Title:
Mattress protector
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mattress or surface protector is provided. The mattress or surface protector comprises a generally non-absorbent top layer and a waterproof/breathable bottom layer. The top layer and bottom layer are connected by borders providing a mechanism to inhibit spills from traversing the edges of the protector. The borders have straps that can be secured about the corners of the mattress or surface to anchor the protector.



Inventors:
Smith, Mary (Denver, CO, US)
Application Number:
11/343050
Publication Date:
08/02/2007
Filing Date:
01/30/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/691
International Classes:
A47C27/12; A47G9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LIU, JONATHAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOLLAND & HART, LLP (SALT LAKE CITY, UT, US)
Claims:
1. A surface protector having, comprising: a top water permeable layer having a first length and a second length a waterproof/breathable bottom layer substantially aligned with the top layer; at least one border connecting in a non-removable manner the top layer and the waterproof/breathable layer of the surface protector at an edge, the border forming a lip on the top layer, the lip substantially surrounding the top layer; and a pair of straps at a plurality of corners such that for each of the plurality of corners having a pair of straps each strap of the pair of straps are to extend from the top of the surface to be protected and are connectable to each other having a portion beneath the surface to be protected.

2. The protector of claim 1, wherein the top water permeable layer is non-absorbent.

3. The protector of claim 1, further comprising a padding layer between the top layer and the waterproof/breathable layer.

4. The protector of claim 1, wherein the at least one border comprises a plurality of border.

5. The protector of claim 4, wherein the plurality of border comprises: a first border along a first side of the protector, the first boarder terminating in straps at either end extending beyond the first side of the protector; a second border along a second side of the protector, the second side opposite the first side and substantially parallel the first side, the second border terminating in straps and extending beyond the second side of the protector; a third border along a third side of the protector, the third side connecting the first side and the second side and substantially perpendicular to the first side, the third border terminating in straps and extending beyond the third side of the protector; and a fourth border along a forth side of the protector, the fourth side opposite and parallel to the third side and connecting the first side and the second side, the fourth border terminating in straps and extending beyond the fourth side of the protector, wherein the straps are tied to secure the protector to a surface being protected.

6. The protector of claim 1, wherein the at least one border comprises an absorbent material.

7. The protector of claim 1, wherein the border comprises a waterproof/breathable material.

8. An apparatus to prevent liquid from penetrating to a surface; the apparatus comprising: a pad, the pad comprising a plurality of edges, each edge have an edge length; the pad comprising a top water permeable fabric layer and a bottom waterproof/breathable fabric layer; and a border along each of the plurality of edges such that the borders substantially surround the pad, the border connecting in a non-removable manner the top water permeable fabric layer and the bottom waterproof/breathable layer, each border having a boarder length longer than the edge length and terminating at each end in a strap, wherein the pad is connected to a surface by tying the straps of successive boarders together, such that the straps extend from above the surface to under the surface to be protected.

9. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the pad further comprises a padding layer between the top fabric layer and bottom waterproof/breathable fabric layer.

10. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the border are stitched to the pad.

11. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the border are adhered to the pad.

12. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the border are welded to the pad.

13. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the border comprise: an upper border connected to the top fabric layer; a bottom border connected to the bottom waterproof/breathable fabric layer; and a side connecting the upper border to the bottom border.

14. The apparatus of claim 13, further comprising a lip where the upper border connects to the top fabric layer.

15. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the border comprises a waterproof material.

16. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein the border is a waterproof/breathable material.

17. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the border is an absorbent material.

18. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the top water permeable layer is non-absorbent.

