Title:
INFANT HEAD SUPPORT, SAFETY AND COMFORTING DEVICE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An infant head and neck support comprises a support body having two substantially flat shoulder surfaces and two side support portions to restrain lateral movement of the infant's head and provide support to the infant's neck. The support also includes a rear support portion having a head contacting surface to restrain rearward movement and provide rear cushioning to the infant's head and a wrap-around portion to restrain movement and provide support to the infant's head. The support defines a depression adjacent the rear support portion to receive an infant's head and a neck cavity between the side support portions. The maximum width of the depression is larger than the maximum width of the neck cavity. The thickness of the wrap-around portion and the thicknesses of the side portions are larger than the thickness of the rear support portion.



Inventors:
Thomas, Victor S. (Franklin Lakes, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/835106
Publication Date:
02/14/2008
Filing Date:
08/07/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C16/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LIU, JONATHAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOODARD, EMHARDT, HENRY, REEVES & WAGNER, LLP (INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An infant support to support the head and neck of an infant in an infant retaining device, said support comprising a resilient support body having a front surface, a back surface and two substantially flat shoulder surfaces, wherein said support body includes two side support portions to restrain lateral movement of the infant's head and provide support to the infant's neck, a rear support portion having a head contacting surface to restrain rearward movement of the infant's head and provide rear cushioning to the infant's head, and a wrap-around portion to restrain movement and provide support to the infant's head, wherein said support defines a depression adjacent said rear support portion configured to at least partially receive an infant's head and an adjacent neck cavity between said side support portions, wherein the maximum width of the depression is larger than the maximum width of the neck cavity and the width of said support body increases from said wrap-around portion to said side support portions to support an infant's neck, wherein the thickness of said wrap-around portion and the thicknesses of said side portions are larger than the thickness of said rear support portion.

2. The support of claim 1, wherein said side portions and said wrap-around portion are composed of at least one solid foam piece.

3. The support of claim 1, wherein said head contacting surface is substantially flat.

4. The support of claim 1, wherein said head contacting surface is substantially concave.

5. The support of claim 1, wherein said support includes at least one loop configured to receive a seat belt to removably secure said support in an infant retaining device.

6. The support of claim 1, said support comprising a removable cover surrounding said support body, wherein said cover includes a closure mechanism to allow for selective removal of said cover.

7. The support of claim 6, wherein said cover includes at least one pocket.

8. The support of claim 1, wherein said support body includes at least one pocket.

9. The support of claim 1, wherein said support body includes adjustability means for increasing the size of said depression.

10. The support of claim 9, wherein said adjustability means includes a perforation in said support body configured to allow a section of said body to detach to increase the size of said depression.

11. An infant support to support the head and neck of an infant in an infant retaining device, said support comprising a main body portion to restrain lateral movement of an infant's head and provide support to an infant's neck and a rear support portion to provide rear cushioning to an infant's head and to restrain rearward movement of an infant's head, wherein said rear support portion is inset from said main body portion, wherein said main body portion is composed of a solid foam piece and terminates in two substantially flat shoulder rest surfaces configured to rest on an infant's shoulders, wherein said main body portion includes two widened neck support areas adjacent said flat shoulder rest surfaces which increase in width toward said flat shoulder rest surfaces to provide support to an infant's neck.

12. The support of claim 11, wherein said rear support portion includes a bottom surface substantially parallel to said shoulder rest surfaces, the bottom surface being offset from said should rest surfaces to create a neck cavity.

13. The support of claim 11, wherein said rear support portion includes a maximum width and a bottommost width adjacent said neck support areas, wherein said maximum width is at least one and a half times larger than said bottommost width.

14. The support of claim 11, said support comprising a removable cover surrounding said main body portion and said rear support potion, wherein said cover includes a closure mechanism to allow for selective removal of said cover.

15. An infant support to support an infant in an infant retaining device, said support comprising a body support and a head support, wherein the head support is configured to at least partially surround an infant's head and is composed of a solid foam material, wherein said head support terminates in two substantially flat shoulder surfaces and includes two widened side support portions adjacent said flat shoulder surfaces to restrain lateral movement of an infant's head and provide support to an infant's neck.

