their already owned supply of baby bottles for continued use even after the child has weaned from the nipple, allows the caretaker to use their familiar routine of getting liquid ready for the child and is a design that has minimal pieces for assembly, washing and travel.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

Accordingly, several objects and advantages of the present invention of a one-piece cap with flexible straw and sealing disk which improves upon, and overcomes shortcomings of related art are:

(a) to allow the caretaker to continue to use the inventory of bottles they already own, which both saves the caretaker money and benefits our planet by reducing consumption;

(b) to allow the infant to go through the weaning process with a bottle that they are already familiar and comfortable using;

(c) to give the alternative option of glass instead of plastic or stainless steel as the container to hold liquid once the infant is no longer using a nipple;

(d) to allow the caretaker to continue their familiar process of heating and preparing liquid;

(e) to provide an adaptor for a baby bottle that has minimal pieces for assembly, usage, washing and travel.

Further objects and advantages are having a flexible straw that allows the infant to move it around their mouth so the child can achieve their preferred position and is also flexible that the straw can be adjusted in height by either pushing or pulling through the cap. This allows more conformity to the infant instead of the infant having to conform to a solid mouthpiece. The length of the straw gives it the ability to be adjusted and can be pushed into the bottle further so that it rests on the bottom of the bottle and allows the child to draw up all of the liquid. The flexible straw can be bent and contained inside the bottle for a convenient travel system. The present invention prefers a non-valved straw for weaning purposes which makes it easier for the child to learn to drink from the straw since they do not also have to learn to manipulate a valve. The present invention's straw is preferred to replace the sippy cup allowing the child additional health benefits. Also, the present invention can be made in all sizes to fit manufacturer's needs. We mention the standard size for example purposes, however, it can be made to fit any manufacturer's specific bottle neck, etc. This patent also comes with a sealing disk that works as a seal to prevent liquid from spilling during travel or storage. Still further object and advantages will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and drawings.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention, a device for a one-piece baby bottle cap, flexible straw and sealing disk. The one-piece cap having an upper side and lower side, side walls to attach to a baby bottle neck, an inlet which is perpendicular from top to bottom for the flexible straw, and a raised cylindrical ridge which goes all the way around the underside of the cap. A flexible straw having a first end and second end, an outer and inner wall defining a lumen. Also included is a sealing disk having an upper side and lower side, which the lower side has an outward protrusion and gripping mechanism. The sealing disk which is used to store the liquid or to travel with liquid in the bottle and is inserted into the one-piece cap and held in place when the one-piece cap is tightened onto the baby bottle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A illustrates the top view of the one-piece threaded cap with inlet for the flexible straw.

FIG. 1B illustrates the side view of the one-piece cap with inlet for the flexible straw.

FIG. 1C illustrates the view if the one-piece cap was cut in half, showing inside threads in the cavity.

FIG. 2A illustrates the top view of the sealing disk to use for traveling and storage.

FIG. 2B illustrates the bottom view of the sealing disk with the gripping mechanism.

FIG. 2C illustrates a side view of the sealing disk.

FIG. 2D illustrates the side view of the sealing disk when cut in half.

FIG. 3 illustrates the one-piece cap with the flexible straw assembled onto a bottle (the bottle is included in the illustration for demonstration purposes).

FIG. 4 illustrates the one-piece cap, flexible straw and the sealing disk for travel or storage assembled onto a bottle (the bottle is included in the illustration for demonstration purposes).

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the invention, which is illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which the like reference numbers indicate like parts of the invention.

