Title:
Transitional baby crib bumper
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A transitional baby crib bumper for use in a baby crib comprises a plurality of low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections for encircling the interior perimeter of a baby crib. Each of the bumper sections is distinct and separable, and includes an outer cover and a compressible inner cushioning material for supporting a child. A plurality of fabric ties affixed to each bumper section are included for removably securing each of the bumper sections to the baby crib. Finally, each of the low-profile bumper sections is compressible under the body weight of a child for preventing said child from falling out of the baby crib.



Inventors:
Komisar, Victoria (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/961860
Publication Date:
04/13/2006
Filing Date:
10/07/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/946
International Classes:
A47D15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LIU, JONATHAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John S. Christopher, Esq. (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A transitional baby crib bumper for use in a baby crib comprising: a plurality of low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections for encircling the interior perimeter of a baby crib, each of said bumper sections being distinct and separable, and including an outer cover and a compressible inner cushioning material for supporting a child; a plurality of fabric ties affixed to each bumper section for removably securing each of said bumper sections to said baby crib; and wherein each of said low-profile bumper sections is compressible under the body weight of said child for preventing said child from falling out of said baby crib.

2. The transitional baby crib bumper of claim 1 wherein each of said bumper sections is two inches in diameter.

3. The transitional baby crib bumper of claim 1 wherein said outer cover is comprised of cotton.

4. The transitional baby crib bumper of claim 1 wherein said compressible inner cushioning material is comprised of polyester.

5. A transitional baby crib bumper for use in a baby crib comprising: a plurality of low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections for encircling the interior perimeter of a baby crib, each of said bumper sections being distinct and separable, and including an outer cotton cover and a compressible polyester inner cushioning material for supporting a child; a plurality of fabric ties affixed to each bumper section for removably securing each of said bumper sections to said baby crib; and wherein each of said low-profile bumper sections is compressible under the body weight of said child for preventing said child from falling out of said baby crib.

6. The transitional baby crib bumper of claim 5 wherein each of said bumper sections is two inches in diameter.

7. A transitional baby crib bumper for use in a baby crib comprising: a plurality of low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections for encircling the interior perimeter of a baby crib, each of said bumper sections being continuously connected, and including an outer cover and a compressible inner cushioning material for supporting a child; a plurality of fabric ties affixed to each bumper section for removably securing each of said bumper sections to said baby crib; and wherein each of said low-profile bumper sections is compressible under the body weight of said child for preventing said child from falling out of said baby crib.

8. The transitional baby crib bumper of claim 7 wherein each of said bumper sections is two inches in diameter.

9. The transitional baby crib bumper of claim 7 wherein said outer cover is comprised of cotton.

10. The transitional baby crib bumper of claim 7 wherein said compressible inner cushioning material is comprised of polyester.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The present invention relates to baby crib bumpers. More specifically, the present invention relates to methods and apparatus for a transitional baby crib bumper having a low profile, tubular-shaped construction for utilization within a conventional baby crib for preventing an ambulatory child in the six month-to-two year age range from falling out of the baby crib while simultaneously providing protection and comfort to the child.

2. Background Art

After birth, babies are typically placed in a baby crib to sleep and as they get older, to restrain their movements. A conventional baby crib typically is a rectangular structure comprising a headboard, a footboard, a pair of parallel sideboards and a crib base or floor as is known in the art. The crib can be fashioned from wood or metal with the vertical components being fashioned in the form of wood slats or metal bars. In some models, the crib base can be lowered or raised by utilizing a built-in spring mechanism provided for that purpose. As the baby gets older and begins to pull herself up into a standing position, the crib base can be lowered to ensure that the baby is surrounded by the structure.