16. The support of claim 15, wherein said body support and said head support are two separate solid foam pieces, with said head support attached to said body support.

17. The support of claim 15, said support comprising at least one cover to surround said body support and said head support.

18. The support of claim 17, wherein said cover includes at least one pocket.

19. The support of claim 15, said support comprising means for attachment to an infant retaining device.

20. The support of claim 15, wherein said head support is adjustable in height relative to said body support.

21. The support of claim 15, wherein said head support is adjustable in width relative to said body support.

22. The support of claim 15, wherein said body support and said head support are composed of a single solid foam piece.

23. The support of claim 15, wherein said head support includes a rear support portion having a head contacting surface to restrain rearward movement of the infant's head and provide rear cushioning to the infant's head.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/821,972, filed Aug. 10, 2006 entitled INFANT HEAD SUPPORT, SAFETY AND COMFORTING DEVICE, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety and U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/829,586, filed Oct. 16, 2006, entitled INFANT HEAD SUPPORT, SAFETY AND COMFORTING DEVICE, which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND

This disclosure relates in general to certain new and useful head supports for use with infant retaining devices and the like, and more particularly, to an infant head support which is adapted to be easily removably positioned in an infant retaining device for cushioning and laterally supporting the head of an infant as well as providing physical and emotional comfort and safety for the infant.

It has long been recognized that it is necessary to cushion and support the head of an infant due to the fact that the child's head is still pliable and the neck muscles of the infant have not developed to the point where they are capable of supporting the head. Failure to adequately support the head of an infant, even when carrying the infant, can result in a severe injury to, if not a fatality of the infant. Allowing contact of the infant's head with a rigid surface can affect the shape of the child's head and in some cases require treatment to correct deformation of a child's head. Further, an infant's comfort and security can be enhanced by providing gentle, but not rigid support for its head.

There is a need for an infant head support in both static and dynamic situations. In the static situation, that is, when there is no movement of the infant in a retaining device, there is a need to preclude the head of the infant from rolling from an erect position, or a position of alignment with the torso, to a position where it engages a shoulder. When the infant's head is aligned with the torso, there is no neck muscle fatigue and the infant is capable of sleeping or resting more comfortably. If support is not absolute, the infant is able begin to move its head to some slight extent, developing the neck muscles and learning to control those muscles without the risk of injury.

There is a more pronounced need for infant head support in a dynamic situation, that is, when the retaining device adopts the form of a transporting device and the infant is being moved, whether in a vehicle, transported outside a vehicle or where the retaining device features a pattern of movement as part of its normal function. In these transporting devices in which a child can experience movement, as in a turning action, movement can cause the infant's head to roll to one side toward a shoulder. The need of a head support at the sides of the head and along the resting surface of the child's head is even more critical when protecting the infant's head against a sudden jolting movement, as for example, in the case of a sudden impact. This type of movement can be significantly hazardous to the infant, resulting in injury, if not fatality.

Notwithstanding the well recognized need to support the head of an infant, many types of baby equipment are designed without considering the need for head support. This is particularly true in the case of baby carriages, strollers, swings, auxiliary vehicle seats such as car seats, and the like. As a simple example, in the case of a stroller, safety devices, such as a seat restraining strap and the like, are included. However, there is no feature within the seat portion of the stroller to support the head of the infant. This is particularly distressing in the situation where many of these devices are designed specifically for infants and children of relatively early ages.

In recent years, the use of seat belts for retaining passengers in automotive vehicles, and particularly, passenger automobiles, have generally become mandatory as a measure designed to save the lives and reduce injuries to a vehicle's occupants in the event of a collision or other accident. Moreover, the retention of children and particularly, infants, in auxiliary automotive seats, often referred to as “car seats”, has also become mandatory as a means of reducing the incidence of death or serious injury to children in automotive vehicles as a result of accidents or collisions. Furthermore, many governmental agencies have enacted laws which mandate the use of auxiliary automotive vehicle seats for children under certain ages, and particularly, for use with infants. Newborns brought home from the hospital are typically required to be carried in a carrier seat.

