Title:
Non-rollover apparatus and methods
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In some embodiments, apparatus for assisting in preventing a subject from rolling over from a lying position includes a garment portion capable of being worn by the subject and at least one bumper member engageable with the garment portion. The at least one bumper, when engaged with the garment, is capable of preventing rolling over of the subject from a lying position.



Inventors:
Ebert, Anne Scott (Charlotte, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/491820
Publication Date:
03/01/2007
Filing Date:
07/24/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41B13/08
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
E. RANDALL SMITH (HOUSTON, TX, US)
Claims:
1. An apparatus for assisting in preventing a subject from rolling over from a lying position, the apparatus comprising: a garment portion capable of being worn by the subject; and at least two bumper members engageable with said garment portion, said at least two bumper members being capable of preventing the subject from rolling over from a lying position when said at least two bumper members are engaged with said garment portion and said garment portion is worn by the subject.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said at least two bumper members are positionable on said garment portion so as to prevent contact of said at least two bumper members with the head of the subject wearing said garment portion.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said bumper members are engageable with said garment portion so that, when engaged with said garment portion, said bumper members cannot be moved away from the subject wearing said garment portion during normal operating conditions.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the subject is an infant and the lying position is a supine position.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said at least two bumper members includes two said bumper members.

6. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said garment portion and said bumper members are securely engageable during use and selectively disengageable after use to allow at least one among the subject's wearing said garment portion by the subject without restriction caused by said bumper members, cleaning at least one among said garment portion and at least one said bumper member, repairing at least one among said garment portion and at least one said bumper member and replacing at least one among said garment portion and at least one said bumper member.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 further including at least one connector capable of connecting said garment portion and each said bumper member, whereby said bumper members are selectively removable from said garment portion.

8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein said at least one connector is positioned on the apparatus to avoid being disposed beneath the subject wearing said garment portion in a lying position.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein said connector includes a zipper engageable between said garment portion and each said bumper member.

10. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said garment portion includes left and right arm and leg portions and a torso portion having left and right sides, wherein a first said bumper member is connectable to said garment portion on the left side of said torso portion between said left arm and leg portions, and a second said bumper member is connectable to said garment portion on the right side of said torso portion between said right arm and leg portions.

11. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein said garment portion is one among a footed pajama and a legless baby suit.

12. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein said garment portion includes mitten cuffs.

13. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein each said bumper member has a generally triangular cross-sectional shape.

14. An apparatus capable of preventing a subject from rolling over from a supine position, the apparatus comprising: a garment portion capable of being worn by the subject, said garment portion having left and right sides and left and right arm and leg portions; and first and second bumper members engageable with said garment portion at said left and right sides thereof between said respective corresponding arm and leg portions.

15. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein the subject is an infant and said first and second bumper members are positionable on said garment portion so as to prevent contact of said bumper members with the head of the infant wearing said garment portion.

16. The apparatus of claim 14 further including at least one connector useful for securely engaging and selectively disengaging said garment portion and each said bumper member, wherein said at least one connector is positionable on the apparatus to avoid being disposed beneath the subject wearing said garment portion in a lying position.

17. An infant safety device capable of preventing the infant from turning over out of a supine position, the infant safety device comprising: a garment portion capable of being worn by the infant, said garment portion including a torso portion, said torso portion extending around at least part of the torso of the infant between the arms and legs of the infant when the infant is wearing said garment portion; and at least two bumper members selectively releasably engageable with said garment portion on opposing sides of said torso portion of said garment portion.

18. The infant safety device of claim 17 wherein said at least two bumper members are engageable with said garment portion so that, when engaged with said garment portion, said bumper members cannot be moved away from the infant wearing said garment portion in a lying position during normal operating conditions.

19. The apparatus of claim 17 further including at least one zipper for securely engaging and selectively disengaging said garment portion and each said bumper member, wherein said at least one zipper is positioned on the apparatus to avoid being disposed beneath the subject while wearing said garment portion in a lying position.

20. A method of inhibiting a subject from rolling over from a lying position with the use of a non-rollover device, the non-rollover device including a garment and at least one bumper member, the method comprising: engaging the at least one bumper member with the garment; placing the subject into the garment; placing the subject in the lying position; the at least one bumper member maintaining its general position relative to the subject; and the at least one bumper member inhibiting the subject from rolling over from the lying position during normal operating conditions.

21. The method of claim 20 wherein the subject is placed in a supine position.

22. The method of claim 21 wherein the subject is an infant, further including turning down mitten cuffs on the sleeves of the garment to cover the hands of the infant.

23. The method of claim 20 further including disconnecting the at least one bumper member from the garment.

24. The method of claim 23 further including allowing the subject to continue wearing the garment without restriction caused by the at least one bumper member.