To ensure that the baby is maintained in a protected and comfortable environment in the baby crib, the crib base or floor is covered with a mattress and/or one or more mattress pads and the inside of the four vertical components (i.e., headboard, footboard, and two parallel sideboards) is surrounded with one or more “crib bumpers”. Crib bumpers are cushioned devices used to protect the child from injury when asleep or in an active mode as when the child bumps her head and/or limbs against the crib. The bumpers also provide a comfortable environment for the child during rest and sleep and typically exhibit a bright and cheerful appearance to enhance the esthetics of the baby crib.

Conventional crib bumpers typically are fashioned from cotton fabric, silk, velvet, velveteen, linen, chenille, or polyester and have a removable polyester (pillow-like) filler to facilitate laundering. Further, many prior art bumpers are typically rectangular in shape having height and width dimensions of, for example, (8″×12″) with varying thickness. Conventional bumpers can be comprised of one continuous cushioned piece that folds upon itself and then is unfolded when placed within the inner diameter of the baby crib, or in the alternative, crib bumpers can be comprised of separate unit pieces that are specifically fabricated to fit against the headboard, footboard, and the two sideboards of the baby crib. Each section of the crib bumper is provided with material ties, leads or strings used to physically attach that section of the bumper to the slats comprising the vertical components of the baby crib. Conventional prior art baby crib bumpers can be purchased in any baby store and are available in a wide selection of bumper sets and in various price ranges. Typically, the outer cover of the conventional crib bumpers can be removed for laundering in a washer/dryer or via dry cleaning.

Conventional crib bumpers serve the protective, comfort and esthetic function when the baby is a new born. However, once the baby ages to the range of four months-to-one year, the child develops the ability to pull herself upward so that she can stand-up. Once the child learns to pull herself up into a standing position, the child can then learn to step up onto the conventional crib bumper. Since prior art conventional crib bumpers tend to be large, the child can raise herself sufficiently high enough to fall out of the baby crib and be injured. This is the case even though the weight of the child partially compresses the conventional crib bumper. Because of this potential hazard to the health and safety of the child, conventional prior art crib bumpers and subsequently the crib mattress must be removed from the baby crib once the child reaches the age in which she is able pull herself upright. Thereafter, the baby crib base or floor must be lowered as the child ages. Lowering the baby crib base or floor can be accomplished by the spring mechanism associated with the prior art baby cribs.

With the removal of the conventional crib bumpers and crib mattress, the baby crib is left bare and the child has no protection against injury within the crib and the baby comfort factor is substantially reduced. Thus, no cushioning apparatus remains within the baby crib for the baby to rest her head and limbs upon. Consequently, the conventional crib bumpers have a short use cycle notwithstanding the high price paid for them to obtain the style, color and esthetics associated therewith.

Crib bumpers for use in conventional baby cribs have been known in the past. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,800,600 issued to Baum teaches a decorative crib bumper comprising a clown having stuffed legs that are attached to a bed sheet and surround three of the four interior sides of a crib. Baum teaches that the arms of the crib bumper are attached to the crib sides at a level that is higher than the legs to provide added protection to the baby's head. U.S. Pat. No. 4,873,734 and U.S. Pat. No. 4,754,509, both to Pollard, disclose a bumper sheet and a retainer sheet, respectively, having soft yet form retaining inserts to define a crib bumper area, while U.S. Pat. No. 4,670,923 to Gabriel et al. discloses transparent inflatable crib bumper pads. U.S. Pat. No. D353,494 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,351,348, both to Beger, disclose a cushioned support and a rest pad, respectively, for an infant, while U.S. Pat. No. 5,044,025 to Hunsinger et al. teaches a safety device for beds with side rails. The following U.S. patents disclose a protective bumper pad, device or apparatus for use in a baby crib: U.S. Pat. No. 3,018,492 to Rosen; U.S. Pat. No. 3,619,824 to Doyle; U.S. Pat. No. 3,877,090 to Schutz; U.S. Pat. No. 5,241,718 to Pope; U.S. Pat. No. 5,410,765 to Dicken; U.S. Pat. No. 6,564,403 to Titus; No. D442,811 to Delaplaine; Des. No. 365,957 to Ferrari; and Publication #2001/0000362 to Wagner et al. U.S. Pat. No. 4,788,726 discloses a portable infant protective pad, while U.S. Pat. No. 4,872,228 to Bishop discloses a bed guard. U.S. Pat. No. 6,393,639 to Ohsner discloses an inflatable baby cushioning apparatus, while Des. No. 365,486 to Perry discloses a combined play pen and bumper guard.

