Title:
Infant wrist tether
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A wrist tether generally in the form of an “I” shape, includes a first strap portion, a second strap portion, and a connecting tether portion. In use, ends of the first strap portion are brought around and fastened together to form a loop to secure the wrist tether to an infant's wrist. Ends of the second strap portion are brought around and fastened together to form a loop to secure an object, such as a toy or a pacifier, to the other end of the wrist tether. When the object is tethered to the infant's wrist, the object is retained within the grasp of the infant at all times and prevented from falling to the floor when dropped by the infant. The length of the tether portion may be adjustable.



Inventors:
Hurd, Danielle M. (Lindley, NY, US)
Perry, Tonya M. (Painted Post, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/895444
Publication Date:
02/28/2008
Filing Date:
08/24/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/267
International Classes:
A45F5/00
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Primary Examiner:
VANTERPOOL, LESTER L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP (Rochester, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A wrist tether for retaining an object within sight and reach of an infant comprising: a first strap portion comprising a first end including a first end fastener and a second end including a second end fastener, said second end fastener configured to mate with said first end fastener to form a wrist loop; a second strap portion comprising a first end including a first end fastener and a second end including a second end fastener, said second end fastener configured to mate with said first end fastener to form an object loop; and a tether connecting portion having a first end connected to said first strap portion and a second end connected to said second strap portion; wherein said wrist loop is formed around a wrist of said infant and said object loop is formed around said object and wherein a length of said tether connecting portion is between about 3 inches and about 10 inches thereby retaining said object within sight and grasp of said infant.

2. The wrist tether in accordance with claim 1 wherein said first strap portion, said second strap portion, and said connecting tether portion comprise washable fabric.

3. The wrist tether in accordance with claim 2 wherein said first strap portion, said second strap portion, and said connecting tether portion are formed with a single piece of said washable fabric.

4. The wrist tether in accordance with claim 2 wherein said first strap portion, said second strap portion, and said connecting tether portion are formed from separate pieces of said washable fabric.

5. The wrist tether in accordance with claim 2 wherein said first end of said connecting tether portion is connected to a midpoint on said first strap portion.

6. The wrist tether in accordance with claim 2 wherein said second end of said connecting tether portion is connected to a midpoint on said second strap portion.

7. The wrist tether in accordance with claim 2 wherein said first end fastener and said second end fastener of said first strap portion comprise coordinating hook and loop patches.

8. The wrist tether in accordance with claim 2 wherein said first end fastener and said second end fastener of said second strap portion comprise coordinating hook and loop patches.

9. The wrist tether in accordance with claim 2 wherein said washable fabric is elastic.

10. The wrist tether in accordance with claim 2 wherein said washable fabric is terrycloth.

11. The wrist tether in accordance with claim 1 wherein said first strap further comprises a length of about seven and one-half inches.

12. The wrist tether in accordance with claim 11 wherein said first strap further comprises a width of about one and one-half inches.

13. The wrist tether in accordance with claim 1 wherein said second strap further comprises a length of about six and one-half inches.

14. The wrist tether in accordance with claim 13 wherein said second strap further comprises a width of about one and one-half inches.

15. The wrist tether in accordance with claim 1 wherein said tether connecting portion comprises a first portion and a second portion wherein said first portion is adjustably connectable to said second portion for adjusting said length of the tether connecting portion.

16. A wrist tether for retaining an object within sight and reach of an infant comprising: a first strap portion comprising a first end including a first end fastener and a second end including a second end fastener, said second end fastener configured to mate with said first end fastener to form a wrist loop; a second strap portion comprising a first end including a first end fastener and a second end including a second end fastener, said second end fastener configured to mate with said first end fastener to form an object loop; and a tether connecting portion having a first end connected to said first strap portion and a second end connected to said second strap portion; wherein said tether connecting portion includes a first portion and a second portion; wherein said first portion is adjustably connectable to said second portion for adjusting said length of the tether connecting portion; and wherein said wrist loop is formed around a wrist of said infant and said object loop is formed around said object thereby retaining said object within sight and grasp of said infant.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/840,233, filed on Aug. 25, 2006.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a mechanism worn by an infant, more particularly, to a device for tethering objects to the infant's wrist, and most particularly, to a device made of a fabric material that can be readily attached to the wrist of an infant and to an object such as a toy or a pacifier for keeping the object within the sight and of the infant.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