The present invention includes a one-piece cap with a flexible straw and a sealing disk. The foregoing specification sets forth the invention in its preferred form, but the size and structure of the components shown are capable of modification within a range of equivalents without departing from the invention. It will be understood that the materials of the following are not exhaustive, and that other materials may be suitable and may be used in the manufacture of parts, devices, assemblies, and systems having features of the invention. In general, the size and material of the component parts of the one-piece cap with flexible straw and sealing disk can be designed to accommodate various needs. The present invention may incorporate any type of FDA-approved plastics, rubber or glass, or other suitable materials. It is understood that any materials, or combinations thereof, that are suitable for toddler handling and meet FDA standards are contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention. The current dimensions of preferred embodiments have been designed. The foregoing specification sets forth the invention in its preferred, practical forms but the size and structure of the components shown are capable of modification within a range of equivalents without departing from the invention. It will be understood that the invention disclosed and defined in this specification extends to all alternative combinations of two or more of the individual features mentioned or evident from the text or drawings. All of these different combinations constitute various alternative aspects of the invention.

Turning to FIG. 1A, the top view of the one-piece cap 100 with inlet 102 for the flexible straw (located on FIG. 3, 118). It is preferred that the one-piece cap 100 has a generally cylindrical shape, but it could take another shape if necessary to fit a specific manufacturer's needs. The outermost top edge 101 is rounded, but can be in various shapes. The one-piece cap 100 is preferably constructed of FDA approved plastic such as polypropylene or similar plastic material. Many potential acceptable materials will be known to one skilled in the art, and any meets the specifications necessary to be considered food-grade plastic, or other suitable materials. It is understood that any materials, or combinations thereof, that are suitable for infant handling and meet FDA standards are contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention. The preferred size of the one-piece cap 100 is standard size, however, it can be manufactured in different sizes to fit bottles various brands on the market. The bottles sold on the market come in various proprietary sizes; and sizes of bottle neck diameter may vary. For example, Playtex, Advent, and other companies, manufacture bottles with necks that are different in size from the standard size and the interior diameter can be variable depending on the bottle neck. The preferred placement of the inlet 102 for the flexible straw is in the center, however it can be placed in other locations on top. The inlet structure starts with a raised edge 102 is about 10 mm in diameter and starts a change in angle 104 between the outermost rim 102 and the innermost rim 103 creating a conical angle. The interior of the inlet guides the flexible straw. The cylindrical hole 103 about 6 mm in diameter to accommodate the flexible straw (located on FIG. 3, 118), but can be other measurements. The innermost hole 103 applies a small amount of pressure on the flexible straw (located on FIG. 3, 118) to create a seal to avoid spills and to hold the movable straw in place. Also on the one-piece cap 100 there is a smaller hole 105 to act as a vent to relieve any internal pressure when the child is sucking on the straw. I presently prefer the vent, however, it may not have a vent. The cavity or underside of the top of the one-piece cap has a cylindrical raised ridge 106 for the purpose of holding the sealing disk FIG. 2 in place along with further creating a seal for the bottle neck when the sealing disk FIG. 2 is not being used.

FIG. 1B illustrates the side view of the cap showing the protrusion of the uppermost part of the inlet 102 for the flexible straw (located on FIG. 3, 118). The cavity of the one-piece cap shows the raised cylindrical ridge 106 that goes all the way around the cavity. You can also see the thickness of the cap 107. The sides 108 of the one-piece cap may be plain, have a design, or grips around the side for administering the cap onto the bottle neck. The bottom rim 109 of the one-piece cap may be flat or have additional ridging or other shapes.

FIG. 1C illustrates a cut away view that further shows the cavity of the one-piece cap's threaded 110 interior to twist onto the threading of a bottle neck. The preferred method of attachment to a bottle neck is with interior threading, however, the mechanism attachment accommodations may be recesses, bosses, guide holes, tabs, snap fit connector, bayonet connector or other similar means or any other alignment and connection mechanism to what is needed to accommodate a particular manufactures' means of attachment to their brand's bottle neck. FIG. 1C further illustrates the conical angle 104 between the outermost raised rim of the inlet 102 and the innermost descended rim of the inlet 103 for the flexible straw (located on FIG. 3, 118). The conical angle 104 is a significant area of distance of about 5 mm, however it can have other measurements. The conical angle 104 then comes the innermost area 103 to allow a small amount of pressure to be applied to the flexible straw (located in FIG. 3, 118) in order for it to be held in place. The top angle 104 is about 45 degrees, but can be other measurements and allows the straw to move in a variety of positions and angles to suit the child. After the angle 104 comes to a point 103, the angle changes direction 111 to about a 60 degree angle, but can be other measurements, creating a shape similar to an hour glass. This angle 111 entering the cavity can be there or cannot be there.