Notwithstanding, the prior art baby crib bumpers fail to teach a low profile design which is tubular-shaped, where the crib bumper is comprised of individual removable, cotton-polyester sectional components each approximately 2″ in diameter, which are employed to encircle the inside of the baby crib, and attaches to the crib construction with fabric ties, exhibits a compressive construction for preventing a child from raising herself sufficiently high to fall out of the baby crib, can remain inside the baby crib to provide a protective and comfortable environment for a child between the ages of six months-and-two years, and provides a cheerful, colorful and esthetic appearance.

Thus, there is a need in the art for a transitional baby crib bumper having a low profile design which is tubular-shaped, where the crib bumper is comprised of individual removable, cotton-polyester sectional components each approximately 2″ in diameter, which are employed to encircle the inside of the baby crib, and attaches to the crib construction with fabric ties, exhibits a compressive construction for preventing a child from raising herself sufficiently high to fall out of the baby crib, can remain inside the baby crib to provide a protective and comfortable environment for a child between the ages of six months-and-two years, and provides a cheerful, colorful and esthetic appearance.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

Briefly, and in general terms, the present invention provides a new and improved transitional baby crib bumper for use with an ambulatory child in the age range of six months-to-two years that is still partially confined to a baby crib. This is the transitional period when the child learns to pull herself upright and then to walk. The transitional baby crib bumper is designed to prevent an ambulatory child from climbing up onto a large convention baby crib bumper and falling out of the baby crib and being injured. Likewise, the transitional baby crib bumper continues to provide protection and comfort to the child during active and rest periods alike.

In general, the transitional baby crib bumper comprises a plurality of low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections employed for encircling the interior perimeter of a baby crib. In the present invention, the term “low-profile” bumper section is defined as a bumper section of the transitional baby crib bumper each having a compressible, tubular-shaped or cylindrical-shaped construction with approximately a 2″ diameter and being 24″-to-25″ in length in the narrow dimension of the conventional baby crib, or being 48″ in length in the long dimension of the conventional baby crib. In a preferred embodiment, each of the bumper sections is distinct and separable from one another, i.e., an individual component, but are connected to each adjacent bumper section and to the baby crib via a plurality of fabric ties. Each bumper section is typically comprised of a cotton cover outer fabric which surrounds a compressible polyester inner cushioning material to facilitate laundering. In a design variation, each of the bumper sections is continuously connected, i.e., not distinct and separable, so that the bumper sections form a complete loop.

The low-profile design of each of the transitional baby crib bumpers is much smaller than conventional baby crib bumpers. Thus, when a child in the age range of six months-to-two years reaches the ambulatory phase of growth, i.e., she learns to pull herself up into a standing position and take steps, her body weight compresses the low-profile, transitional baby crib bumper of the present invention. Consequently, the child cannot raise herself sufficiently high to fall out of the baby crib, thus avoiding injury. Thus, the low-profile transitional baby crib bumpers do not have to be removed from the baby crib once the child becomes ambulatory. The transitional baby crib bumpers can remain within the crib during this period to provide protection to the child, and cushioning and comfort for the child to rest her head and limbs against.