25. The method of claim 23 further including reconnecting the at least one bumper member with the garment portion.

Description:

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/712,157 filed Aug. 29, 2005 and entitled “Non-Rollover Apparatus & Method”, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to methods and apparatus for preventing a human or other animal from rolling over from a lying position.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is often desirable to prevent a human or other animal (collectively, the “subject”) from turning over from a particular position. In the case of infants, for example, it is desirable to decrease the risk of the occurrence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by supporting or maintaining the child in a certain position or orientation. A current position preference to reduce the possibility of SIDS is believed to be the supine position.

With respect to infants and SIDS, while the position preference for avoiding SIDS has varied over time, existing technology does not sufficiently prevent an infant from rolling over from a lying position. For example, infants can “kick out” of many currently existing sleep positioners and thereafter roll over. Because infants are known to kick their legs at night, the potential for an infant kicking a presently available sleep positioner out of position and turning over is great. Another problem that may arise with the use of known restraints is the potential that the restraint may disturb or injure the subject. Various known restraints are believed to abrade, cut, suffocate or otherwise undesirably contact or disturb the subject.

It should be understood that the above-described examples, features and/or disadvantages are provided for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to limit the scope or subject matter of the claims of this patent or any patent claiming priority hereto. Thus, none of the appended claims or claims of any related patent should be limited by the above discussion or construed to address, include or exclude the cited examples, features and/or disadvantages, except and only to the extent as may be expressly stated in a particular claim.

Accordingly, it would be desirable to have non-rollover apparatus and methods capable of preventing a subject from turning over that possess one or more of the following features, capabilities or attributes: prevents the subject from rolling over from a lying position under normal conditions; retains infants in safe sleeping positions; cannot be kicked out of, or pushed away, by the subject under normal conditions; maintains the desired position of the restraining mechanism relative to the subject throughout use of the non-rollover device; ensures the head of the subject is not contacted by, wedged under or smothered by the restraining mechanism; includes at least one bumper member connectable to a garment portion that is worn by the subject; includes at least one bumper member securely connectable to and easily selectively releasable from a garment portion worn by the subject; includes at least one connector for connecting at least one bumper member to a garment portion worn by the subject, the connector being located so that it does not extend beneath the subject and create discomfort or harm to the subject; may be easily disassembled for cleaning, repairing, maintenance or replacement or parts; is easily manufactured and assembled; may be implemented by retrofitting existing components; or a combination thereof.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In some embodiments, the present invention involves an apparatus for assisting in preventing a subject from rolling over from a lying position. The apparatus includes a garment portion capable of being worn by the subject and at least two bumper members engageable with the garment portion. The bumper members are capable of preventing the subject from rolling over from a lying position when the bumper members are engaged with the garment portion and the garment portion is worn by the subject.

In various embodiments, the present invention involves an apparatus capable of preventing a subject from rolling over from a supine position. The apparatus includes a garment portion capable of being worn by the subject, the garment portion having left and right sides and left and right arm and leg portions. First and second bumper members are engageable with the garment portion at the left and right sides thereof between the respective corresponding arm and leg portions.

There are embodiments of the invention involving an infant safety device capable of preventing the infant from turning over out of a supine position. The device includes a garment portion and at least two bumper members. The garment portion is capable of being worn by the infant and includes a torso portion extending around at least part of the torso of the infant between his/her arms and legs when the infant is wearing the garment portion. At least two bumper members are selectively releasably engageable with the garment portion on opposing sides of the torso portion.

In many embodiments of the present invention, a method of inhibiting a subject from rolling over from a lying position with the use of a non-rollover device includes engaging at least one bumper member to a garment. The subject is placed into the garment and the desired lying position. The at least one bumper maintains its general position relative to the subject and inhibits the subject from rolling over from the lying position during normal operating conditions.

Accordingly, the present invention includes features and advantages which are believed to enable it to advance non-rollover technology. Characteristics and advantages of the present invention described above and additional features and benefits will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art upon consideration of the following detailed description of preferred embodiments and referring to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following figures are part of the present specification, included to demonstrate certain aspects of presently preferred embodiments of the invention and referenced in the detailed description herein.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing an embodiment of a non-rollover device being worn by an infant in a supine position in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top view of another embodiment of a non-rollover device in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing another embodiment of a non-rollover device being worn by an infant in a supine position in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 4 is a partial cutaway view of the non-rollover device of FIG. 1 showing a releasable connector useful for connecting a bumper member to the garment portion of the illustrated embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PRESENTLY PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Characteristics and advantages of the present invention and additional features and benefits will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art upon consideration of the following detailed description of presently preferred embodiments of the claimed invention and referring to the accompanying figures. It should be understood that the description herein and appended drawings, being of preferred embodiments, are not intended to limit the appended claims or the claims of any patent or patent application claiming priority to this application. On the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the claims. Many changes may be made to the particular embodiments and details disclosed herein without departing from such spirit and scope.

