Title:
Infant positioner for reducing risk of overheating in infants
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An infant positioner comprising a mat and supporting opposed pillows. This combination creates a cradle for positioning an infant within the device. While the infant rests or sleeps in the device, ventilating channels are provided in each of the opposed pillows for regulating the temperature of the infant and, thereby, reducing the risk of the infant becoming overheated. The device further provides opposed pillows that are adjustable for accommodating various positions for the infant.



Inventors:
Straub, Mariann (Winnetka, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/341095
Publication Date:
08/03/2006
Filing Date:
01/27/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G9/00; A47D15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TRETTEL, MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KNECHTEL, DEMEUR & SAMLAN (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device for holding an infant, comprising: means for supporting the infant; means for positioning the infant in a position relative to the means for supporting the infant; means for affixing the means for positioning the infant to the means for supporting the infant; a ventilation channel formed in the means for positioning the infant, the ventilation channel enabling the transfer of air through the means for positioning the infant to and from the infant held by the device.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein the means for supporting the infant is a mat.

3. The device of claim 1 wherein the means for positioning the infant in a position relative to the means for supporting the infant consists of two opposed pillows.

4. The device of claim 3 wherein one of the opposed pillows has a cross sectional shape that is selected from the group consisting of a circle, oval, ovid, square, triangle, rectangle, hexagon, rhombus, trapezoid, and octagon.

5. The device of claim 4 wherein the shape of one of the opposed pillows is curved.

6. The device of claim 3 wherein the other of the opposed pillows has a cross sectional shape that is selected from the group consisting of a circle, oval, ovid, square, triangle, rectangle, hexagon, rhombus, trapezoid, and octagon.

7. The device of claim 6 wherein the shape of the other of the opposed pillows is curved.

8. The device of claim 3 wherein the two opposed pillows are placed adjacent to one another for creating a cradle between them for holding the infant.

9. The device of claim 3 wherein the two opposed pillows are spaced apart from one another for creating a cradle for holding the infant between them and the means for supporting the infant.

10. The device of claim 3 wherein each pillow has an interior side and an opposed exterior side, the interior side of each pillow facing in the direction towards the infant.

11. The device of claim 10 wherein the ventilation channel extends through each pillow from the interior side to the exterior side.

12. The device of claim 3 wherein each opposed pillow contains a plurality of ventilation channels.

13. The device of claim 12 wherein the plurality of ventilation channels are spaced apart from one another for providing access to different regions of the infant.

14. The device of claim 1 wherein the ventilation channel has a cross sectional shape that is selected from the group consisting of a circle, oval, ovid, square, triangle, rectangle, hexagon, rhombus, trapezoid, and octagon.

15. The device of claim 3 wherein the opposed pillows are permanently secured to the means for supporting the infant.

16. The device of claim 3 wherein the opposed pillows are releasably attached to the means for supporting the infant.

17. A device for holding an infant on their back or side, comprising: two opposed pillows placed adjacent to one another, each having a first side and a second side; a cradle formed between the first sides of each the opposed pillows, the cradle engagedly holding the infant; a passageway extending through at least one of the opposed pillows from the first side to the second side for providing a channel through which air can flow to and from the infant held in the cradle.

18. The device of claim 17 wherein the passageway is located within the at least one opposed pillow for providing the access of air to and from the regions of the infant selected from the group consisting of upper, middle, and lower.

19. The device of claim 17 wherein the at least one opposed pillow contains a plurality of passageways.

20. The device of claim 19 wherein the plurality of passageways have a constant diameter.

21. The device of claim 21 wherein the variable diameter of each of the plurality of passageways is different from one another.

22. The device of claim 17 wherein the other of the opposed pillows contains a passageway that extends from the first side to the second side for providing a channel through which air can flow to and from the opposite side of the infant held in the cradle.

23. The device of claim 17 wherein the passageway has a cross sectional shape that is selected from the group consisting of a circle, oval, ovid, square, triangle, rectangle, hexagon, rhombus, trapezoid, and octagon.

24. The device of claim 17 wherein the opposed pillows have a cross sectional shape that is selected from the group consisting of a circle, oval, ovid, square, triangle, rectangle, hexagon, rhombus, trapezoid, and octagon.

25. The device of claim 17 wherein the opposed pillows are curved.

26. A device for holding an infant on their back or side, comprising: two opposed pillows placed adjacent to one another for creating a cradle between them to hold the infant; a ventilation channel formed in at least one of the opposed pillows for providing the flow of air to and from the infant.

Description:

I. FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to infant positioners and, more particularly, to a device for positioning an infant on their back or side while sleeping and providing unobstructed ventilation to the infant for reducing the risk of the infant becoming over heated and, thereby, reducing the risk of sudden infant death.

II. DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

Medical studies have shown that infants who sleep on their backs or sides have a reduced risk of dying suddenly from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), compared to infants who sleep on their stomachs. One example of such a device is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,473,923 entitled “Infant Positioner For Reducing Risk of Positional Plagiocephaly.” As disclosed, this device provides a mat for supporting the torso of an infant, a first body pillow attached to the mat, a second body pillow attached to the mat in spaced relationship with the first body pillow, and a head positioner attached to the mat for supporting the head of the infant while lying on their back or side between the first and second body pillows. Other similar or related devices are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,473,923; 5,341,531; D448,227; D446,675; D408,676; D385,143; D369,934; and D369,054.

Although these and other similar devices may have decreased the incidence of SIDS based on the sleeping position of infants, some of these devices may be inherently fostering the incidence of overheating in infants. The reason is that the mat and body pillows of these devices can create an inherent blanket around the infant which, among other uses, assists in providing additional warmth to the infant and retaining the heat emitted by the infant. Since infants are unable to regulate their body temperature like adults, this accumulated warmth provided by these devices may cause an infant to become over heated. As medical research suggests that overheating of infants could affect an infant's breathing and encourage bacterial growth as well as possibly be responsible for or another factor that causes SIDS, there is a need and there has never been disclosed Applicant's unique ventilating infant positioner for reducing the heat generated by infant devices and the risk of infants becoming overheated while sleeping.

III. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is an infant positioner comprising a mat and supporting opposed pillows. This combination creates a cradle for positioning an infant within the device. Ventilating channels are provided in each of the opposed pillows for regulating the temperature of the infant while the infant rests or sleeps in the device, thereby, reducing the risk of the infant becoming overheated. The device further provides opposed pillows that are adjustable for accommodating various positions for the infant.

IV. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The Description of the Preferred Embodiment will be better understood with reference to the following figures:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of Applicant's unique ventilating infant positioner.

FIG. 2 is a cross section view, taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1, of Applicant's ventilating infant positioner.

FIG. 3 is a top view of the ventilating infant positioner and, in particular, illustrating the shape of the pillows and the ventilating channels.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of Applicant's unique ventilating infant positioner.

FIG. 5 is a cross section view, taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 4, of the alternate embodiment of Applicant's ventilating infant positioner.

FIG. 6 is a top view of the alternate embodiment of the ventilating infant positioner and, in particular, illustrating the alternate shape of the pillows and the ventilating channels.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a second alternate embodiment of the ventilating infant positioner and, in particular, illustrating alternate ventilation channels.

FIG. 8 is a top view of the second alternate embodiment of the ventilating infant positioner and, in particular, illustrating one means for connecting adjacent ventilation channels.

FIG. 9 is a top view of the second alternate embodiment of the ventilating infant positioner and, in particular, illustrating a second means for connecting adjacent ventilation channels.

FIG. 10 is a top view of a third alternate embodiment of the ventilating infant positioner and, in particular, illustrating one means for adjusting a pillow for varying the positioning of the infant.

FIG. 11 is a top view of a fourth alternate embodiment of the ventilating infant positioner and, in particular, illustrating a second means for adjusting each pillow for varying the positioning of the infant.

V. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Turning first to FIG. 1, there is illustrated an infant positioner 10 having a first body pillow 12, a second body pillow 14, and a mat 16. The mat 16 has a top surface 18 and sides 20 and 22. The first body pillow 12 and the second body pillow 14 are permanently secured to the mat 16 with each extending outwardly from the top surface 18.

In the preferred embodiment, the first body pillow 12 is positioned adjacent to side 20 of the mat 16 and the second body pillow 14 is positioned adjacent to the side 22 of the mat 16. In this manner, the combination of the first body pillow 12, the second body pillow 14, and the mat 16 coact to create a cradle 24 between them to receive an infant 26 (the infant 26 is illustrated in phantom and does not form a part of the invention).

The first body pillow 12 and second body pillow 14 are shaped to receive and position the infant 26 on the back while sleeping. In this embodiment, the first body pillow 12 and the second body pillow 14 are preferably triangular in cross section having an interior side 30, an exterior side 32, and a bottom side 35 (FIG. 2). Alternatively, the first body pillow 12 and/or the second body pillow 14 may be shaped as a rectangle, square, circle, oval, ovid, hexagon, rhombus, trapezoid, octagon, etc. . . . In the preferred embodiment, the first body pillow 12 and the second body pillow 14 are curved such that the interior sides 30 of the first body pillow 12 and the second body pillow 14 each create a pillow having a concave shape facing towards the infant 26. As shown in FIG. 3, the interior sides 30 of the first body pillow 12 and the second body pillow 14 are separated by a distance 34 at both a proximal end 36 and distal end 38 of the infant positioner 10 and by a distance 40 at the midpoint between the proximal end 36 and distal end 38 of the infant positioner 40. In this manner, the first body pillow 12 and the second body pillow 14 are a mirror image of one another. The cradle 24 that is formed between these shaped pillows has been found useful for positioning the infant 26 on its back.