During an infant's early months, it is important for the infant to practice sighting objects, grasping objects (e.g. obtaining that which is within reach of the infant's hand) and holding objects in its hand for gross and fine motor skills development. Also, it is important for an infant to be able to move the objects to its mouth for hand to eye coordination and to relieve discomfort experienced during teething. Heretofore, as the infant developed these skills, objects such as small toys, teething rings, and pacifiers would frequently be dropped by the infant causing the object to fall to the floor where it collected dirt and germs from the floor. The development process would then have to be arrested while the parent washed the object before again placing the object within the infant's reach in order for the infant to begin the process over again. Moreover, the object may land far enough from the infant where the infant could not reach and recover it, or see it to reach and recover it.

To prevent the object from falling to the floor when the infant looses grasp of the object, it is known in the art to pin the object to an article of the infant's clothing, such as by a ribbon or string. As disclosed in US 2002/0124297 A1, it is also known to attach objects to the infant's waist as by a waist band. Both of these devices suffer a common disadvantage. While they may prevent an object dropped by an infant from falling to an unclean floor, these devices do not position the objects in proximity to the infant's reach or within its eyesight where the infant can readily retrieve the object without the immediate assistance of a parent. As disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,865,239, it is also known to fix a bottle to an infant's wrist to keep it always adjacent the hand of the infant. While such an attachment may prevent the bottle from falling to the floor, it does not allow the bottle to fall away from the infant's hand so to develop gross and fine motor skills.

What is needed in the art is a device that can easily secure objects such as small toys, teething rings, and pacifiers within the grasp of the infant so that the infant may obtain the object on their own.

What is also needed in the art is a device that can keep the object from falling to the floor in the event the infant looses their grip of the object.

It is a primary object of the invention to meet these needs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A wrist tether includes a first strap portion, a second strap portion, and a connecting tether portion. Ends of the first strap portion are brought around and fastened together to form a loop to secure the wrist tether to an infant's wrist. Ends of the second strap portion are brought around and fastened together to form a loop to secure an object, such as a toy or a pacifier, to the other end of the wrist tether thereby keeping the object within the sight and reach of the infant at all times. In one aspect of the invention, the length of the tether portion is selected so that the object is permitted to fall away from the infant requiring the infant to exercise greater eye and body movement to locate, reach and grasp the object. In another aspect of the invention, the length of the tether portion is adjustable. Fasteners, such as coordinating hook and loop (i.e. Velcro®) patches or snaps can be used to fasten the ends of the first strap to each other, to fasten the ends of the second strap to each other or to make adjustable the length of the tether portion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front full view of a wrist tether in its open position, in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is an isometric front view of the wrist tether in its closed position, in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 3 is an isometric side view of the wrist tether in its closed position, in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 4 is an isometric side view of the wrist tether secured to an infant's wrist and a teething ring, in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 4a is a view of FIG. 4, in circle “A” showing an alternate embodiment of an adjustable length tether; and

