Title:
SAFETY BLANKET ASSEMBLY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A safety blanket assembly includes a blanket and a frame that engages the blanket to limit the distortion or bundling of the blanket. The blanket has an outer perimeter that is surrounded by a border to receive a substantially U-shaped frame. The frame is insertable into the hollow border of the blanket to keep three of the four sides of the blanket stiff and prevent the blanket from wrapping around a child covered by the blanket.



Inventors:
Boyd, Billy E. (Tuscaloosa, AL, US)
Application Number:
11/422493
Publication Date:
12/07/2006
Filing Date:
06/06/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/482
International Classes:
A47G9/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GROSZ, ALEXANDER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SMITH, GAMBRELL & RUSSELL (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A safety blanket assembly for protecting a child from suffocation comprising: a blanket having an outer perimeter; a hollow border surrounding the outer perimeter of said blanket; and a frame insertable into the hollow border to prevent said blanket from wrapping around the child.

2. The safety blanket assembly of claim 1, wherein said frame comprises: a base; and two cantilever arms extending from said base in the same direction.

3. The safety blanket assembly of claim 1, wherein said frame is substantially U-shaped.

4. The safety blanket assembly of claim 1, wherein said frame is substantially rigid.

5. The safety blanket assembly of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of said frame is covered with a padded material.

6. The safety blanket assembly of claim 1 wherein said blanket comprises a top layer and a bottom layer.

7. The safety blanket assembly of claim 6 further comprising a cushioning material between said top layer and said bottom layer.

8. The safety blanket assembly of claim 1 wherein said border comprises: a hollow bottom border portion; and a connector extending along said bottom border portion to open said bottom border portion.

9. The safety blanket assembly of claim 8 wherein said connector comprises a zipper.

10. A safety blanket assembly for protecting a child from suffocation comprising: a hollow blanket having a top layer and a bottom layer, said hollow blanket having an outer perimeter; and a frame insertable into the hollow blanket to prevent said blanket from wrapping around the child.

11. The safety blanket assembly of claim 10, wherein said frame comprises: a base; and two cantilever arms extending from said base in the same direction.

12. The safety blanket assembly of claim 10, wherein said frame is substantially U-shaped.

13. The safety blanket assembly of claim 10, wherein said frame is substantially rigid.

14. The safety blanket assembly of claim 10 wherein at least a portion of said frame is covered with a padded material.

15. The safety blanket assembly of claim 10 further comprising a cushioning material between said top layer and said bottom layer of said blanket.

16. The safety blanket assembly of claim 10 further comprising a seam proximate outer perimeter of said hollow blanket, said seam forming a border about said outer perimeter.

17. The safety blanket assembly of claim 16 wherein said border comprises a hollow bottom border portion and a connector sealing said bottom border portion.

18. The safety blanket assembly of claim 17 wherein said connector comprises a zipper.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS

This patent application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/687,682, filed on Jun. 6, 2005, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to blankets, and more specifically, to a safety blanket for use by an infant or child, and even more specifically, to a blanket that will not entangle and harm and infant or child.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Parents want to make sure that their infant or toddler is kept warm while reclining in a crib or bed, and therefore they frequently wrap their child in a blanket like an adult. However, one significant risk for babies while in a crib is suffocation in soft bedding, such as quilts, comforters, sheepskins, pillows, pillow-like stuffed toys, and other soft products that may keep the baby from breathing easily. With respect to blankets and quilts, the infant may easily entangle himself or herself as the baby rolls in the crib, thereby creating an opportunity for suffocation in the proximate sheet. Consequently, experts recommend that if a blanket or sheet is to be used in a crib, the parents should make sure the blanket is tucked in around the crib mattress to prevent the infant from pulling it forward above the infant's chest. Even with such instructions and warnings, it is still possible for the sheet to become un-tucked and flexible for the baby to pull around his or her head, once again endangering the child.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A safety blanket assembly is described that helps to keep infants and children warm while protecting the child from suffocation and harm by restricting a blanket from twisting or tangling around the head of the covered child. The safety blanket assembly includes the blanket and a frame that engages the blanket to limit the distortion or bundling of the blanket by the covered infant. The blanket has an outer perimeter that is surrounded by a border to receive the frame. The frame is substantially U-shaped, and therefore insertable into the hollow border of the blanket to keep three of the four sides of the blanket stiff and prevent the blanket from wrapping around the child.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A safety blanket embodying the features of the present invention is depicted in the accompanying drawings, which form a portion of this disclosure, wherein:

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of the safety blanket of the present invention; and

FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view of the safety blanket illustrated in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention of a safety blanket assembly 10 is illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. The safety blanket assembly 10 helps to keep infants and children warm while protecting the child from suffocation and harm by restricting a blanket 12 from twisting or tangling around the head of the covered child. In particular, the safety blanket assembly 10 includes the blanket 12 and a frame 14 that engages the blanket 12 to limit the distortion of the blanket 12 by the covered infant.