The conventional automotive auxiliary seat for children is adapted to be secured to the conventional seat of the automobile, usually with the available seat belt harness. Moreover, these vehicle seats have been proven to be highly effective for children of one year of age and older, since children of these ages have significantly developed neck muscles to the point that they are at least somewhat capable of preventing their heads from being jolted severely in the event of a vehicle accident or collision. However, children generally under one year of age have not significantly developed neck muscles to the point that they are capable of controlling the movement of their head in the event of a serious collision of the vehicle and which might result in the sudden throwing or jolting of their head from side to side.

The conventional auxiliary automotive vehicle seats which are adapted to retain children are usually constructed so that they are capable of retaining children over a large age range. Thus, the conventional auxiliary automotive vehicle seat may be adapted to hold a child from age one month to about five years. It may be appreciated that over this time span, the size of the child will significantly increase. As a result, the auxiliary car seats must be constructed so that they are capable of receiving a child commensurate with the size in the oldest of this age range. Thus, the vehicle seat is a compromise design and not particularly adapted to adequately and properly support the head of an infant.

It is, therefore, one of the primary objects of the present disclosure to provide an infant head support for use with infant retaining devices which is adapted to cushion the back of an infant's head and to laterally support.

It is an additional object of the present disclosure to provide an infant's head substantial support without completely restricting any effort of the infant to move its head and to cushion all areas of contact to minimize any deformation of the infant's head.

It is another object of the present disclosure to provide an infant head support for use with infant retaining devices of the type stated in which the head support can be easily installed, removed and positioned within an infant retaining device and is capable of conforming to and being received by a wide variety of different types of infant retaining devices.

It is still another object of the present disclosure to provide an infant head support of the type stated which is highly effective in supporting an infant's head against lateral movement when used in a static mode to preclude an infant's head from rolling to one side or the other, or in a dynamic mode to reduce the impact of a rolling or jolting force on the head of the infant.

It is also an object of the present disclosure to provide an infant head support of the type stated which can be used with a wide variety of infant retaining devices, including for example, auxiliary car seats, swing seats, baby strollers and the like.

It is also an object of the present disclosure to provide an infant head support which can provide a variety of sounds capable of comforting the infant when the infant is confined away from a parent, particularly its mother.

It is also an object of the present disclosure to provide an infant head support capable of being conformed to the heads of infants of a variety of ages and having heads of various sizes by means of a simple adjustment.

With the above and other objects in view, my disclosure resides in the novel features of form, construction, arrangement, and combination of components presently described and pointed out in the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an infant head support according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an infant head support according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an infant head support according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an infant head support according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an infant head support according to one embodiment of the present disclosure positioned in a conventional child's car seat.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a carrier cushion and head support combination suitable for use in a carrier.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a carrier cover and head support combination suitable for use in a carrier.

SUMMARY

In certain embodiments, an infant support to support the head and neck of an infant in an infant retaining device comprises a resilient support body having a front surface, a back surface and two substantially flat shoulder surfaces. The support body includes two side support portions to restrain lateral movement of the infant's head and provide support to the infant's neck, a rear support portion having a head contacting surface to restrain rearward movement of the infant's head and provide rear cushioning to the infant's head, and a wrap-around portion to restrain movement and provide support to the infant's head. The support defines a depression adjacent the rear support portion configured to at least partially receive an infant's head and an adjacent neck cavity between the side support portions. The maximum width of the depression is larger than the maximum width of the neck cavity and the width of the support body increases from the wrap-around portion to the side support portions to support an infant's neck. The thickness of the wrap-around portion and the thicknesses of the side portions are larger than the thickness of the rear support portion.

In certain embodiments, an infant support to support the head and neck of an infant in an infant retaining device comprises a main body portion to restrain lateral movement of an infant's head and provide support to an infant's neck and a rear support portion to provide rear cushioning to an infant's head and to restrain rearward movement of an infant's head. The rear support portion is inset from the main body portion. Additionally, the main body portion is composed of a solid foam piece and terminates in two substantially flat shoulder rest surfaces configured to rest on an infant's shoulders. The main body portion includes two widened neck support areas adjacent the flat shoulder rest surfaces which increase in width toward the flat shoulder rest surfaces to provide support to an infant's neck.