In showing and describing the preferred embodiments, like or identical reference numerals are used to identify common or similar elements. The figures are not necessarily to scale and certain features and certain views of the figures may be shown exaggerated in scale or in schematic in the interest of clarity and conciseness.

As used herein and throughout various portions (and headings) of this patent, the terms “invention”, “present invention” and variations thereof are not intended to mean the invention of every possible embodiment of the invention or any particular claim or claims. Thus, the subject matter of each such reference should not be considered as necessary for, or part of, every embodiment of the invention or any particular claim(s) merely because of such reference. Also, it should be noted that reference herein and in the appended claims to components and aspects in a singular tense does not necessarily limit the present invention to only one such component or aspect, but should be interpreted generally to mean one or more, as may be suitable and desirable in each particular instance.

Referring initially to FIG. 1, an embodiment of a non-rollover device 10 capable of preventing a subject 14 from rolling over, such as from a supine or prone position, under typical or normal conditions is shown. Typical or normal (operating) conditions are those conditions existing when the non-rollover device 10 is used under circumstances which will not inhibit the device from preventing a subject 14 from rolling over. Typical or normal conditions may vary depending upon the subject 14, environment or other factors. For example, typical conditions would not exist with subjects having physical or mental characteristics, such as the intelligence, coordination or strength, that would enable them to turn over while using the non-rollover device 10.

The illustrated subject 14 is an infant 18 up to approximately 6 months of age. However, the present invention is not limited to being used by infants 18, but may be used by humans of any age or even other animals, when suitable and desired. Thus, the present invention is not generally limited by the type of subject 14. As used herein, the terms “supine” and variations thereof mean lying generally on one's back or being generally face up. The terms “prone” and variations thereof mean lying generally on one's stomach, being prostrate or generally face down. It should be understood that, with respect to infants 18, it is believed the current preference to decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is to prevent rolling over from a supine position. However, there may be instances in which it is desirable to prevent a subject 14 from rolling over from a prone position or even some other lying position, such as the subject 14 lying on a side. The use herein of terms “lying” and variations thereof, without reference to the subject's orientation (e.g. supine, prone, sideways), is not limited to any particular orientation. Thus, the present invention is not limited by the particular lying position or orientation of the subject 14. PLEASE BE ADVISED, THE NON-ROLLOVER DEVICE 10 MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL INFANTS, OTHER PERSONS OR ANIMALS, OR ALL POSITIONS, ENVORINMENTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS PATENT DOES NOT AUTHORIZE USE OF THE NON-ROLLOVER DEVICE 10.

Still referring to the embodiment of FIG. 1, the non-rollover device 10 includes a garment portion 22 capable of being worn by the subject 14 and at least one bumper member 26 engageable with the garment portion 22. The garment portion 22 extends around at least part of the torso, or trunk, 16 of the subject 14 (i.e. between the arms and legs of the subject 14). The bumper members 26, when engaged with the garment portion 22, are designed to prevent the subject 14 from rolling over from (out of) the subject's lying start position.

The garment portion 22 may have any suitable form, configuration and construction. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the garment portion 22 is a long-sleeve, one-piece, footed pajama 28, such as constructed of 100% imported sea-island pima cotton and having a 14″ 35 cm open-end zipper 30 on its front. For another example, referring to the embodiment of FIG. 2, the garment portion 22 may be a short-sleeve legless baby suit 34, sometimes referred to as a “onesie.” In other embodiments, the garment portion 22 may be a shirt or other single piece item or include multiple pieces.

If the garment portion 22 has long sleeves, such as the sleeves 38 of the embodiment of FIG. 3, it may be desirable to include mitten cuffs 40. Mitten cuffs 40 are conventionally formed by folding back or turning over the end of the sleeve 38 to close off the arm-hole. Mitten cuffs 40 may be desirable, for example, to cover the hands of the subject 14, such as when the subject 14 is not covered with a blanket during use of the non-rollover device 10.

The bumper members 26 may likewise have any suitable form, configuration and construction. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, for example, the bumper members 26 are wedges 50 having a generally triangular cross-section. Each illustrated wedge 50 includes a foam core (not shown) and a cover 52 that extends over the core. The core and cover 52 may be constructed of any suitable material, such as, for example, material that is non-toxic, “baby friendly”, easy to clean, durable, comfortable, soft and/or flame-retardant. The core and cover 52 are shaped and sized as desired, such as to fit the associated garment portion 22, effectively prevent rollover of the subject 14, avoid undesired encumbrance to or contact with the subject 14 or a combination thereof. If desired, the wedge 50 may be a commercially available component or product, such is currently available under the name “Especially for Baby Mother's Choice Sleep Positioner” by Geoffrey, Inc. and sold by Toys ‘R’ Us, Inc. For other non-limiting examples, the bumper members 26 may have a generally wall-like shape or a rectangular, square or circular cross-sectional shape.

