Title:
Thumb-sucking deterrent device and method of use
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A thumb-sucking deterrent device which is characterized in a first preferred embodiment by a typically plastic base or plate which is flexible or pre-formed to conform to the curvature of a thumbnail or fingernail and at least one protuberance projecting from the opposite surface of the plate, such that the plate can be glued to a child's thumbnail or fingernail and thus utilized to deter thumb and finger-sucking behavior. A method of deterring thumb-sucking and finger-sucking which includes the steps of providing a flexible or pre-formed plate which substantially conforms to the curvature of the thumbnail or fingernail of a child, providing at least one upward-standing protuberance on the opposite surface of the plate and gluing the plate to the thumbnail or fingernail, wherein the protuberance contacts the tongue when the child inserts the thumb or the finger and the thumb-sucking deterrent device inside the mouth.



Inventors:
Heath, William T. (Rayville, LA, US)
Application Number:
11/213379
Publication Date:
03/02/2006
Filing Date:
08/29/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45D29/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, CAMTU TRAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John M. Harrison (Shreveport, LA, US)
Claims:
Having described my invention with the particularity set forth above, what is claimed is:

1. A digit-sucking deterrent device comprising a plate; at least one projection extending from said plate; and glue disposed between said plate and a selected area of the digit for removably securing said plate to the digit.

2. The digit-sucking deterrent device of claim 1 wherein said plate is flexible for substantially conforming to the curvature of the selected area of the digit.

3. The digit-sucking deterrent device of claim 1 wherein said plate is curved for substantially conforming to the curvature of the selected area of the digit.

4. The digit-sucking deterrent device of claim 1 wherein said at least one projection comprises a plurality of fingers extending from said plate in a selected finger pattern.

5. The digit-sucking deterrent device of claim 2 wherein said at least one projection comprises a plurality of fingers extending from said plate in a selected finger pattern.

6. The digit-sucking deterrent device of claim 3 wherein said at least one finger comprises a plurality of fingers extending from said plate in a selected finger pattern.

7. The digit-sucking deterrent device of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of said plate is textured for receiving said glue and adhering said plate to the selected area of the digit.

8. The digit-sucking deterrent device of claim 1 wherein said at least one projection comprises at least one substantially cylindrical finger having a tapered projecting end.

9. The digit-sucking deterrent device of claim 8 wherein said plate is curved for substantially conforming to the curvature of the selected area of the digit.

10. The digit-sucking deterrent device of claim 8 wherein said at least one substantially cylindrical finger comprises a plurality of substantially cylindrical fingers arranged in a selected pattern on said plate and said selected area of the digit is the digitnail.

11. The digit-sucking deterrent device of claim 10 wherein said plate is curved and at least a portion of said plate is textured for substantially conforming to the curvature of the digitnail and removably adhering to the digitnail.

12. A thumb-sucking deterrent device comprising a plate; a concave surface provided on said plate for substantially conforming to the curvature of the thumbnail of a thumb; at least one protuberance extending from said plate; and glue disposed between at least a portion of said concave surface of said plate and the thumbnail for removably securing said plate to the thumbnail.

13. The thumb-sucking deterrent device of claim 12 comprising a textured area provided in at least a portion of said concave surface of said plate for receiving said glue and enhancing the adhesion of said glue to said portion of said concave surface of said plate.

14. The thumb-sucking deterrent device of claim 12 wherein said at least one protuberance comprises a plurality of fingers extending from said plate in a selected pattern.

15. The thumb-sucking deterrent device of claim 14 wherein at least one of said fingers comprises a cylindrical finger having a rounded projecting end and comprising a textured area provided in at least a portion of said concave surface of said plate for receiving said glue and enhancing adhesion of said glue to said portion of said concave surface of said plate.

16. The thumb-sucking deterrent device of claim 15 wherein said plate and said fingers are constructed in one piece.

17. A method of deterring thumb-sucking comprising the steps of: sizing a plate to fit on a selected area of a thumb; providing at least one protuberance on the plate; and gluing the plate to the selected area of the thumb with the protuberance projecting outwardly of the thumb to deter sucking of the thumb.