In certain embodiments, an infant support to support an infant in an infant retaining device comprises a body support and a head support. The head support is configured to at least partially surround an infant's head and is composed of a solid foam material. Additionally, the head support terminates in two substantially flat shoulder surfaces and includes two widened side support portions adjacent the flat shoulder surfaces to restrain lateral movement of an infant's head and provide support to an infant's neck.

DESCRIPTION

For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles of the disclosure, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated in the drawings and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the disclosure is thereby intended, such alterations and further modifications in the illustrated device, and such further applications of the principles of the disclosure as illustrated therein being contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the disclosure relates.

Referring generally to FIG. 1, there is shown an infant head and neck support 20 to provide support, safety and comfort for an infant's head and neck. Infant head and neck support 20 is configured to retain an infant's head in a position generally aligned with the torso at a point in the life of the infant when the neck muscles are not strong enough to support its head. In certain embodiments, support 20 is cut from a sheet of solid foam material and exists in the form of an upside-down generally U or V-shaped body 22 having a front surface 22a and a back surface 22b. Body 22 additionally includes a generally arcuate-shaped top surface 22c and generally straight shoulder rest or bottom surfaces 22d. Body 22 includes side support portions 24 and 26 providing lateral support to an infant's head, preventing the head of the infant from uncontrollably rolling to one side or from one side to the other. Additionally, body 22 includes a wrap-around portion 25 and an inset rear support portion 27. Body 22 includes a height H, which in certain embodiments is about 7 inches. However it should be appreciated that height H can be greater or less than 7 inches as would occur to one skilled in the art.

Body 22 defines a depression area 28 configured to receive an infant's head, with rear support portion 27 having a bottom surface 29 and a head contacting surface 30. Depression area 28 is configured to receive the head of an infant and is thus shaped to conform thereto. Head contacting surface 30, in the illustrated embodiment, includes a generally concave shape corresponding to the shape of an infant's head. However, it should be appreciated that head contacting surface 30 can be generally flat or could be shaped differently as would occur to one skilled in the art. In the illustrated embodiment, a thickness TH1 of depression area 28 is about half of the thickness TH2 of side support portions 24 and 26 of body 22. In some embodiments, TH1 is about three-quarters of TH2. As an example, TH1 may be about 3 inches and TH2 may be about 4 inches. Accordingly, the thickness TH2 of side support portions 24 and 26 is greater than the thickness of rear support portion 27. It is contemplated that the thicknesses of depression area 28 and side support portions 24 and 26 can be greater or less than as mentioned above, as would occur to one skilled in the art.

Head contacting surface 30 of rear support portion 27 provides rear padding support for an infant's head. When positioned in a car seat, the padding support of portion 27 can provide protection and cushioning in the case of sudden braking, or other such abrupt dynamic events, involving a vehicle in which an infant may be riding. In certain embodiments, depression area 28 is configured and sized to allow for slight movement of an infant's head. Allowing for slight movement can provide comfort to the infant and can assist in muscle development in the infant's neck and head regions.

Wall 32 between front surface 22a and head contacting surface 30 can be straight, as in the illustrated embodiment. However, it should be appreciated that wall 32 can be sloped or inclined from surface 22a to head contacting surface 30. In the illustrated embodiment, wall 32 is generally arcuate in shape around depression area 28. Additionally, in the illustrated embodiment, bottom surface 29 of rear support portion 27 is offset from shoulder surfaces 22d, creating a neck cavity or cut-away area 34. Cut-away area 34 is configured such that an infant's neck can be positioned at least partially in area 34, with bottom surfaces 22d adapted to engage the shoulder regions of an infant. In the illustrated embodiment, area 34 is adjacent depression area 28.

