Title:
BABY CRAWLING PANTS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pair of infant crawling pants or overalls is disclosed having reinforced integrated cushioned shape retaining pads protecting laterally on each leg from seam to seam, and vertically extending approximately three inches above and at least three inches below the knee area extending preferentially all the way to the bottom seam, to accommodate growth of the infant by a predetermined height differential. The integrated pads are enclosed exteriorly by a low friction cover to protect the infant's knees and facilitate sliding movement during crawling.



Inventors:
Flores-garvey, Carmen (San Pedro, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/843490
Publication Date:
02/28/2008
Filing Date:
08/22/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/80
International Classes:
A41D13/02; A41D11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TOMPKINS, ALISSA JILL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MANUEL F. DE LA CERRA (Carlsbad, CA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An infant crawling pants comprising: first and second pant legs formed by joining front and back panels at lateral seams, each pant leg further including a smooth panel for promoting friction-reducing sliding with a floor surface, said panel cooperating with said pant leg using peripheral stitching to establish a compartment extending in a width dimension to said lateral seams; and shape retaining cushion stitched to and permanently disposed in said compartment, said cushion having a length extending approximately three inches above and approximately at least three inches below the knee area to accommodate growth; wherein said cushion is enclosed panel to protect said knee area and facilitate sliding movement during crawling.

2. The crawling pants of claim 1 further comprising adjustable shoulder straps for adjusting a position of said crawling pants on a user to allow for growth by a predetermined height differential while maintaining the cushions in a covering relation over said knee area.

3. The crawling pants of claim 1 wherein said cushions are made of polyester.

4. An infant crawling pants comprising: first and second pant legs formed by joining front and back panels at lateral seams, each pant leg further including a sewn compartment extending in a width dimension to said lateral seams and a length dimension from a bottom seam of said pant leg to approximately two to three inches above a knee area; and cushioning pads disposed in and stitched to said sewn compartment, said pads having a size substantially extending the length and width of said compartment; and wherein an exterior surface of said compartment is formed of a low friction material to facilitate sliding movement during crawling.

5. The crawling pants of claim 4 further comprising adjustable shoulder straps for adjusting a position of said crawling pants on a user to allow for growth by a predetermined height differential while maintaining the pads in a covering relation over said knee area.

6. The crawling pants of claim 4 wherein said cushioning pads are made of polyester.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This patent application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119 based on U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/839,512 filed Aug. 23, 2006, the contents of which are fully incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The mode in which most infants first learn to move is by crawling. The crawling phase is an important development in a child's growth, initially manifested by the child dragging its stomach across the floor and concluding with the successful four point coordinated movement of hands and knees. Crawling helps strengthening a child's muscles that will enable it to walk later on, and also aids in brain and body development. The mechanics of crawling stimulate different areas of the brain—areas that are critical to future learning. Through movement, especially the repetitious act of crawling, brain neurons are stimulated to activate the learning process. This allows the child's brain to conquer more advanced cognitive processes such as comprehension, concentration and memory. When an infant crawls, it visually determines where it wants to go, and physically moves in that direction. The infants' hands become the guides and the child's first test of hand/eye coordination becomes established. This skill set is used in later life for reading, writing and sports activities.

Fine Motor Skills encompass the small muscles especially hand control and the muscles around the mouth. Mouth movement and the palms of the hands are located on the same neurological loop, therefore, it stands to reason that sharpening these areas will affect language development, handwriting and finger dexterity (written and verbal communication). Crawling refines these muscle groups by strengthening them. Stimulation of the palms triggers the language centers of the brains. When the baby crawls and grasps, its fine motor skills are enhanced; key abilities when the child is old enough to feed himself or hold a pencil.

Crawling is thus an important and necessary step in a child's development, both from a physical and intellectual standpoint. However, the act itself can be painful to the child as the child learns how to move. Repetitive bouncing on the knees can lead to bruising and discomfort, which in turn can inhibit the crawling process: if it hurts the child, the child will resist doing it and may refuse to crawl altogether, stunting the child's development. Thus, it would be advantageous if parents could enhance the development of a child's motor functions by relieving any discomfort associated with the act of crawling.

There have been efforts in the prior art to address this problem. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,383 to Madorma-Williams discloses a pair of crawling training pants 10 for infants that include leg portions 16 that incorporate non-skid pads 30 from the mid-thigh to ankle region of the front surface of the leg portions. The pants further include a support handle 20 on the back of the pants for an adult to help support the weight of the child. U.S. Pat. No. 6,708,342 to Boersema discloses an infant sock 10 and pants 153 capable of covering the knees with a cushioning pad 158 in the knee area 154a. The cushioning pad 158 can be a gel filled sack and covered by a cover 159 stitched onto the sock or pants. The knee area is further covered by a traction device 157. Gripper members 12 are incorporated to the exterior surfaces surrounding the foot. U.S. Pat. No. 7,020,896 to Davis discloses a pair of pants 14 with knee protective devices 24, 26 that use a removeable insert soft padding 42 receivable in pockets 44, 46 and secured in the pockets with tabs 48 and 50. U.S. Pat. No. 5,845,335 to Twitty discloses a garment for producing noise that includes a noise pad 60 located on the knee region 42 of with a reinforcement layer surrounding the outer surface of the pad.