18. The method according to claim 17 comprising the step of texturing at least a portion of the plate to receive the glue and enhance said gluing of the plate to the thumbnail of the thumb.

19. A method of deterring thumb-sucking, comprising the steps of: providing a plate having a concave surface for fitting on the thumbnail of a thumb; providing at least one projection on the plate; and gluing the concave surface of the plate to the thumbnail with the projection projecting outwardly of the thumbnail to deter sucking of the thumb.

20. The method according to claim 19 comprising the step of texturing at least a portion of the concave surface of the plate for receiving the glue and enhancing said gluing of the concave surface of the plate to the thumbnail.

21. A method of deterring thumb-sucking comprising the steps of: providing a flexible plate which is sized and shaped to fit on the thumbnail of a thumb; providing a plurality of fingers extending from one side of the flexible plate in a selected pattern; and gluing the opposite side of the flexible plate from said one side to the thumbnail to deter sucking of the thumb.

22. The method according to claim 21 comprising the step of texturing at least a portion of the opposite side of the flexible plate to receive the glue and enhance said gluing of the opposite side of the flexible plate to the thumbnail.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of and incorporates by reference prior filed copending U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/606,538, Filed Sep. 2, 2004.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to devices for deterring or preventing thumb and finger-sucking, especially in children and more particularly, to a thumb-sucking deterrent device and method of use which is characterized by a flexible or pre-formed, typically curved plate adapted for gluing on the thumb or finger and the thumbnail or fingernail in particular, with at least one upward-standing protuberance such as a finger or wafer provided thereon for deterring sucking of the thumb or finger. In a first preferred embodiment the flexible or curved plate is constructed of a material such as plastic and includes multiple, upward-standing fingers of selected cross-sectional configuration, height and shape, arranged in a desired position and pattern on the top, typically convex surface of the plate, for contacting the tongue in a child's mouth. A bottom grid or textured surface is preferably provided on the bottom, typically concave side of the plate for receiving a supply of glue and temporarily securing the plate to the child's thumbnail or fingernail. In another embodiment the plate is fitted with one or more wafers of selected thickness, spacing and height extending upwardly from the top surface of the plate for engaging the tongue or roof palate and thereby deterring sucking of the thumb or finger. While an ethyl cyanoacrylate-base or “Super Glue” (trademark) product is preferred for temporarily gluing the concave, preferably textured or grid portion of the plate to the thumbnail or fingernail, alternative, non-toxic glues known to those skilled in the art can be utilized, all of which must be capable of being dissolved in a suitable solvent to remove the plate from the nail at desirable times. The ethyl cyanoacrylate-base glue is easily removed from the nail by application of a solvent such as acetone or fingernail polish remover.

In yet another preferred embodiment of the invention, multiple, upward-standing fingers extend from the top surface of the plate and are each characterized by a cylindrically-shaped base that tapers or is rounded at the top to define a rounded or flat finger tip designed to engage the tongue or roof palate of a child and inhibit thumb and finger-sucking. A primary advantage of the thumb-sucking deterrent device of this invention is gluing of the device to the thumb or finger and the thumbnail or fingernail in particular, thereby eliminating the necessity for using ties, straps or other attachment devices for removably securing the thumb-sucking deterrent device to the thumb or finger.

The invention includes a method of deterring thumb and finger-sucking, especially in children, which method includes the steps of providing a flexible or pre-formed, typically curved plate constructed of a suitable non-toxic material such as plastic, ceramic or the like and capable of defining or having a curvature substantially matching the curvature of the thumb or finger and the thumbnail or fingernail in particular; providing a typically textured concave surface or grid on all or a portion of the bottom plate curvature for receiving a suitable glue such as an ethyl cyanoacrylate-base glue, for removably securing the plate to the nail; and providing at least one, and preferably several protuberances or projections of selected size, shape and length, such as fingers and/or wafers, extending from the upper, typically convex surface of the plate, for engaging the tongue or roof palate of the child and deterring thumb and finger-sucking.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood by reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a first preferred embodiment of the thumb-sucking deterrent device of this invention, more particularly illustrating a curved plate glued to the thumbnail of a thumb (illustrated in phantom) and fitted with multiple, upward-standing fingers for inhibiting sucking of the thumb;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the thumb-sucking deterrent device illustrated in FIG. 1, inserted with the thumb in the mouth of a child, more particularly illustrating the upward-standing fingers contacting the tongue in the child's mouth;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the thumb-sucking deterrent device illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 4 is a top view of the thumb-sucking deterrent device illustrated in FIGS. 1-3;