Depression area 28 and rear support portion 27 include a maximum width WD, cut-away portion 34 includes a width WN, and bottom surface 29 of rear support portion 27 includes a width WB. As illustrated, maximum width WD of rear support portion 27 is larger than width WN of cut-away portion 34, such that the head and neck support 20 narrows at the neck region of the infant to better support the infant's neck. Correspondingly, the width of support 20 increases in a direction from wrap-around portion 25 down to side support portions 24 and 26. In certain embodiments, width WB of bottom surface 29 is substantially equal to width WN of cut-away portion 34. Further, in certain embodiments, maximum width WD of rear support portion 27 is at least one and a half times larger than width WB of bottom surface 29 (and width WN of cut-away portion 34).

FIG. 2 illustrates infant head and neck support 20 from a view facing back surface 22b. Infant head and neck support 20 can include a cover 40 surrounding body 22. In certain embodiments, cover 40 is removable and includes a selective closure mechanism (not shown) to provide access to body 22 and/or to remove cover 40 for cleaning. In this way, cover 40 may be removed and cleaned or otherwise replaced if it should become soiled or dirty. As examples, the closure mechanism can be a suitable zipper or other opening and closing means for purposes of removing cover 40 from the infant head and neck support 20. In certain other embodiments, cover 40 remains positioned about support 20 via a friction fit. In such embodiments, the cover may include front and back ends which overlap about the arcuate-shaped top surface of support 20. In some embodiments, cover 40 is washable and is made of a hypoallergenic material. Additionally, cover 40 can include an application of a stain guard coating to protect the cover material against stains and assist in preventing permanent staining of cover 40. Additionally, in certain embodiments, cover 40 can include an application of an antibacterial composition. In some embodiments, cover 40 can be composed at least partially of a fire retardant material or include a fire retardant composition. It is contemplated that cover 40 could include ties (not shown) to assist in securing head and neck support 20 to a car seat or other child carrier.

Infant head and neck support 20 can include loops 50 to removably secure infant head and neck support 20 to infant retaining devices such as an auxiliary vehicle seat or a conventional child's car seat, as examples. In certain embodiments, loops 50 are used to secure infant head and neck support 20 to a car seat by receiving the shoulder straps of the car seat through loops 50. In such embodiments, loops 50 may be sewn at one end to cover 40 and attachable to cover 40 at the other end via snaps, so that the loops 50 may be wrapped around the shoulder, straps of the car seat and then snapped to cover 40 to secure the support in place. In certain embodiments in which cover 40 is absent, loops 50 can be secured to back surface 22b of infant head and neck support 20 near bottom surfaces 22d. It should be appreciated that loops 50 can be positioned at various locations on back surface 22b or cover as would occur to one skilled in the art. Alternatively, it is contemplated that various attachment mechanisms could be used to attach infant head and neck support 20 to infant retaining devices. As an example, adhesive strips with releasable backings could be utilized to removably and adhesively attach to infant head and neck support 20 to the back wall of an infant retaining device, such as a conventional car seat. As other examples, hook and loop fasteners or snaps could be used to secure infant head and neck support 20 to an infant retaining device.

FIG. 3 illustrates an infant head and neck support 120 having a cover 140 including a pocket 160. Pocket 160 can be a temporary or more permanent storage area for various items. In embodiments in which cover 140 is absent, body 122 can include a recessed receiving area, such as a pocket, to receive and store various items. Pocket 160 can be configured to receive a playing device to play music or other sounds to soothe and comfort an infant. In certain embodiments, the playing device could also be a recording device. In such cases, a person could record various sounds on the device such as music, the mother's heartbeat, voices or other such sounds. Additionally, in other embodiments, various items can be placed in pocket 160. Examples include a pacifier, tissue, toys and/or various other items as would occur to one skilled in the art.

Additionally, in certain embodiments, pocket 160 can include a closure mechanism. The closure mechanism can be a zipper, buttons, engaging flaps of material, hook and loop fastener or other appropriate closure mechanism as would occur to one skilled in the art. In the illustrated embodiment, pocket 160 is positioned on cover 140 adjacent back surface 122b of infant head and neck support 120. However, it should be appreciated that pocket 160 can be positioned at other locations as would occur to one skilled in the art, such as adjacent front surface 122a as an example.