Turning to FIG. 2A illustrates the sealing disk 112 that is provided as an option to use if wanting to seal the bottle's liquid for storage or travel. This way the bottle can be stored and fully covered and also moved around without the worry of liquid spilling out of the bottle. The disk 112 is inserted into the cavity of the one-piece cap with the negative space created between points 114 and 115 pointing toward the interior of the one-piece cap. There is a negative space in order to compensate for any protrusions that the straw hole FIG. 1C, 111 creates, however, it can have other shapes. The sealing disk 112 is wide enough to fit against the interior raised ridge of FIG. 1A-1C 106 so that the raised ridge of FIG. 1A-1C 106 will sit outside the sealing disk 112 and create a further seal to prevent liquid from coming out of the bottle. The one-piece cap illustrated in FIG. 1A-1C is then twisted onto the bottle neck sealing the bottle so no liquid can come out. The sealing disk is preferably constructed of FDA approved plastic such as polypropylene or similar plastic material. Many potential acceptable materials will be known to one skilled in the art, and any meets the specifications necessary to be considered food-grade plastic, or other suitable materials. It is understood that any materials, or combinations thereof, that are suitable for infant handling and meet FDA standards are contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention. It is preferred to be made out of the same material as the one-piece cap, however, it can be made of different material. The width of the sealing disk edges 113 is about 1 mm, however, measurements can be different width.

FIG. 2B illustrates the underside of the sealing disk. There is a protrusion between points 114 and 115 that fits into the bottle neck. The protrusion is preferred, but does not have to be there. The protrusion can have various measurements, be flat, curved or take on other shapes. There is a plastic bar 116 going across the diameter of the protrusion 115 for the convenience of gripping the sealing disk should it get stuck in the one-piece cap. The plastic bar is preferred, but does not have to be there or can take on various other shapes for gripping.

FIG. 2C illustrates a side view of the sealing disk.

FIG. 2D is a cut away view of the sealing disk showing a negative space 117, the protrusion 115 and the gripping bar 116.

Turning to FIG. 3 this illustrates the one-piece cap 100 with the flexible straw 118 assembled onto a bottle 122. Although the patent only includes the one-piece cap 100, flexible straw 118 and the sealing disk FIG. 4, 112, the bottle 122 is shown for demonstration purposes only. The elongated cylindrical portion, also known as the flexible straw 118 having a first end and a second end, an outer wall and inner wall defining a lumen, the cavity of a tube. The flexible straw is preferably constructed of FDA approved plastic such as polyethylene or similar plastic material. Many potential acceptable materials will be known to one skilled in the art, and any meets the specifications necessary to be considered food-grade plastic, or other suitable materials. It is understood that any materials, or combinations thereof, that are suitable for infant handling and meet FDA standards are contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention. It is preferred to use flexible plastic which is transparent so that one can easily ascertain its cleanliness, the amount of liquid that is in the straw to see if the child is getting liquid into their mouth for training purposes to teach drinking out of a straw, and to flex to the height and distance for the child's comfort. The flexible straw 118, is about 1 mm in thickness 119, however thickness of the flexible straw 118 can vary. It is preferred for the flexible straw 118 to not have a valve in order to make drawing up liquid through the straw 118 easier, however it can have a valve. This patent presently prefers not having a valve in the flexible straw 118, because valves make it harder to have the weaning child learn to draw liquid up from the straw and can delay the weaning process because the child will need to learn how to manipulate the valved straw in order to draw up liquid. However, it is also contemplated that an alternative embodiment of the flexible straw 118 may include a valve to prevent spilling liquid once the child has learned to drink from a straw. The preferred length of the flexible straw 118 is about six and a half inches or longer so that there is enough flexibility to bend the straw 118 toward the child, however the length measurements may be shorter or longer since there are varying bottle sizes such as 4 oz., 6 oz., 8 oz., etc. The flexibility of the straw 118 also allows the end of the straw to follow the contour of the bottom of the bottle 122. The flexible straw 118 is preferred to be long enough that it can touch the bottom of the bottle allowing for it to rest or curve along the bottom of the bottle 123 in order to draw up all of the liquid in the bottle. Another advantage of having the straw 118 flexible is that it fits the natural curve in the mouth and can be moved by the child for their preferred position and drinking comfort. It also adjusts to the child's height and gives the child more ability to become comfortable with the straw since the flexible straw is conforming to the child and the child does not have to conform to a hard straw or plastic mouthpiece. Cleanliness of the straw is not a concern since it is preferred to be transparent to see if it is clean. There are also products on the market that can be purchased that are meant to clean the inside of straws. FIG. 3 also illustrates where the bottle touches the interior of the one-piece cap 100 illustrating that the bottle's neck 120 is interior to the one-piece cap's raised ridge 106 in the cavity for extra sealing purposes. The one-piece cap 100 is fully attached to the bottle's neck 120 showing it tightened leaving no space 121.