Looking to FIG. 1, the safety blanket 12 may be rectangular in shape with a slightly rounded bottom edge created by a seam 17 around the blanket 12 that may create a border 16. In one embodiment, the measurements of the blanket 12 are between twenty-four to thirty-six inches in width by approximately forty-two inches in length, although any particular dimensions may be set by the producer. The dimensions of the aforementioned embodiment help to ensure that the blanket 12 is sized to provide adequate coverage for an infant or young child. The dimensions of the blanket 12 are approximate and could be adjusted as necessary during the pre-production phase to ensure that the safety blanket 12 functions as intended for a child having a particular age.

Referring to FIG. 2, the blanket 12 includes a base portion 12b and a top portion 12t, with the base and top portions 12b, 12t being made of a fabric such as flannel, which would be comfortable to the child since it is soft and warm. Other fabric options for the blanket could include cotton fabrics or cotton blends, silk, satin, or another fabric used with conventional blankets, and the base and top portion 12b, 12t may be made of independent fabrics. However, the fabric chosen for use in the production of the safety blanket 12 of the safety blanket assembly 10 should meet safety requirements for flammability. The fabric should additionally be machine washable and should resist shrinking and fading. In addition, a cushioning material 22 may be placed b/t base and top portions 12b, 12t to provide insulation for the blanket 12.

As noted above and shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the safety blanket 12 additionally has a border 16 that surrounds the entire outer perimeter of the blanket 12. The border 16 may be a part of the blanket 12, or made of satin for functionality and appearance, although other cotton fabrics could be used as well. This border 16 is designed to house the rigid frame 14 that sets this blanket assembly 10 apart from a standard baby blanket design. Thus, the border 16 itself could house a frame 14, or the blanket 12 may simply include the two abutting sheets 12b, 12t that are joined by a connector 20, such as a zipper, button, or hook and loop material, such that the frame 14 would fit between the two sheets 12b, 12t.

Looking to FIG. 1, the frame 14 includes three components, namely, a base 14b and two arms 14a extended therefrom in a common direction, to create a U-shape or horseshoe shape. The length of the base 14b of the frame 14 may be approximately twenty-four to twenty-six inches in length by approximately twenty inches, although this width of the frame 14 will generally correspond with the width of the blanket 12 as set by the producer. The frame 14 may be made of a variety of materials, such as plastic or some other resin material, such that it is stiff or substantially rigid yet still flexible or bendable. For example, the frame 14 could be made of a hard yet flexible plastic known by the trademark Lexan, or some other similar material. As a variation, it should be noted that the plastic frame 14 could be replaced with a softer material that would serve as the frame and would restrict roll-up of the blanket.

A portion or all of the frame 14 may be covered with a padded material 18, such as foam, which would is further encased by the border 16 (see FIG. 3). For example, this padded material 18 may engage six inches of each arm 14a from the free end, or it may engage the whole arm 14a, whichever is desired by the user. This padded material 18 further protects the child being covered by the safety blanket 12 from engaging hard edges of the frame 14 and provides a comfortable edge for the child to engage.

A zipper 20 or other connection member may be sewn in the bottom border 16b adjacent the bottom of the safety blanket 12. The zipper 20 secures the frame 14 within the border 16 of the safety blanket assembly 12 after it has been inserted into the safety blanket 12.

To insert the frame 14 into the safety blanket 12, the user will unzip or disconnect the zippered edge along the bottom border 16b. The user will then align the free ends of the arms 14a of the frame 14 with the open satin border 16 of the safety blanket 12, and the frame 14 is then slid into the openings of the border 16 along the length of the safety blanket 12 and according to the length of the arms 14a of the frame 14. The zipper 20 is then zipped to close the bottom edge 16b of the safety blanket 12, so that the safety blanket 12 has a substantially firm or rigid edge along two sides and base of the safety blanket 12 to prevent the safety blanket 12 from being bundled together The frame 14 could then be removed as necessary when it is time to launder or store the blanket 12.

Consequently, when the safety blanket assembly 10 is assembled, it may be placed on the chest of an infant or child to warm and protect the infant while keeping the blanket 12 in a substantially stretched position. While stretched by the frame 14, the infant will not be able to become entangled in the blanket 12 as the infant moves about in the crib, allowing parents to be confident that the infant will not suffocate or be harmed by having such a blanket 12 in the child's crib.

While this invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments thereof, it is to be understood that variations and modifications can be affected within the spirit and scope of the invention as described herein and as described in the appended claims.