FIGS. 5 a-c are front views of the wrist tether secured to other objects in accordance with the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1-4, a wrist tether in accordance with the invention is shown generally as reference numeral 10. Wrist tether 10, includes a first strap portion 12 for securing wrist tether 10 to an infant's wrist 18, a second strap portion 14 for securing wrist tether 10 to an object 19 such as for example, a teething ring or a toy, and a connecting tether portion 16. In its open position as shown in FIG. 1, wrist tether 10 may be formed in an “I” shape wherein connecting tether portion 16 intersects strap portions 12,14 at their mid-sections. It is to be understood however that wrist tether 10 may be formed so that connecting tether portion 16 does not intersect at the mid-sections of strap portions 12,14. Wrist tether 10 may be formed from a washable fabric such as, for example, terrycloth or a cotton/polyester blend, wherein the washable fabric is preferably constructed to be elastic. Wrist tether 10 portions 12,14,16 may be formed unitarily from one piece of fabric, or may be formed from separate pieces of fabric and joined together by joining methods known in the art such as, for example, sewing. While each portion 12,14,16 of wrist tether 10 may be constructed to be elastic, the invention comprehends that any one, or none of portions 12,14,16 may be elastic.

As best seen in FIG. 4, when ends 20a, 20b of first strap portion 12 are brought around infant wrist 18 and mating fasteners 26a,26b are coupled to form a wrist loop 22, wrist loop 22 secures wrist tether 10 to infant's wrist 18. A length 24 of first strap portion 12 is selected to fit around infant wrist 18 with some overlap. Preferably, length 24 is about 7½ inches to fit around the wrist of an infant about 4 months to 2 years of age. Mating fasteners 26a,26b, such as, for example, coordinating hook and loop (i.e. Velcro®) patches, or snaps are fastened to ends 20a,20b and operate to secure ends 20a,20b together once first strap portion 12 is wrapped around infant wrist 18. Mating fasteners 26a,26b are selected preferably to allow the size of wrist loop 22 to be varied to accommodate different size infant wrists. Preferably, width 27 of first strap portion 12 is about 1½ inches to comfortably fit around the base of an infant's wrist 18.

As best seen in FIG. 4, when ends 28a,28b of second strap portion 14 are brought through an open end of object 19 to form an object loop 30, object loop 30 secures wrist tether 10 to object 19 that may be of interest to the infant. A length 32 of second strap portion 14 is selected to fit around a width 34 of device 19 with some overlap. Preferably, length 32 is about 6½ inches to accommodate varied sizes of ring-like objects to be secured to wrist tether 10. Mating fasteners 26a,26b such as, for example, coordinating hook and loop (i.e. Velcro®) patches, or snaps are fastened to ends 26a,26b and operate to secure ends 28a,28b together once object loop 22 is formed around width 34 of object 19. Preferably, width 36 of second strap portion 14 is about 1½ inches to accommodate a variety of ring-like object sizes. In one aspect of the invention, tether portion 16 is selected to permit an object to fall away from the infant's hands, when dropped, but to remain close enough to the infant to stay in its sight and reachable. A suitable length 38 for tether portion 16 may be as little as about 3 inches or as much as about 8 to 10 inches or more, depending on the infant's age and development.

In operation, when infant wrist 18 is secured to wrist loop 22, and device 19 is secured to object loop 30, object 19 will be retained within sight and the reach of an infant. Should the infant lose its grip upon object 19 and remain interested in it, the infant will be required to sight the object, reach for, attempt to grip, and if successful, hold the object in its hand. The skills of sighting objects and reaching, griping, and holding objects in the hand are an important part of the overall set of fine and gross motor skills an infant needs to develop and refine. By retaining the desired object within the grasp of an infant, the wrist tether of the present invention facilitates the development and refinement of these important motor skills by removing the requirement that a parent be involved in retrieving a dropped object that the infant is interested in retaining.

FIG. 4a shows another aspect of the invention whereby the length of tether portion 16 is adjustable to accommodate the growth and development of the infant. Mating portions 16a and 16b of tether portion 16 are brought together and joined by connectors 40 such as, for example, Velcro® patches. Length 38 of the tether portion is thereby adjustable to accommodate the age and development level of the infant.

FIGS. 5a-c show various objects 19 that may be secured to wrist tether 10 and are intended as examples only.

It should be noted that, when not in use as described above, first strap portion 12 may be alternately secured to, for example, a car seat or a stroller, to position the object within the grasp of the infant for continued play and/or to keep wrist tether 10 ready for its next use.





 
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