In an alternate embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 4, the first body pillow 12 and second body pillow 14 are shaped for positioning the infant 26 on its side. In this embodiment, the first body pillow 12 and the second body pillow 14 have a shape and contour that is identical to one another. The result is that the interior side 30 of the first body pillow 12 continues to create a concave shape facing towards the infant 26, as in the original embodiment, with the interior side 30 of the second body pillow 14 being changed from the original embodiment to create a convex shape facing towards the infant 26. The cradle 24 that is formed between this combination of shaped pillows has been found useful for positioning the infant 26 on its left side.

Although not illustrated, should this combination be completely reversed such that the interior side 30 of the first body pillow 12 provides the convex shape facing towards the infant 26 and the interior side of the second body pillow 14 provides the concave shape facing towards the infant 26, the cradle 24 that is formed between this combination of shaped pillows would be useful for positioning the infant 26 on its right side.

Alternatively, instead of being curved, the first body pillow 12, the second body pillow 14, or both may have straight sides or any other combination of shapes or contours for creating the cradle 24 for the infant 26 provided that the resulting combination is acceptable for holding the infant 26.

Referring back to FIG. 1, each of the first body pillow 12 and the second body pillow 14 are provided with ventilating channels 28. The ventilating channels 28 extend from the interior side 30 to the exterior side 32 of each pillow. In the preferred embodiment, the air surrounding the infant positioner 10 has direct access, through each of the ventilating channels 28, to the infant 26 being held within the infant positioner 10. Likewise, the air surrounding the infant 26 within the cradle 24 and the temperature or heat emanating from the infant 26 which is trapped between the infant 26 and the mat 16 and pillows 12, 14 has direct access, through each of the ventilating channels 28, to the outside air surrounding the infant positioner 10. As a result and discussed in more detail below, the ventilating channels 28 enable the transfer of air to and from the infant 26 for regulating the temperature of the infant 26.

The ventilating channels 28 are positioned along the length of the first body pillow 12 and the second body pillow 14. As depicted in a non-limiting example, the first body pillow 12 and the second body pillow 14 are each provided with three ventilating channels 28. One is placed adjacent the proximal end 36 of the infant positioner 10 and the upper region of the infant 26; one is placed adjacent the midpoint of the infant positioner 10 and the middle region of the infant 26; and one is placed adjacent the distal end 38 of the infant positioner 10 and the lower region of the infant 26. This combination of ventilating channels 28 in the first body pillow 12 and the second body pillow 14 provides air access and temperature transfer to and from each of these regions and on both sides of the infant 26.

Alternatively, it is contemplated that the first body pillow 12 and/or the second body pillow 14 may be provided with more or less ventilating channels 28 provided that the ventilating channels 28 used are sufficient to achieve the necessary ventilation for regulating the temperature of the infant 26 and reducing the risk of the infant becoming over heated. Additionally, it is further contemplated that the location of the ventilating channels 28 and the number of ventilating channels 28 within the first body pillow 12 may be different than both the location and number of ventilating channels 28 within the second body pillow 14. These variations depend, in part, upon the vitals of the infant 26. For example, if an infant 26 is medically overweight, the infant's body may tend to generate more heat which, if not adequately ventilated through the ventilating channels 28, could increase the temperature of the infant 26 to unacceptable levels.

The ventilating channels 28 preferably extend in a straight line through each pillow from the interior side 30 to the exterior side 32. The straight line of the ventilating channels 28, as illustrated in FIG. 2, remain parallel to the mat 16 and provide a constant diameter. Alternatively, the ventilating channels 28 may extend through the pillows in any curved, bent, or other form and at any varying angles or diameter in relation to the mat 16 or infant 26; provided that, the ventilating channels 28 accommodate the necessary ventilation to and from the infant 26 and the outside air surrounding the infant positioner 10.

In a non-limiting example, the ventilating channels 28, as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, are circular in shape and maintain a constant diameter. Alternatively, it is contemplated that the ventilating channels 28 may be any shape including but not limited to a circle, oval, ovid, square, triangle, rectangle, hexagon, octagon, rhombus, trapezoid, etc. . . . provided that the ventilating channels 28 are of sufficient size, either individually or in combination, to accommodate the necessary ventilation to and from the infant 26 and the outside air surrounding the infant positioner 10.

Alternatively, as illustrated in FIG. 7, a ventilating channel 29 may be provided in either or both of the first body pillow 12 and the second body pillow 14 at their ends and/or other sides. It is contemplated that the ventilating channel 29 may be the only ventilating channel in the infant positioner 10 or used in combination with any number of or various forms of the ventilating channels 28 as disclosed herein.