FIG. 5 is a bottom view of the thumb-sucking deterrent device illustrated in FIG. 4, more particularly illustrating a typical grid or texture in the bottom concave plate surface for application of an ethyl cyanoacrylate-base or alternative glue, typically to the perimeter of the grid or textured surface of the plate element;

FIG. 6 is a top view of an alternative embodiment of the thumb-sucking deterrent device of this invention wherein multiple fingers are upward-standing in a substantial circular pattern from the typically convex top surface of the curved plate element;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another preferred embodiment of the invention wherein a single finger is upward-standing from the convex upper surface of the curved plate element of the thumb-sucking deterrent device; and

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of still another preferred embodiment of the invention wherein multiple wafers are upward-standing from the convex top surface of the curved plate element of the thumb-sucking deterrent device, with the wafers disposed in spaced-apart relationship with respect to each other for engaging the tongue of a child during thumb-sucking, as illustrated in FIG. 2 of the drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring initially to FIGS. 1-5 of the drawings in a first preferred embodiment, a multiple finger device of the thumb-sucking deterrent device of this invention is generally illustrated by reference numeral 1. The multiple finger device 1 is typically characterized by a flexible or pre-curved plate 2, which is typically constructed of plastic or other non-toxic, relatively resilient material and typically has, or is shaped to define, a convex top plate surface 3 and a concave bottom plate grid or textured surface 4, as illustrated in FIG. 5 of the drawings. The plate edge 5 of the plate 2 can be of any desired thickness to facilitate bending or pre-curve molding of the plate 2, but is preferably relatively thin to facilitate a desired degree of flexibility and define a small, yet easily applied and implemented multiple finger device 1. Multiple fingers 6 of selected length and cross-sectional configuration are upward-standing from the typically convex top plate surface 3 in a desired spacing and pattern and may typically be glued in place, or the fingers 6 may be constructed of ceramic or other suitable material, or injection-molded of plastic in place with the plate 2, according to the knowledge of those skilled in the art. In a most preferred embodiment the finger base 7 of each of the fingers 6 extends upwardly from the top plate surface 3 and tapers or is rounded near the top at a tapered or rounded shoulder 8, to define a rounded or flat finger tip 9. The rounded or flat finger tip 9 of the finger base 7 is designed to contact and engage the tongue 27 in the mouth 25, (both illustrated in phantom in FIG. 2), when the thumb 21, also illustrated in phantom in FIG. 2, is inserted in the mouth 25 past the lips 26. This position of the thumb 21 locates the thumbnail 22 of the first thumb digit 23 and the applied multiple finger device 1 adjacent to the tongue 27, in typical thumb-sucking configuration.

Referring again to FIG. 5 of the drawings, in another preferred embodiment of the invention at least a portion of the bottom plate grid or textured surface 4 is preferably rough, in order to receive a quantity of glue 19 such as an ethyl cyanoacrylate-base glue, and facilitate temporarily gluing the curved concave bottom plate grid or textured surface 4 to the thumbnail 22. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that sufficient glue 19 should be applied to the bottom plate grid or textured surface 4 or to the thumbnail 22 to facilitate securely attaching the flexible or pre-curved plate 2 to the thumbnail 22 at the first thumb digit 23 of the thumb 21, as illustrated in FIG. 2, in order to prevent inadvertent or unauthorized removal of the multiple finger device 1 from the thumbnail 22. Accordingly, it might in some cases be necessary to apply the glue 19 to the entire bottom plate grid or textured surface 4, depending upon the aggressiveness of the child to the thumbnail of which the multiple finger device 1 is attached.