Referring to FIG. 4, there is illustrated an infant head and neck support 220 configured to be adjustable and grow with the infant. In certain embodiments, infant head and neck support 220 can correspond to at least two differing sizes of a child's head. In the illustrated embodiment, infant head and neck support 220 includes a body 222 defining a smaller depression area 228, similar to head supports 20 and 120. Additionally, as illustrated, infant head and neck support 220 can include a perforation 270 defining a larger depression area 272. In certain embodiments, body 222 includes a removable section 274 inside perforation 270. Infant head and neck support 220 is configured such that larger depression area 272 includes smaller depression area 228 and removable section 274 of body 222. In certain embodiments, perforation 270 is configured such that removable section 274 can easily be removed or torn from the remainder of body 222 to provide a larger depression area 272 for a child's head. It is contemplated that infant head and neck support 220 can include other appropriate mechanisms to provide adjustability corresponding to the growth of a child and change in head size. As another example, the infant head and neck support may include a separate inner piece corresponding to a removable section, such as section 274, which can be removed as desired with growth of the child. In such embodiments, the inner separate piece remains in contact with the remainder of the support via a friction fit or other such appropriate mechanism as would occur to one skilled in the art.

FIG. 5 illustrates infant head and neck support 20 positioned in an infant retaining device such as conventional car seat 80. The use of support 20 is for illustration purposes only and it should be appreciated that support 120 could also be used with car seat 80 in a similar manner. As illustrated, infant head and neck support 20 is positioned near the top of car seat 80 corresponding to the positioning of an infant's head. The infant head support is positioned snugly but removably within car seat 80 and provides lateral support and back cushioning support, among other features, for the infant's head.

In certain embodiments, infant head and neck support 20 is sufficiently resilient so as to conform to the size and shape of the infant and to fit snugly within the infant retaining device, such as car seat 80. When infant head and neck support 20 is positioned between the infant and the retaining device, it functions as a wedge, although a somewhat flexible one, to hold the infant securely in a fixed position. In this way, when an infant is retained in the car seat, the infant's head and upper torso section are protected against lateral movement.

For purposes of more fully setting forth the principles and operation of the disclosure, infant head and neck support 20 is described for use in connection with an auxiliary vehicle seat, such as car seat 80 above. However, it is to be understood that the description as set forth hereinafter is only for purposes of illustrating the construction and principles of use of the head support and that such description in connection with an automotive vehicle seat is not to be taken in a limiting sense. Thus, the infant head support will be equally usable and is also equally effective in other forms of infant retaining devices, such as conventional baby swings, baby strollers, etc.

The type of conventional car seat, as illustrated, is sized to retain the occupant therein, and typically, is sized to accommodate a large age range of children, as for example, from one month to about five years of age. Thus, the car seat is typically larger than desirable for holding and retaining an infant or small child therein. In this case, infant head and neck support 20 may be inserted in car seat 80 in the manner as illustrated in FIG. 5. Infant head and neck support 20 may be capable of being removably retained within car seat 80 in the manner as illustrated and described. Infant head and neck support 20 may be removably retained in the sense that it is readily and easily removable from car seat 80, or other infant retaining devices. Normally, infant head and neck support 20 would be positioned and retained in an infant retaining device and would remain there until needed for use in another infant retaining device. Thus, there is no requirement to provide a separate infant head support for each infant retaining device.