19. A mattress protector releasably connectable to a mattress having a length and a width, the mattress having a first side, a second side opposite the first side, a third side connecting the first side and second side, and a fourth connecting the first side and the second side opposite the third side forming a generally rectangular shape, the mattress protector comprising: a top water permeable fabric, the top water permeable fabric having a length and width substantially identical to the mattress length and width; a bottom waterproof/breathable fabric, the bottom waterproof/breathable fabric substantially aligned with the top water permeable layer; a padding interspersed between the top water permeable fabric and the bottom waterproof/breathable fabric; a plurality of U-shaped borders substantially surrounding the protector, the plurality of U-shaped borders comprising an upper border connected to the top water permeable fabric, a lower border connected to the bottom waterproof/breathable fabric, and a side connecting the upper border and the lower boarder and non-removably connecting the top water permeable fabric, the padding, and bottom waterproof/breathable fabric, a plurality of straps corresponding to a plurality of corners of the mattress for releasably coupling the mattress protector with the mattress by connecting the plurality of straps such that at least one of the straps extends from above to below the mattress at each corner, wherein the border inhibits liquid from traversing edges of the pad.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to bedding and, more particularly, to a mattress protector or pad to prevent seepage of liquid to or soiling of a mattress or top sheet of a made bed.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Preventing fluid from contacting a bedding top sheet or seeping through to a mattress is an age-old problem. Many solutions have been presented, but those solutions leave much to be desired.

One popular solution is a “mattress pad.” Mattress pads, however, are typically waterproof vinyl sheets. While the waterproof vinyl sheet prevents liquid from passing or seeping through, large spills or accidents traverse the sides of the mattress pad and contaminate the underlying mattress or top sheet. Also, a vinyl back sheet is not breathable and causes the bedding to become hot and uncomfortable to a person.

To inhibit liquid from traversing the sides of the mattress pad, some products include a super moisture absorbent material on the vinyl sheet. The waterproof vinyl sheet resides between the super absorbent material and the surface to be protected, such as the mattress. The super absorbent material wicks or pulls moisture from the source, for example, the person, and retains the liquid suspended in the material. The liquid moves from the source through the material by convection or the like. By pulling the moisture away from the source, a person (for example) would not feel the discomfort associated with the moisture. Over time, the super absorbent material may become saturated or traverse to the edge of the super absorbent material. At which time, the liquid may traverse the edge of the mattress pad or penetrate the mattress pad and contaminate the underlying mattress or top sheet.

Moreover, with lesser amounts of liquid, the spill may be retained in the super absorbent material undetected by the users. The waterproof backing causes the moisture (whether retained in the super absorbent material or not) to stagnate. The stagnated liquid can become infected and is at a minimum unhygienic. Some pads with absorbent material include antibacterial materials to reduce the probability of bacteria growing. Adding antibacterial material partially solves the issue, but increases costs and complexity of the protector. Also, antibacterial material only partially inhibits the growth of bacteria.

The conventional mattress pad provides limited protection and hygienic issues as described above in the best of situations. Most mattress pads suffer the additional drawback of being either fitted sheets, connectable only to bed posts or rails, or free standing.

Fitted sheets work well to protect a mattress and prevent movement of the pad. But once liquid is spilled on the fitted sheet, the sheet is difficult to remove. In some instances, liquid contained by the fitted sheet can contact the mattress during the struggle to remove a contaminated sheet. Sheets connectable to bed posts or rails only have limited applicability. These pads have ties or snaps on the edges that hook around crib rails or bedposts. Freestanding sheets can be used on most beds. But they tend to move, bunch, or the like even if tucked under the mattress causing the underlying surface to become exposed. Other solutions to fix the pad to the mattress tend to involve complex attachment mechanisms.

U.S. Pat. No. 1,621,149, to Blissitt, discloses an early mattress pad. Blissitt comprises a protective sheet above and below a mattress. The protective sheets each consist of a rubber, water impervious, non-breathable bottom layer closest to the mattress proper. The protective sheets are maintained in place by straps on the top sheet connectable to buckles attached to the bottom sheet.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,620,494, to Kay, discloses another mattress pad. Kay comprises rubber water impervious, non-breathable layer closest to the mattress. Sewn to the rubber layer is a pair of mesh materials. Loops coupled to the edges of the mesh materials allow a strap to be threaded through the loops. When placed on the mattress, the strap is tightened causing the loops to pull the edges down and secure the sheet to the mattress.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,761,973, to Leventhal, discloses another mattress pad. Leventhal provides a series absorption pads, with water impervious, non-breathable bottoms, sealed to each other. The series of absorption pads are attached to a bottom sheet, which can be tucked to secure the mattress pad protector. As each of the series are spoiled, they can be removed by ripping the soiled absorption pads away from the series of absorption pads.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,286,002, to Strong, discloses a mattress pad including absorbent material. Strong provides a bottom non-liquid permeable sheet on which shredded material is located. The shredded material absorbs any spills.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,391,010, to Kronman, discloses another absorbent mattress pad. Kronman provides a thin liquid impervious material that supports a liquid absorbent material. The sheet is sufficiently wide to allow it to be tucked under the mattress to secure the mattress pad in place.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,524,474, to Svensson, discloses another absorbent mattress pad. In particular, Svensson provides filaments in the absorbent layer to section the absorbent layer and prevent it from stiffening while it becomes saturated with liquid to further the use of pad after it is soiled.