While the efforts of those above provide some relief, each of the devices have shortcomings in convenience, effectiveness, or durability, and thus the market is still in need of an effective solution to the problem of alleviating discomfort in a crawling child in an economical and effective manner.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprises a pair of infant crawling pants or overalls with reinforced integrated cushioned shape retaining pads protecting laterally on each leg from seam to seam, and vertically approximately three inches above and below the knee area to accommodate growth of the infant by a predetermined height differential. The integrated pads are enclosed exteriorly by a low friction cover to protect the infant's knees and facilitate sliding movement during crawling. The integrated cushion pad is made from a light-weight machine washable material such as polyester to retain its shape. The pants may include adjustable shoulder straps to adjust positioning of the pants on the wearer to allow for growth by the predetermined height differential while maintaining the pants in covering relation over the infants knees.

Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate, by way of example, the features of the invention

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevated perspective view of a first preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an elevated perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 as shown in use; and

FIG. 3 is an elevated perspective view of a second preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 illustrates a first preferred embodiment of the present invention, wherein a pair of infant's pants or overalls 10 includes first and second pant legs 12a,b formed by sewing a front panel 14 together with a rear panel 16 along seams 24 as is known in the art. The shoulder straps 18 are adjustable using buttons 20, although snaps, loops, hooks, and other known fastening methods would also be possible. On each pant leg 12a,b is a compartment 26 formed by placing a panel 28 in front of or behind the pant leg and then sewing all four edges so create an enclosed space over the knee area of the pants. The compartment 26 extends in the traverse direction to the seams 24, and in the longitudinal direction the compartment extends approximately three inches above and below the knee area. Before the compartment 26 is sewn, the compartment is filled by a cushion or padding 30 sewn to the panel 28 or the enclosed surface of the pant leg to resist movement or distortion of the cushion. The sewn in cushion 30 is selected to largely fill the compartment with padding, whereupon the compartment is sewn closed to permanently trap the cushion within the compartment. The cushion or padding 30 is preferably a polyester or polyester blend having a low profile so as not to be bulky or protruding (which could lead to exaggerated lifting of the leg and an unnatural crawling motion), inhibiting the child's crawling motion as its knees slide along the floor surface (see FIG. 2). As with the rest of the pants, the cushion should be machine washable and should also retain its shape as much as possible even during washings so as to avoid bunching up in the compartment or relocating away from the center of the knee area during use or washing. Because of the stitching attaching the cushion to the panel or pant leg, the cushion is preferably held in place to prevent shifting. However, if the cushion is made of a material that warps or becomes distorted after washing the cushion could become bunched or shifted in the compartment and the child's knee would no longer be protected by the cushion.

It is preferable that the outer surface of the compartment (i.e., the surface that comes in contact with the floor, either the pant leg or the panel) is not of non-stick material as has been proposed in the past, but rather is of a smooth, low friction material. The present inventor has found that a smooth, low friction surface promotes sliding of the knees on the floor surface, which is important to the crawling motion. If the compartment 26 is formed behind the pant surface, the pants themselves should be of a low friction material; however, if the compartment is formed on the front of the pant leg, the panel 28 may be plastic or a smooth material selected so as not to generate increased friction as the child crawls along the floor.

In one embodiment the pants include shoulder straps 18 that allow the pants to be adjusted as the child grows. The padded knee area is large enough (roughly three inches above and below the knee) so that as the child grows, the straps can relocate the padded area in the center of the knee area by adjusting the fastening means provided. The double layer of material and padding also serve to reinforce the knee area and extend the life of the garment, given that infants are particularly rough on clothing during the crawling stage and can prematurely wear pants out in the knee area without said reinforcement.

FIG. 2 illustrates the present invention in use, where a child is shown in crawling position with hands and knees in contact with the floor. As shown, the child's knees are protected by the compartment 26 and the padding therein to cushion the repetitive pounding that the knees take with each successive “step.” In this manner, the child incurs far less bruising and discomfort, and thus is more likely to advance the skill of crawling and progress on a faster learning curve.

In FIG. 3, a second preferred embodiment a longer panel extends the compartment 30 to the lower edge of the pants to additionally protect the child's shins. Here, the compartment is bounded by the cuff as well as the lateral seams, with the upper boundary located approximately 2-3 inches above the knee. To reduce the thickness of the pant legs below the knee area, the pant legs includes stitching 31 in two exemplary aesthetic patterns 31a,b. The stitching preferably passes through the cushion and the panel, and serves the dual purpose of presenting a pleasing accent to the pants while minimizing bulk in the bottom portion of the pant leg 12.

The foregoing examples, descriptions, and drawings are merely exemplary of the concepts of the present invention, and should not be taken as limiting the invention in any way. Rather, the scope of the invention is properly determined by the plain and ordinary meaning of the words used in the appended claims, as understood by one of ordinary skill in the art in the context of the aforementioned disclosure.