FIG. 6 illustrates a carrier body cushion and head support combination 300 having an upside-down generally V or U-shaped head support member 322 positioned upon the upper region of the body support cushion 360. Support combination 300 includes a head contacting surface 330 within a cavity 328. The contacting surface 330 can be provided by the upper region of the body support cushion 360 or a separate member that would result from placing a support such as head and neck support 20 (FIG. 1) on body support cushion 360. Head contacting surface 330 provides rear support for an infant's head within depression 328. Support combination 300 may optionally include slits 370 corresponding to slits in the associated carrier to allow the combined unit to be secured by seat belts and the like. Combination 300 is adapted to fit into an associated carrier. Additionally, combination 300 may be constructed from a single piece of solid foam material or separate pieces of solid foam material. A separate V or U-shaped head support member 322 can be maintained in position with a cover (see FIG. 7), an adhesive, two-face tape, hook and loop fasteners, or other means or maintained in place by a cover that encases the combination 300. Further, in certain embodiments, head support member 322 may be adjustable in height relative to body cushion 360 to adjust to an infant's height and properly position the head support to accommodate the child in a position of comfort. In such embodiments, head support member 322 may be height-adjustable in various manners, such as translating upward or downward through a sliding mechanism as an example. Additionally, in certain embodiments, head support member 322 may be adjustable in width corresponding to a growing infant head size. In such embodiments, the depression area of the head support member may be enlarged in various manners to growth with the infant.

In certain embodiments, combination 300 additionally includes a cover conforming generally to its outer shape, such as cover 400 illustrated in FIG. 7. Cover 400 may include a pocket 480 to receive head support member 322. Support combination 300 and cover 400 together include a head contacting surface 430 within a cavity 428. Additionally, the cover may include slits corresponding to slits in the support combination. A first embodiments of cover 400 suitable for use with the cushion combination 300 having head support member 322 physically attached to support body cushion 360 can have a pocket 480 which lacks a rear side, allowing the cover to fit over both head support member 322 and support body cushion 360. A second embodiment of cover 400 suitable for use with the cushion combination 300 having head support member 322 unattached to support body cushion 360 may have a separate pocket 480 with a back side and having a closeable opening in the pocket for placement and removal of head support member 322. In both of these embodiments, the components of the support combination may be maintained in a position determined by the pocket and the cover's attachment to the carrier. A third embodiment of cover 400 has a cavity between the cover's front and back surfaces to receive the support combination 300 within the cover. A fourth embodiment of cover 400 accommodates embodiments of support combination 300 providing for height-adjustability of head support member 322.

Further, certain embodiments of cover 400 have pockets 490, 495 and/or 497 positioned and configured for containing items such as toys, pacifiers, diapers, hygiene articles, baby bottles containing milk, water, juice or formula, just to name a few examples. In the illustrated embodiment, pocket 490 has a flap 491 for closure of the pocket. Closure of flap 491 can be affected with snaps, hook and loop fasteners or various other closure mechanisms as would occur to one skilled in the art. Additionally, as illustrated, pocket 495 may be open for receiving an item such as a baby bottle, but has an elastic rim 496 about the opening to secure the item therein. Additional pockets can be located at various positions on cover 400, including around the outer edges thereof. In certain other embodiments, cover 400 can include one or more pockets about its surface and outer side edges, but lack pocket 480.

The material used in conjunction with the infant head supports and cushions described herein can be a solid cushioning material, with the material being somewhat dense yet resilient. Examples of appropriate materials include ordinary solid sponge materials, or solid foam materials, such as Styrofoam, polyurethane foam, foamed plastic, polyester foam, memory foam, or other such solid foam cushioning material as would occur to one skilled in the art. In like manner, dense sponge or even somewhat soft rubber materials may also be employed. The solid foam material may be formed of a material which is of a fire resistant or fire retardant composition or may have a fire retardant agent incorporated therein. The material may include sufficient cushioning to provide comfort and safety in dynamic situations. Additionally, the cushioning of the material may help to avoid flattening of the infant's head which can sometimes require corrective measures. Cover 400 may be constructed of plastic, cloth, combinations thereof and the like.

The term “infant” or “infant child” is used in the sense of referring to any child having need of a means to support its head from sudden lateral forces which might cause a sudden lateral movement of the child's head. In this respect, this terminology will also include those children who are physically disabled and require some means to support their head against inadvertent and unauthorized lateral movement. Therefore, the terms “infant” and “infant child” are not necessarily used with respect to an age constraint.

While the disclosure has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, the same is to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive in character, it being understood that only the preferred embodiment has been shown and described and that all changes and modifications that come within the spirit of the disclosure are desired to be protected.





 
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