Title:
Device for the prevention of thumb sucking
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for preventing thumb sucking is provided, comprising a glove worn on a hand, wherein the glove includes a first opening for insertion of the hand, a second opening opposite the first opening for permitting uncovered use of the four fingers of the hand; a thumb covering portion for completely covering the thumb of the hand while the glove is worn on the hand; and a fastening device adjacent to the first opening for preventing removal of the glove from the hand; wherein the glove is constructed from a material containing one or more designs which are attractive to a child wearing the glove.



Inventors:
Smith, Michelle (Meraux, LA, US)
Application Number:
11/179070
Publication Date:
02/08/2007
Filing Date:
07/12/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/08
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
TOMPKINS, ALISSA JILL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Emily R. Billig (Baton Rouge, LA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A device for preventing thumb sucking, comprising a glove worn on a hand, wherein said glove includes: (a) a first opening for insertion of said hand; (b) a second opening opposite said first opening for permitting uncovered use of the four fingers of said hand; (c) a thumb covering portion for completely covering the thumb of said hand while said glove is worn on said hand; and (d) fastening means adjacent to said first opening for preventing removal of said glove from said hand; wherein said glove is constructed from a material containing one or more designs which are attractive to a child wearing said glove.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein said fastening means comprises a passageway formed into said glove adjacent to said first opening, and a tieable cord passing through said passageway.

3. The device of claim 1, wherein said design on said material comprises one or more images of a female character.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein said design on said material comprises one or more images of a male character.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein said design on said material comprises one or more images of a cartoon character.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein said design on said material comprises one or more images of a character from a child's television show.

7. The device of claim 1, wherein said design on said material comprises one or more images of a character from a movie.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

I. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to devices used to prevent thumb-sucking, and more particularly to such devices which cover the thumb in the form of a glove or mitten on the hand.

II. Background and Prior Art

Thumb sucking and finger sucking are unsightly and unhealthy habits frequently adopted by children. Although these habits are extensions of the child's innate desire to suck, some children carry the habit well beyond the age when the child is weaned from breast or bottle-feeding. Except where the context of usage indicates otherwise, the term “thumb sucking” is hereafter used to denote sucking one's thumb, index finger, or any other manual digit.

In addition to being unsightly, thumb sucking also can have side effects deleterious to a person's health. For instance, any dirt or germs on the thumb sucker's hands becomes ingested into the body. When thumb sucking persists as the child begins teething, the constant presence of a thumb between the gums can deflect the incoming teeth from their normal positions in the jaw. When a thumb sucking problem persists through the arrival of permanent teeth, the result is crooked teeth which can be overcome only by expensive and time-consuming orthodontic treatment, e.g. braces. Persistent thumb sucking at this stage also can abrade the skin on the thumb, leading to infection. Moreover, thumb sucking can produce emotional discomfort if the child is teased by his or her peers or scolded by adults for the activity.

Thumb sucking is a recognized problem, and various attempts to overcome this problem are known in the art. For example, one kind of solution proposes various dental appliances which fit in the roof of the thumb sucker's mouth. These appliances have prongs or other protrusions extending downwardly from the roof of the mouth, to prevent inserting one's thumb into the mouth. Such devices affect the speech of the wearer and can be very unpleasant, and the devices consequently are seldom used.

Another proposed technique for curing thumb sucking involves applying various bitter-tasting liquids to the thumb. The theory here is that the thumb sucker, associating a bitter or unpleasant taste with the act of thumb sucking, will stop sucking his or her thumb. The practical result, however, usually is that the thumb sucker washes his or her hands, removing the bitter taste for renewed thumb sucking.

Various anti-thumb sucking appliances for wearing on the user's hand also are known in the art. Examples are shown in U.S. Pats. Nos. 1,345,783 and 2,684,065. Such hand appliances generally have attempted to inhibit thumb sucking either by causing the wearer discomfort when attempting to insert thumb into mouth, or by preventing the thumb sucker from forming an airtight seal around the thumb and thus thwarting the sucking action craved by the child.

