Title:
Sun shield
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sun shield for protection of the back of the head, ears, and nape of the neck that can be worn directly on the head or attached to headgear to provide lightweight, air permeable protection from the hazardous rays of the sun. The sun shield includes a flexible, breathable fabric sun shield attached to a closed loop elastic band that adjustably fits the user's head or headgear. At least one weight is attached to the lower edge of the fabric sun shield so that the sun shield will not be lifted by the wind during use. The weight may be permanently or removably attached to the fabric. Supplemental restraining devices may be attached to the sun shield for securing it to the headgear or sunglasses of the wearer. The weights and attachment devices of the sun shield ensure that the sun protection remains in place under windy conditions.



Inventors:
Orozco, Ida (Beeville, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/404565
Publication Date:
11/16/2006
Filing Date:
04/15/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A42B1/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
HADEN, SALLY CLINE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KAMMER BROWNING PLLC (SAN ANTONIO, TX, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A sun shield for use with a cap, hat or directly on the crown of the head, the sun shield comprising: a closed loop elastic band sized to fit about the circumference of the cap, hat, or crown of the head; a section of flexible fabric sheet-like material having an upper edge and a lower edge, the upper edge of the section of material attached to at least a portion of the closed loop elastic band; and at least one weight positioned in association with the lower edge of the section of material.

2. The sun shield of claim 1 wherein the upper edge of the section of material is folded around and stitched so as to surround and retain at least a portion of the elastic band.

3. The sun shield of claim 2 wherein the upper edge of the section of material is loosely folded around the elastic band and is stitched back onto itself so as to permit the free side to side movement of the elastic band within the folded edge of the section of material, wherein the side to side movement allows the user to expand or contract the width of coverage provided by the sun shield.

4. The sun shield of claim 1 wherein the at least one weight positioned in association with the lower edge of the section of material is fixed within a closed pocket of fabric material sewn shut to prevent the removal of the weight.

5. The sun shield of claim 1 wherein the at least one weight positioned in association with the lower edge of the section of material is loosely held in an open pocket of fabric material oriented to resist the removal of the weight when the sun shield is worn but permitting removal of the weight by the user when desired.

6. The sun shield of claim 1 wherein the at least one weight positioned in association with the lower edge of the section of material comprises at least three weights spaced approximately equidistant along the lower edge of the section of material.

7. The sun shield of claim 1 wherein the at least one weight positioned in association with the lower edge of the section of material comprises a flat section of metal plate positioned within a pocket sewn into the lower edge of the section of material.

8. The sun shield of claim 1 wherein the at least one weight positioned in association with the lower edge of the section of material comprises a spherical marble positioned within a pocket sewn into the lower edge of the section of material.

9. The sun shield of claim 1 further comprising at least one supplemental retaining device positioned on the section of material and oriented to removably engage and attach to a part of the cap, hat, or crown of the head so as to supplement the retention of the sun shield on the user.

10. The sun shield of claim 7 wherein the at least one supplemental retaining device comprises a spring biased clip attached to a side edge of the section of material and positioned to clip onto a side of the cap or hat.

11. The sun shield of claim 1 wherein the section of flexible fabric sheet-like material comprises a washable fabric.

12. The sun shield of claim 1 wherein the section of flexible fabric sheet-like material comprises a waterproof material.

13. A sun shield for use with a cap, hat or directly on the crown of the head, the sun shield comprising: a closed loop elastic band sized to fit about the circumference of the cap, hat, or crown of the head; a generally rectangular section of flexible fabric material having an upper edge, a lower edge and two side edges, the upper edge of the section of material attached to at least a portion of the closed loop elastic band; a plurality of weights positioned in association with the lower edge of the section of material; and a pair of supplemental retaining devices, one each positioned on side edges of the section of material and each oriented to removably engage and attach to a part of the cap, hat, or crown of the head so as to supplement the retention of the sun shield on the user.

14. The sun shield of claim 13 wherein the upper edge of the section of material is folded around and stitched so as to surround and retain at least a portion of the elastic band.

15. The sun shield of claim 14 wherein the upper edge of the section of material is loosely folded around the elastic band and is stitched back onto itself so as to permit the free side to side movement of the elastic band within the folded edge of the section of material, wherein the side to side movement allows the user to expand or contract the width of coverage provided by the sun shield.