United States Patent Application Publication 2002/0124313, to Cook et al., discloses another mattress pad. Cook et al. discloses a flexible sheet having a “pouch pair.” The pouch pair releasable holds an absorbent article. As the absorbent article is soiled, it can be removed, replaced, and washed. The flexible sheet is secured to the mattress by tucking the flexible sheet under the mattress.

United States Patent Application Publication 2003/0121101, to Corzani et al., and United States Patent Application Publication 2003/0163870, to Porter et al., disclose disposable mattress pads. In particular, the disposable pad comprises a moisture permeable fibrous layer having a waterproof/breathable thermoplastic coating. Corzani et al. and Porter et al. are disposable pads because the waterproof/breathable thermoplastic coating washes away after a few washings.

Thus, it would be desirous to provide a mattress protector that is easily securable to any type of mattress and bed frame to prevent the protector from moving, bunching, and the like. Moreover, it would be desirous to provide a mattress protector that did not lose its waterproof/breathable backing after a few washes. Also, it would be desirous to provide a mattress protector that inhibited liquid from traversing the edges of the protector.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To attain the advantages of and in accordance with the purpose of the present invention, a surface protector is provided. The surface protector comprises a top water top water permeable layer having a first length and a second length. The lengths are typically consistent with the mattress or surface being protected. A waterproof/breathable bottom layer is substantially aligned with the top layer. The top and bottom layer are connected with at least one border connecting the top layer and the waterproof/breathable layer of the surface protector at an edge, the border forming a lip on the top layer. A pair of straps at a plurality of corners such that the pair of straps can be connected beneath the surface to be protected

The foregoing and other features, utilities and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of a preferred embodiment of the invention as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is an top side plan view of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a corner of the invention partially exploded;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the invention;

FIG. 4 shows the invention of FIG. 1 attached to an underlying surface;

FIG. 5 shows an alternative connector to the one shown in FIG. 4; and

FIG. 6 shows another connector.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention will be described with reference to FIGS. 1-6. While the present invention is described with reference to a mattress protector, one of ordinary skill in the art will recognize on reading the disclosure that the invention described herein can be used to protect any number of surfaces including, for example, chairs, car seats, tabletops, and the like.

Referring to FIG. 1, a top elevation view of mattress protector 100 is shown. Mattress protector 100 includes a top layer 102 and a bottom layer 104 (which is better seen in FIGS. 2 and 3). Top layer 102 can be any fabric and is designed primarily for comfort. Top layer 102 my be, for example, a cotton, fleece, knit, woven, or non-woven. Bottom layer 104 is a waterproof breathable fabric, such as, for example, GOR-TEX® available from W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. Unlike the waterproof/breathable treatments described above, waterproof/breathable fabrics retain the waterproof/breathability after numerous washings. Optionally, one or more padding layers 106 (seen in FIGS. 2 and 3) may be provided between top layer 102 and bottom layer 104 for comfort. Padding layer 106 may be a woven or non-woven fabric, with or without foams. Top layer 102 and any padding layer 106 are water permeable layers, but not especially designed to be absorbent. Because they are not particularly absorbent, a user or caregiver would readily detect when the pad is wet or soiled. Generally, top layer 102, bottom layer 104, and any padding layer 106 are the same size and comprise a width W and length L.