Still referring to the embodiment of FIG. 1, the bumper member(s) 26 may be included in any suitable quantity and may have any suitable location on the garment portion, so long as the bumper members 26 prevent the subject 14 from rolling over from the subject's lying start position under normal conditions. In the example of FIG. 1, there are two bumper members 26, each extending along a side 54, 58 of the garment portion 22 generally between the corresponding arm and leg portions 60, 62, respectively. In this particular configuration, the non-rollover device 10 prevents the subject 14 from rolling over from a starting supine or prone position under normal conditions. For another example, one or more bumper member (not shown) may be positioned between the left and right sides on the front of the garment portion 22, and another one or more bumper member positioned between the left and right sides on the back of the garment portion 22 to prevent the subject 14 from rolling over from a sideways lying start position.

The bumper members 26 are engageable with the garment portion 22 in any suitable manner. Engagement generally helps prevent the bumper members 26 from being moved away from the subject 14 under normal conditions to preserve the non-rollover capability of the device 10. In certain circumstances, engagement may also help prevent a bumper member 26 from becoming located over the head of the subject 14, smothering the subject 14 or otherwise undesirably abrading, contacting or disturbed the subject 14.

In the embodiment of FIG. 1, for example, the bumper members 26 are securely engaged with and selectively disengageable from the garment portion 22 by connectors 70. The bumper members 26 and garment portion 22 of this example are selectively, or controllably, disengageable under normal operating conditions because a third party, such as a parent of an infant subject, but not the subject 14, performs the disengagement. Allowing disengagement may be desirable, for example, to allow separate cleaning, repairing and/or replacement of the garment portion 22, bumper members 26 or a part thereof removal of the bumper members 26 or a part thereof, such as to allow the subject 14 to wear the garment portion 22 without restriction caused by the bumper member(s) 26, or other suitable reason.

The connectors 70 may have any suitable form, configuration and location. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, each connector 70 is a zipper 74 (see FIG. 4) extending between the garment portion 22 and each bumper member 26. For example, the zipper 74 may be a 9″ separating zipper sewn onto each side 54, 58 of the garment portion 22 and a corresponding part of each bumper member 26. In this embodiment, the zipper 74 provides secure connection and easy, selective disengagement of the garment portion 22 and bumper members 26. The illustrated location of the zipper 74 may generally prevent the zipper 74 from extending beneath the subject 14 during normal use, avoiding discomfort that could be caused thereby. For other examples, the connector 70 may include Velcro, snaps, buttons (not shown) or a combination thereof For yet other examples, the garment portion 22 and bumper members 26 may be permanently affixed, such as by sewing the bumper members 26, or one or more part thereof, to the garment portion 22. For still further examples, the bumper members 26 and garment portion 22, or one or more part thereof, may be integrally formed during manufacturing, such as a garment portion (not shown) formed with side pockets for holding the bumper members.

Referencing the example non-rollover device 10 of FIG. 1, an embodiment of a method for assisting in preventing a subject 14 from rolling over under normal conditions will now be described. The bumper member(s) 26 and non-rollover outfit 10 are connected together. The subject dons is placed into, or dons, the garment portion 22. The subject 14 is placed into or assumes the desired lying position, such as a supine position. The bumper members 26 maintain their general position relative to the subject 14 and at least inhibit the subject 26 from rolling over during normal operating conditions. Thereafter, if the bumper members 26 are removable from the garment portion 22, the bumper members 26 may be removed from the garment portion 22 and later reconnected or replaced.

Preferred embodiments of the present invention thus offer advantages over the prior art and are well adapted to carry out one or more of the objects of the invention. However, the present invention does not require each of the components and acts described above and is in no way limited to the above-described embodiments or methods of operation. Any one or more of the above components, features and processes may be employed in any suitable configuration without inclusion of other such components, features and processes. Moreover, the present invention includes additional features, capabilities, functions, methods, uses and applications that have not been specifically addressed herein but are, or will become, apparent from the description herein and the appended drawings and claims.

The methods described above and claimed herein and any other methods which may fall within the scope of the appended claims can be performed in any desired suitable order and are not necessarily limited to the sequence described herein or as may be listed in the appended claims. Further, the methods of the present invention do not necessarily require use of the particular embodiments shown and described in the present application, but are equally applicable with any other suitable structure, form and configuration of components.

While preferred embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, many variations, modifications and/or changes of the apparatus and methods of the present invention, such as in the components, details of construction and operation, arrangement of parts and/or methods of use, are possible, contemplated by the patentee, within the scope of the appended claims, and may be made and used by one of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the spirit or teachings of the invention and scope of appended claims. Thus, all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings should be interpreted as illustrative and the scope of the invention and the appended claims should not be limited to the embodiments described and shown herein.