Referring now to FIG. 6 of the drawings, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that a selected number of the fingers 6 can be fixed to, or molded or cast integrally with the top plate surface 3 of the plate 2 in any desired configuration. For example, referring again to FIG. 3 of the drawings, the upward-standing fingers 6 are arranged in a substantially triangular configuration, while in FIG. 6 the fingers 6 are arranged in a more circular configuration. The specific arrangement, configuration, pattern, number, size and shape of the fingers 6 on the top plate surface 3 of the plate 2 is therefore variable and may be selected according to the need, age and size of the particular child in question.

Referring to FIG. 7 of the drawings, in yet another preferred embodiment of the invention a single finger device 11 includes a single finger 6 extending upwardly from the typically convex top plate surface 3 of the plate 2, where it may either be glued in place or injection-molded or cast or otherwise fabricated in one piece with the plate 2, as desired. In a most preferred embodiment of the invention the finger 6 is characterized by a cylindrically-shaped finger base 7 that tapers or is rounded at the top thereof to define a tapered or rounded shoulder 8, which converges to end in a curved or flat fingertip 9, as in the case of the multiple fingers 6 illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 of the drawings. However, as heretofore described, the finger 6 illustrated in FIG. 7 of the drawings can be sized and shaped according to the need, age and size of the child in question.

In yet another preferred embodiment of the invention a multiple wafer device 13 is illustrated in FIG. 8 and includes multiple wafers 14, which are spaced-apart and upward-standing from the typically convex top plate surface 3 of a flexible or pre-curved plate 2. In a most preferred embodiment the wafers 14 are each characterized by oppositely-disposed, curved wafer shoulders 17 that extend upwardly from the wafer bottom 15 to typically define a flat wafer top 16 that engages the tongue 27 inside a child's mouth 25 and inhibits thumb-sucking, in the same manner as the fingers 6 illustrated in FIG. 2.

It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the thumb-sucking deterrent and method of this invention as detailed in the drawings with respect to the thumb of a child, is equally applicable to one or more of the child's fingers for the same purpose. Furthermore, the device is characterized in a most preferred embodiment by an easily constructed and implemented flat or pre-curved plate 2 of selected size, which may be injection-molded or cast from such materials as plastic or other non-toxic material, including stainless steel, ceramic and the like, and is fitted with at least one upward-standing finger 6 and/or wafer 14 or the equivalent thereof or both. Such a device is easily glued to the thumbnail or fingernail(s) of a child to facilitate engagement of the upward-standing member or members with the tongue 27 or even the hard upper palate 24 (FIG. 2) of the child's mouth, depending upon the position of the device on the thumb 21 or the thumbnail 22, or on one or more fingers, to deter or prevent thumb and finger-sucking. Alternatively, the plate 2 may be constructed of a thin, flexible plastic material of selected shape and size which can be easily conformed to the child's thumb or thumbnail and glued in place. Accordingly, in a first preferred embodiment the plate 2 is either pre-shaped or flexed to substantially conform to the curvature of the thumbnail 22 on the first thumb digit 23 of a child's thumb 21, where it may be glued in place. Furthermore, a typical glue 19 for application to the bottom plate grid or textured surface 4 as illustrated in FIG. 5 of the drawings, is ethyl cyanoacrylate-base glue which can be dissolved to remove the device from the thumb or finger by application of a suitable solvent such as acetone or fingernail polish remover, as described above. Alternatively, other glues can be utilized to temporarily secure the device on the thumb or finger, so long as these glues are not toxic and are easily dissolved by a suitable solvent when it is desired to remove the thumb-sucking deterrent device from the thumbnail or fingernail of the child.

It will also be appreciated that the length and shape of the respective upward-standing fingers 6 may vary, with various cross-sectional configurations, including polygons such as triangles, squares, pentagons and the like, as well as the illustrated cylinders, used in the devices, in non-exclusive particular. Moreover, bitter tasting substances may be added to the finger 6, as desired.

While the preferred embodiments of the invention have been described above, it will be recognized and understood that various modifications may be made in the invention and the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications which may fall within the spirit and scope of the invention.