16. The sun shield of claim 13 wherein the at least one weight positioned in association with the lower edge of the section of material is fixed within a closed pocket of fabric material sewn shut to prevent the removal of the weight.

17. The sun shield of claim 13 wherein the at least one weight positioned in association with the lower edge of the section of material is loosely held in an open pocket of fabric material oriented to resist the removal of the weight when the sun shield is worn but permitting removal of the weight by the user when desired.

18. The sun shield of claim 13 wherein the plurality of weights positioned in association with the lower edge of the section of material comprise at least three weights spaced approximately equidistant along the lower edge of the section of material.

19. The sun shield of claim 13 wherein the section of flexible fabric sheet-like material comprises a washable fabric.

20. The sun shield of claim 13 wherein the section of flexible fabric sheet-like material comprises a waterproof material.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit under Title 35 United States Code §119(e) of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/671,682 filed Apr. 15, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to apparel and hat or cap attachments. The present invention more specifically relates to fabric sun shields for protection of the back of the head, ears, and nape of the neck that can be worn directly on the head or attached to a hat or cap.

2. Description of the Related Art

Any individual spending time outdoors may experience the undesirable effects of solar radiation upon unprotected parts of the body, such as heat exhaustion, sun stroke, sunburn, and skin cancer. This is especially true in locations having intense sunlight and high temperatures. Direct exposure of the head and neck can be especially hazardous, since body temperature is greatly affected by such radiation. Moreover, the skin of the head and neck is sensitive and tends to easily burn. It is common for individuals with a history of chronic sun exposure to develop skin cancer lesions. Typically, some degree of protection from the sun is achieved by the use of headgear designed to provide shade or safety. Often, however, the back of the head, ears, and nape of the neck are left unprotected, with resulting increased risk of sunburn and skin cancer.

There are various devices in the prior art which are designed to reduce sun exposure of the ears and neck. These devices are generally made of a fabric attachment having an adjustable strap which goes around a cap or hat, wherein the fabric drapes over the ears and neck of the wearer. Other devices in the prior art include caps, hats, or other headgear having a permanent fabric drape to cover the ears and neck. These fabric shields, however, frequently blow away from the head and neck, thus exposing the skin to the sun. This causes a problem for the wearer, particularly when the fabric does not fall back into place, but rather catches on the headgear or simply remains in a tucked or lifted position. If the wearer is working or otherwise is unable to free his hands to adjust the fabric back into position, the neck and ears remain partially or fully exposed, thus defeating the purpose of the sun shield. At best, the user must continuously deal with the annoyance and inconvenience of readjusting the fabric in order to cover the exposed skin. Particularly for workers who spend long hours in the sun, this decrease in protection can greatly increase ultraviolet radiation exposure time and skin health risks.

It would be desirable to have a sun shield device which could provide consistent shade for the protection of the sensitive ears and neck of the wearer. It would also be desirable for the sun shield to easily attach and detach from existing headgear without any modification or alteration or to be wearable without any headgear. It would also be desirable for the sun shield to be made of a flexible, breathable fabric that remained in position on the ears and neck and did not expose the ears and neck in windy conditions. It would also be desirable for the sun shield to have one or more attachments to firmly secure the shield to the user's headgear as necessary.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides sun protection for the back of the head, ears, and nape of the neck that can either be used with or without headgear such as a cap, hat, or hardhat. In a preferred embodiment, the device includes a flexible, breathable fabric sun shield attached to a closed loop elastic band that adjustably fits the circumference of the crown of the user's head or the crown of the user's cap. At least one weight is attached to the lower edge of the flexible fabric sun shield so that the sun shield will not be lifted by the wind during use by the wearer. These weights may be permanently or removably attached to the fabric. There may be at least one supplemental restraining device, such as a clip, for securing the sun shield to the headgear of the wearer. The present invention is inexpensive, simple to manufacture, versatile, and easy to use. The sun shield attachment can be quickly and conveniently attached to a baseball-type cap, a hard hat, or various other types of conventional head gear. The device may also be worn directly on the head. The weights and attachment devices of the sun shield ensure that the sun protection remains in place under windy outdoor conditions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the present invention may be had by reference to the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of the detachable sun shield of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates the present invention worn about the circumference of a typical hard hat;