In a preferred embodiment, the transitional baby crib bumper for use in a baby crib in its most fundamental form comprises a plurality of low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections for encircling the interior perimeter of a baby crib. Each of the bumper sections is distinct and separable, and includes an outer cover and a compressible inner cushioning material for supporting a child. A plurality of fabric ties affixed to each bumper section are included for removably securing each of the bumper sections to the baby crib. Finally, each of the low-profile bumper sections is compressible under the body weight of said child for preventing said child from falling out of the baby crib.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate the invention, by way of example.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a conventional baby crib of the prior art showing a mattress positioned within the interior of the baby crib.

FIG. 2 is a top perspective view of the conventional baby crib of FIG. 1 showing a conventional baby crib bumper of the prior art positioned on the mattress and attached to the baby crib.

FIG. 3 is a top perspective view of an inventive transitional baby crib bumper positioned on a mattress within a conventional baby crib, the transitional baby crib bumper being comprised of separate sections each attached to the baby crib.

FIG. 4 is a side perspective view of the inventive transitional baby crib bumper of FIG. 3 showing the separate sections of the transitional baby crib bumper each attached to the baby crib.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the transitional baby crib bumper showing the positioning of the separate sections of the transitional baby crib bumper and the tie lines utilized for attachment to the baby crib.

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the transitional baby crib bumper illustrating the construction of a continuous transitional baby crib bumper which surrounds the circumference of the mattress positioned within the baby crib and the tie lines utilized for attachment to the crib.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the transitional baby crib bumper taken along the line 7-7 on FIG. 5 showing an outer cover material and an inner cushioning material intended to provide cushioning to a baby.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a transitional baby crib bumper 100 having a low profile, tubular-shaped construction for utilization within a conventional baby crib 102 for preventing an ambulatory child (not shown) in the six month-to-two year age range from falling out of the baby crib 102 while simultaneously providing continuous protection and comfort to the child as shown in FIGS. 3-7.

The conventional baby crib 102 is clearly shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The conventional baby crib 102 serves as the situs where newborns sleep and then as they reach the age where they begin to move around, i.e., from four months-to-one year, to restrain their movements. The conventional baby crib 102 typically comprises a frame 104 which is rectangular in shape comprising a headboard 106, a footboard 108, a pair of sideboards 110 and 112, respectively, and a crib base or floor 114 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The baby crib 102 can be fashioned from wood, metal or other suitable material. The sideboards 110 and 112 of the baby crib 102 each include a plurality of vertical components 116 which are typically comprised of wood slats or metal bars best shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The baby crib 102 also includes a plurality of supporting legs 118 attached to the frame 104 for enabling the structure to stand upright as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The crib base or floor 114 of the conventional baby crib 102 may include a built-in spring mechanism (not shown) for enabling the crib base 114 to be raised or lowered to compensate for the height of the child (not shown) as she ages. To ensure that the child (not shown) is within a protected and comfortable environment within the conventional baby crib 102, the crib base or floor 114 is covered with a conventional mattress 120 and/or one or more mattress pads as is shown in FIG. 2. A typical mattress 120 employed for use in a conventional baby crib 102 is approximately 5″ deep (best shown in FIG. 4) and is available at most retail establishments carrying baby supplies.

In additional to the conventional baby crib mattress 120, the inside vertical surfaces of the crib headboard 106, footboard 108, and sideboards 110 and 112 can be covered with one or more conventional crib bumpers 122 as is clearly shown in FIG. 2. Conventional crib bumpers 122 are cushioned devices employed within the baby crib 102 to protect an infant or small child (not shown) from injury when in an active mode and also provide a comfortable environment for the child (not shown) during rest and sleep periods. Conventional crib bumpers 122 are typically rectangular in shape and can have large height and width dimensions, such as (8″×12″), with varying thicknesses. Each section of the conventional crib bumper 122 is attached to one or more of the vertical components 116 of the sideboards 110 and 112 of the baby crib 102 to hold the large conventional crib bumpers 122 in place.