Other devices intended to prevent thumb sucking or to otherwise protect various portions of the hand or fingers include U.S. Pat. No. 2,783,759 (glove for preventing thumb sucking); U.S. Pat. No. 5,228,142 (overwrap for fingers and hands); and U.S. Pat. No. 5,797,405 (thumb sucking deterrent device). Such devices are rarely appealing to the child or to the parents because of their functional design. Thus, it is often difficult for a parent to encourage the wearing of these devices by the child. Ideally, thumb sucking preventative devices should include features which are attractive to the child, such that the child not only tolerates its use, but wants to wear it most of the time during treatment.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, one object of the present invention is to provide a thumb sucking preventative device which effectively covers the thumb and discourages thumb sucking.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide a thumb sucking preventative device which permits free use of the other fingers.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a thumb sucking preventative device which can be retained on the hand by a fastener not easily removed by the child.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a thumb sucking preventative device which includes an attractive design for the child to encourage consistent wearing during treatment.

Accordingly, a device to prevent thumb sucking is provided, comprising a glove worn on a hand, wherein the glove includes a first opening for insertion of the hand, a second opening opposite the first opening for permitting uncovered use of the four fingers of the hand; a thumb covering portion for completely covering the thumb of the hand while the glove is worn on the hand; and a fastening device adjacent to the first opening for preventing removal of the glove from the hand; wherein the glove is constructed from a material containing one or more designs which are attractive to a child wearing the glove.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts a preferred embodiment of a thumb sucking preventative device in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 depicts an open fabric or material pattern used as the basis for constructing the device of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Turning now to FIG. 1, a preferred embodiment of the device for preventing thumb sucking is shown. The device generally comprises a glove-type enclosure 1 for the hand 2 which covers the palm and the back of the hand 2. The glove 1 includes a first opening 3 for insertion of the hand 2, as well as a second opening 4 which permits exiting of the four fingers 5. A thumb cover portion 6 is integrally attached to the glove 1 which completely covers the thumb. Thus, the only portions of the hand 2 which are covered by the device are the palm, the back of the hand, and the thumb. Preferably, the device is attached to the hand by a cord or ribbon 7 passed through a passageway 8 formed into the fabric, such that the device may not be easily removed by the child.

Importantly, the fabric used for the device should be of a design which is appealing to small children. Examples of such fabric may include a multi-color pattern, cartoon characters, action figure characters, or other lettering, symbols, and images 15 which are of interest to the child. Preferably, the pattern should be gender-specific, such that the device for a girl child might be constructed from a pick fabric and contain images of a favorite female actress, singer, or cartoon character. Likewise, the device for a boy might be constructed from a fabric containing images of a favorite male action figure or other character from a television show, movie, or cartoon. Alternatively, the fabric can contain patterns or other images corresponding to a specific date or event, such as a holiday like Easter, Halloween, or Christmas. It will be appreciated that virtually any pattern or images can be used on the fabric, with the only basic requirement being that it is attractive to the child. Significantly, the presence of such child-appropriate attractive designs will encourage use of the device, thereby maximizing the chances for a successful treatment of thumb sucking.

For simplicity and cost reduction, the device is constructed by starting with a single pattern, shown in FIG. 2, which can be folded along mirror line 10 to create the general shape of the device from the two symmetrical halves of fabric. At the first opening 3, the fabric may be folded onto itself and stitched to create the passageway 8 referred to above. Once folded along mirror line 10, the fabric pattern is sewn along the periphery noted by stitch 9. In this manner, the first and second openings 3,4 are preserved as described above.

Finally, the fabric is a lightweight cloth or linen-type material that does not substantially interfere with the normal use of the hand, such as gripping small objects. This is particularly important when used by children, because manual dexterity at thumb-sucking ages is not as fully developed as in older children. Also, the fabric and stitching must be durable and washable so as to withstand further attempts at thumb sucking and repeated wash cycles.

Although exemplary embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, many changes, modifications, and substitutions may be made by one having ordinary skill in the art without necessarily departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.