FIG. 3 provides a detailed view of a weight sewn into the lower edge hem of the sun shield; and

FIG. 4 shows a detailed external view of the sun shield having a weight sewn into the lower corner edge of the fabric.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Reference is made first to FIG. 1 for a brief description of the detachable sun shield of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 1, the detachable sun shield 10 includes a light-weight, flexible fabric sheet 20 which is attached to a closed loop elastic band 30. The fabric of the sun shield is preferably an open mesh, breathable woven material such as cotton or polyester fiber, which permits maximum user comfort and mobility. This type of fabric also permits air to circulate freely for rapid evaporation of perspiration. The fabric attachment is generally rectangular in shape, having sufficient length to extend past the shoulders of the user. The fabric is wide enough to fully encircle the back and sides of the user's head or headgear. The fabric of the sun shield is attached to the closed loop elastic band 30 to form a secure shield of fabric around the back of the user's head and neck. The fabric may also be attached to the closed loop elastic band by one of many techniques well known in the art such as stitches, snaps, hooks, buttons, or Velcro

Still referring to FIG. 1, there is at least one weight 40 positioned on the lower edge of the fabric 20 of the sun shield 10. The purpose of the weight 40 is to stabilize the sun shield 10 in windy conditions, thereby providing consistent protection for the back of the head, ears, and neck. These weights 40 may be of any convenient shape for insertion in the lower edge hem of the fabric 20, such as flat, spherical, or bar-shaped. They may be made of various heavy-weight man-made or natural materials such as metal, glass, or rock. The weights 40 are spaced at frequent intervals around the lower edge of the fabric shield 20. As shown in FIG. 3, the weight 40 may be removably placed into a pocket 44 sewn into the hem of the fabric 20 with stitching 42 or permanently sewn into the hem and surrounded by stitching 42. FIG. 4 shows the detailed view of the stitching 42 and the covered weight 40 along the lower edge of the fabric shield 20 as seen from the outside of the sun shield 10.

Also shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 is a supplemental restraining device 50, which is shown in a preferred embodiment as a commercially available spring-biased clip well known in the art. In FIG. 1, the device 50 is shown unattached. As shown in FIG. 2, this restraining device 50 may be used to further secure the fabric 20 of the sun shield 10 to the headgear 32 of the wearer. In FIG. 2, the sun shield 10 is shown worn in conjunction with typical work-related headgear, such as a hard hat. FIG. 2 shows the restraining device 50 attached to the fabric 20 of the sun shield 10 and to the visor 34 of the headgear 32 worn by the user. The restraining device 50 of the sun shield 10 may also be secured to other areas of the headgear or to sunglasses worn by the user. Other forms of attachment for securing the sun shield 10 to headgear 32 or sunglasses of the user could be utilized, such as a fabric loop attached with snaps, hooks, buttons, or Velcro®.

Although the present invention has been described in conjunction with a number of preferred embodiments, it is anticipated that those skilled in the art will discern modifications, additions, and alterations of the preferred embodiment that remain within the scope and spirit of the invention. Such modifications include various configurations for band securing the sun shield to the head or headgear of the user, as well as different means for attaching the band to the faric of the sun shield. Although flat rectangular weights are described herein, alternate shapes would be considered appropriate with the device of the present invention. Any attachment means for these weights that quickly and easily secure the weights to the lower edge of the fabric shield from a releasable condition to an attached condition may be appropriate as a substitute for the pockets or stitched enclosure described herein. Likewise, a variety of materials may be anticipated for the weights and fabric of the present invention. The weights may be constructed from a variety of rigid or semi-rigid materials of sufficient weight to hold the fabric sun shield in place on the user. The fabric of the sun shield may be from any of a number of different materials, ranging from a loose mesh to a virtually waterproof weave, depending on the environment in which the device is used. The basic concept of the present invention might be implemented in conjunction with multiple types of headgear, utilizing various types of supplemental attachment devices to further secure the fabric of the sun shield to the headgear or sunglasses of the user. Those skilled in the art will recognize modifications and adaptations of the designs and elements described herein that would remain within the scope and spirit of the invention, which is defined by the following claims.