As is shown in FIG. 2, conventional crib bumpers 122 are large and present a climbing challenge to a child who has begun to walk and climb (i.e., within the age range of from four months-to-one year). Once the child learns to pull herself into a standing position, she subsequently will begin to climb the large conventional crib bumpers 122 located within the baby crib 102. The conventional crib bumpers 122 are large and will support the weight of a small child without drastically compressing the structure of the crib bumper 122. Consequently, the child will eventually be able to raise herself sufficiently high on a conventional crib bumper 122 to fall against the crib sideboards 110 and 112, or in the alternatively, completely out of the baby crib 102 resulting in serious injury. As a result, the conventional crib bumpers 122 must be removed from the baby crib 102 once the child reaches a certain age and size.

Returning now to the description of the present invention, the transitional baby crib bumper 100 clearly shown in FIGS. 3-7 is designed to prevent an ambulatory child (not shown) from climbing up onto a large conventional crib bumper 122 and falling out of the baby crib 102 and being injured. Likewise, the transitional baby crib bumper 100 continues to provide support, protection and comfort to the child (not shown) during active and rest periods alike. A preferred embodiment of the transitional baby crib bumper 100 is clearly shown in FIGS. 3-5 and 7 and is comprised of a plurality of low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections 130 employed for encircling the interior perimeter 132 (shown best in FIG. 1) of the conventional baby crib 102 for supporting a child (not shown). The inventive transitional baby crib bumper 100 is typically employed for use with an ambulatory child within the age range of six months-to-two years that is still partially confined to the conventional baby crib 102. This is the transitional time period during which the child develops the ability to pull herself up into a standing position and to climb onto structures such as furniture. The inventive transitional baby crib bumper 100 is “low-profile” in design. In the present invention, the term “low-profile” bumper section 130 is defined as a bumper section of the transitional baby crib bumper 100 each having a compressible, tubular-shaped or cylindrical-shaped construction with approximately a 2″ diameter and (a) being 24″-to-25″ in length in the narrow dimension of the conventional baby crib 102, i.e., the length of the crib headboard 106 and the crib footboard 108, or (b) being 48″ in length in the long dimension of a conventional baby crib 102, i.e., the length of the crib sideboards 110 and 112.

In the preferred embodiment, each of the low-profile, bumper sections 130 is distinct and separable from one another, i.e., an individual component as shown in FIG. 5. Each of the inventive low-profile, bumper sections 130 is typically comprised of an outer fabric material 134, typically cotton, although other suitable materials such as, for example, silk, velvet, velveteen, linen, chenille or polyester can be utilized. Additionally, the bumper sections 130 typically include a compressible inner filler material 136 comprised of polyester. The outer fabric material 134 and the compressible inner filler material 136 are clearly shown in FIG. 7 which is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 7-7 of one of the low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections 130 of FIG. 5. The selection of these two materials, i.e., cotton outer fabric material 134 and the compressible polyester inner filler material 136, facilitates laundering where dry cleaning is suggested and encouraged. The diameter of each of the low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections 130 is approximately two inches and are typically (24″-to-25″) in length for those bumper sections 130 that fit along the headboard 106 and the footboard 108, and (48″) in length for those bumper sections 130 that fit along the pair of sideboards 110 and 112 as is clearly shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

Each of the distinct and separable, low-profile, bumper sections 130 shown in FIG. 5 is connected to each adjacent bumper section 130 and to the frame 104 (shown in FIG. 4) by a plurality of fabric ties 138 typically comprised of cotton. The fabric ties 138 are clearly shown in FIG. 5 extending from each of the low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections 130. The fabric ties 138 are shown in FIG. 5 extending from each of a plurality of terminal ends 140 of each of the bumper sections 130, and from a point 142 midway between the terminal ends 140 of the bumper sections 130 that are parallel to the pair of crib sideboards 110 and 112. Further, the fabric ties 138 are shown attached to the frame 104 and to the vertical components 116 of the crib sideboards 110 and 112 in FIG. 4. The fabric ties 138 are attached to the corresponding vertical components 116 and the frame 104 of the baby crib 102 so that the low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections 130 surround the interior perimeter 132 of the conventional baby crib 102 as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