In this embodiment, the ventilating channel 29 extends from the interior side 30 to the exterior side 32 of the ends or sides of each pillow adjacent the proximal end 36 and/or distal end 38 of the infant positioner 10. As illustrated in FIG. 8, the ventilating channel 29 may be connected directly to an adjacent ventilating channel 28 and share a portion of the same channel extending from the interior side 30 of the infant positioner 10. Alternatively, as illustrated in FIG. 9, the ventilating channel 29 may be connected directly to the interior side 30 of the infant positioner 10 and sharing only the interior side 30 of the infant positioner 10 with an adjacent ventilating channel 28. It is further contemplated that the ventilating channel 29 may be completely separate or independent from an adjacent ventilating channel 28.

It is further contemplated that the ventilating channel 29 may be any shape including but not limited to a circle, oval, ovid, square, triangle, rectangle, hexagon, octagon, rhombus, trapezoid, etc. . . . provided that the ventilating channel 29 is of sufficient size, either individually or in combination with the ventilating channels 28 or other ventilating channels 29, to accommodate the necessary ventilation to and from the infant 26 and the outside air surrounding the infant positioner 10.

The ventilating channels 28 and/or ventilating channels 29 may be covered by a mesh or screen covering or any other means known to one skilled in the art thereby preventing any foreign impurities, articles, or other matter, that may be injurious, harmful or otherwise, to reach the infant 26 or obstruct the flow of air to and from the infant 26.

In use, the ventilating channels 28 and/or ventilating channels 29 provide an unobstructed flow of air through the first body pillow 12, the second body pillow 14, or both to and from the infant 26. If the temperature of the infant 26 within the cradle 24 begins to increase to a level that becomes dangerous to the infant or greater than the temperature of the outside air surrounding the infant positioner 10, this excess heat or temperature will be forced to flow along path A (FIG. 2) from the infant 26, through the ventilating channels 28 or 29, and exit out the infant positioner 10. As this excess heat or temperature is transferred from the infant 26 and the cradle 24, the temperature of the infant 26 will decrease back to normal or remain constant rather than increasing to an uncomfortable and/or unsafe temperature. Medical studies have indicated that the preferable room temperature should be sixteen to twenty degrees Celsius (16° C.-20° C.) or sixty to seventy degrees Fahrenheit (60° F.-70° F.). With this excess heat continually being transferred from the infant 26 and the cradle 24, the temperature of the infant 26 should remain constant or at an acceptable level in this temperature range. As a result, the infant positioner 10 utilizes the ventilating channels 28 and/or ventilating channels 29 for transferring the unnecessary heat in a direction away from the infant 26 thereby reducing the risk of overheating in infants and sudden infant death syndrome.

Referring to FIG. 10, the second body pillow 14 may alternatively be releasably affixed to the top surface 18 of the mat 16 using a fastener means 42 secured thereon. The fastening means 42 is preferably a hook and loop fastener such as Velcro® that is releasably affixed to the bottom side 35 of the second body pillow 14. As depicted, the first body pillow 12 and the second body pillow 14 are shaped in the original embodiment (FIG. 1) for positioning the infant 26 on its back. By releasing the second body pillow 14, rotating the second body pillow 14 through one hundred and eighty degrees (180°), and reaffixing the second body pillow 14 to the mat 16, the first body pillow 12 and the second body pillow 14 would be shaped in the alternate embodiment (FIG. 4) for positioning the infant 26 on its left side.

Likewise, in the third embodiment, the first body pillow 12 may also be releasably affixed to the top surface 18 of the mat 16 using a fastener means 44 secured thereon. As illustrated in FIG. 11, the first body pillow 12 and the second body pillow 14 are shown shaped in the original embodiment (FIG. 1) for positioning the infant 26 on its back. By releasing the first body pillow 12, rotating the first body pillow 12 through one hundred and eighty degrees (180°), and reaffixing the first body pillow 12 to the mat 16, the first body pillow 12 would now be shaped identical to the second body pillow 14 for positioning the infant 26 on its right side.

Alternatively, since this embodiment provides that the second body pillow 14 is also releasably affixed to the to the top surface 18 of the mat 16, if the first body pillow remained unchanged and the second body pillow 14 is released, rotated through one hundred and eighty degrees (180°), and reaffixed to the mat 16, the first body pillow 12 and the second body pillow 14 would be shaped in the alternate embodiment (FIG. 4) for positioning the infant 26 on its left side.

Thus, there has been provided a unique infant positioner for providing unobstructed ventilation to the infant for reducing the risk of the infant becoming over heated and, thereby, reducing the risk of sudden infant death. While the invention has been described in conjunction with a specific embodiment, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing description.