FIG. 4 illustrates the one-piece cap 100 with the sealing disk 112. The sealing disk 112 takes up a small amount of interior space when the one-piece cap 100 is assembled onto the bottle neck. Because of this, the amount of the one-piece cap 100 is assembled onto the bottle's neck will be slightly less as shown in 121. You can compare the amount the one-piece cap is able to be tightened when comparing FIG. 3, 121 verses FIG. 4, 121. The security of the one-piece cap 100 is not compromised nor will it leak because it is not only the threads (FIG. 1C, 110) that are holding the one-piece cap 100 in place, but also the pressure against the threads (FIG. 1C, 110) that are created once the one-piece cap 100 is twisted on. Since the sealing disk 112 only ads a small amount of distance on top of the bottle neck 120, the majority of the one-piece cap 100 is able to be twisted on and does not compromise the security of the one-piece cap 100 from staying in place. FIG. 4 also illustrates how the sealing disk 112 sits against the interior of the raised ridge 106 located on the one-piece cap's 100 cavity for further sealing. When the sealing disk 112 is placed into the one-piece cap 100 and is fully tightened the bottle's neck 120 it puts pressure on the sealing disk 112 and it is held into place from the pressure created between the bottle's neck 120 and the one-piece cap 100. Furthermore, the interior raised ridge 106 on the underside of the one-piece cap 100 encircles the sealing disk 112 creating a further seal to prevent any liquid from coming out of the bottle 122. The straw 118 is illustrated here as being bent into the bottle 122 for travel or storage purposes to keep the entire contents together and not have to worry about extra pieces during storage or travel. Also illustrated is the negative space 117 that allows for room to fit the protrusions that the one-piece cap 100 creates. Furthermore, it is illustrated how the gripping bar 116 fits into the bottle's cavity.

Various exemplary embodiments of the invention have been described above, however, it is understood that these various embodiments are exemplary only and should not limit the scope of the invention as recited in the claims below. Various modification of the exemplary embodiments described above can be implemented by those of ordinary skill in the art, without undue experimentation. For example, although the invention has been described in the context of a one-piece cap with flexible straw and sealing disk, it would be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that the invention can be applied to systems comprising of different types of material or design modifications for various feeding needs. These various modifications are contemplated to be within the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the claims below.

Having now described a few embodiments of the invention, and some modifications and variations thereto, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that the foregoing is merely illustrative and not limiting, having been presented by the way of example only. Numerous modifications and other embodiments are within the scope of one of ordinary skill in the art and are contemplated as falling within the scope of the invention as limited only by the appended claims and equivalents thereto.