In the preferred embodiment, each of the low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections 130 can alternately be continuously connected to the adjacent bumper sections 130 as is clearly shown in FIG. 6. In this manner, the continuously connected low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections 130 form a transitional baby crib bumper 100 shaped as a complete loop. In the transitional baby crib bumper 100 presented in FIG. 6, each of the low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections 130 forms a corner 146 with each adjacent low-profile, bumper section 130. Consequently, the transitional baby crib bumper 100 of FIG. 6 includes four corners 146 where each corner 146 comprises the outer fabric material 134 and the compressible inner filler material 136 as illustrated in FIG. 7. Each of the corners 146 of the low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections 130 are sewn and assembled to form corner seams 148 such that they are flexible and readily adapt to fitting along the interior perimeter 132 (shown best in FIG. 1) of the conventional baby crib 102.

Each of the low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections 130 of the transitional baby crib bumper 100 disclosed in FIG. 6 also includes a plurality of fabric ties 138 for connecting each bumper section 130 to the conventional baby crib 102. The plurality of fabric ties 138 which are typically comprised of cotton are clearly shown in FIG. 6 extending from each of the low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections 130 at the corners 146 and from the point 142 midway along the bumper sections 130 that are parallel to the pair of crib sideboards 110 and 112. Further, the fabric ties 138 attach to the frame 104 and to the vertical components 116 of the crib sideboards 110 and 112 just as those described and shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. The fabric ties 138 are attached to the corresponding vertical components 116 and the frame 104 of the baby crib 102 so that the low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections 130 surround the interior perimeter 132 of the conventional baby crib 102 just as those shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

The tubular-shaped bumper sections 130 of the inventive transitional baby crib bumper 100 of FIGS. 3-7 are “low profile” and, as such, are much smaller than the conventional crib bumper 122 as shown in FIG. 2. Consequently, when the child (not shown) in the age range of six months-to-two years reaches the ambulatory period and pulls herself upward into a standing position and steps up onto one of the low-profile, tubular-shaped bumper sections 130, the weight of the child (not shown) compresses the low-profile bumper section 130. Consequently, the child (not shown) cannot raise herself sufficiently high to fall out of the baby crib 102 and thus avoids injury. Thus, the low-profile, bumper sections 130 of the inventive transitional baby crib bumper 100 do not have to be removed from the baby crib 102 once the child (not shown) becomes ambulatory. The transitional baby crib bumper 100 can remain within the baby crib 102 during this time period to provide protection to the child, and cushioning and comfort for the child to rest her head and limbs against.

The present invention provides novel advantages over other conventional baby crib bumpers known in the prior art. A main advantage of the transitional baby crib bumper 100 of the present invention is that (1) it exhibits a “low-profile” design which compresses under the body weight of the child, (2) thus preventing the child from climbing sufficiently high that she could fall out of the baby crib 102, (3) attaches to the baby crib 102 with a plurality of fabric ties 138, (4) for encircling the inside of the baby crib 102, (5) can be conveniently inserted into and removed from the baby crib 102 by manipulating the fabric ties 138 (6) can remain in the baby crib 102 to continue to provide protection and comfort to a child within the age range of from six months-to-two years, (7) exhibits an economical tubular-shaped construction comprising an outer cotton fabric material 134 and a compressible inner polyester filler material 136, and (8) can provide a cheerful, colorful and esthetic appearance.

While the present invention is described herein with reference to illustrative embodiments for particular applications, it should be understood that the invention is not limited thereto. Those having ordinary skill in the art and access to the teachings provided herein will recognize additional modifications, applications and embodiments within the scope thereof and additional fields in which the present invention would be of significant utility.

It is therefore intended by the appended claims to cover any and all such modifications, applications and embodiments within the scope of the present invention.

Accordingly,