Top layer 102 and bottom layer 104, as well as padding layer 106 if used, are connected together by a plurality of borders 108 and 110. Border 108 is aligned along the length of mattress protector 100 and has a length L′. Border 110 is aligned along the width of mattress protector 100 and has a length W′. L′ and W′ are each longer than L and W such that each of borders 108 and 110 have a pair of straps 118 extending beyond edges 120 of mattress protector 100. While shown as separate, borders 108 and 110 may be combined into a single board. Moreover, straps 118 are shown as contiguous with borders 108 and 110, but straps 118 may be separate as a matter of design choice. As seen in FIG. 3, borders 108 and 110 comprise a U shaped ribbon fabric with an upper border 112, a side 114, and a lower border 116. Upper border 112 is attached to top layer 102 using a stitch 124. Lower border 116 is attached to bottom layer 104 using stitch 124 also. Stitch 124 can be replaced with an adhesive layer 126 on the inside of borders 108 and 110. Borders 108 and 110 inhibit any liquid from traversing past the edges of mattress protector 100 and potentially soiling the underlying mattress. Borders 108 and 110 may comprise a waterproof material, such as vinyl, or a waterproof/breathable materials, such as GORE-TEX®. Alternatively, borders 108 and 110 may comprise an absorbent material to inhibit liquid from traversing the edges.

Referring to FIG. 2, a corner 122 of mattress protector 100 is shown partially exploded. For convenience and easy of reference, borders 108 and 110 as well as straps 118 have been removed in FIG. 2. As shown, top layer 102, bottom layer 104, and padding layer 106 are shown as generally the same size. However, the layers can vary in size as a matter of design choice. Optionally, an adhesive 202 could be applied between top layer 102 and padding layer 106 to maintain the alignment of top layer 102 and padding layer 106. Adhesive 202 also may inhibit bunching. An adhesive 204 could be applied between padding 106 and bottom layer 104 as well. Adhesives 202 and 204 could be used together or separately. Adhesives 202 and 204 could be the same or different material and comprise a glue or heat weld material.

Referring now to FIG. 3, a cross-sectional view of mattress protector 100 along width W is shown. Mattress protector 100 includes optional padding layer 106 between top layer 102 and bottom layer 104. U shaped borders 108 reside on opposite ends of mattress protector 100. A cross-sectional view of mattress protector 100 along length L would be substantially the same and is not shown for convenience. Borders 108 including upper border 112, lower border 116 and side 114. Borders 108, top layer 102, bottom layer 104, and optional padding layer 106 may be connected together using stitch 124, as shown for the left border 108 in FIG. 2. Alternatively, coupling material 126, such as an adhesive or a thermal weld, may be used to connect the layers together as shown on the right border 108 in FIG. 2. While shown as a continuous adhesive or weld layer, coupling material 126 may be non-contiguous.

As shown, upper border 112 provides a lip 302. For large spills or accidents, lip 302 inhibits liquid from traversing the edges of mattress protector 100 and further inhibits the ability of spills or accidents to soil the surface or bedding beneath the protector. Lower border 116 provides a similar lip 304. Lip 302 and lip 304 extend substantially around edge 120 of protector 100 to inhibit large spills from traversing the edges.

As mentioned in relation to the prior art, one of the defects with current mattress pads are that they either use fitted sheets, are free standing, have complex attachment mechanisms, or are designed for use with particular types of bed frames. Mattress protector 100 is generally sized with a length L and a width W sufficient for a particular style mattress 400, such as crib, twin, double, queen, king, or the like. Borders 108 and 110 are arranged such that a pair of straps 118 exist at each corner of mattress protector 100. Straps 118 can be tied together using a knot 402 under each corner 404 of mattress 400. Thus, the mattress protector 100 is easily fitted to any style mattress and bed frame. Alternative to the knot 402, which could be any conventional knot although a bow is envisioned, straps 118 could be connected using snaps 500, shown in FIG. 5. Snaps 500 include a male portion 502 snapped into female potion 504. Alternatively, each pair of straps 118 could have a hook and loop connector 600. Hook and loop connector 600 would comprise hook material 602 and corresponding loop material 604 on ends 606 of straps 118. The loop and hook material would engage and hold straps 118 in place, similar to VELCRO®, which is available from Velcro Industries B.V.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to an embodiment thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various other changes in the form and details may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.