Title:
Infant bed for co-sleeping
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An infant bed construction for co-sleeping in the same bed as an adult is comprised of a frame that includes a head end wall, two side walls, and a base panel. A safety bar to protect the area of the head of the infant includes an arched member having opposed ends secured in a pair of mounting brackets on opposed side walls. The legs of the safety bar are releasably joined to the mounting brackets, and the safety bar may be pivoted from a generally vertical protective placement over the head of the infant, to a forward storage position that is adjacent to the head end wall of the infant bed. A safety bar key/keyway mounting arrangement is oriented so that the safety bar will pull out of the mounting brackets if the safety bar is pulled upwardly. As a result, the construction of the infant bed prevents using the safety bar as a handle for lifting the infant bed.



Inventors:
Morton, Farah (Woodbridge, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/516444
Publication Date:
03/06/2008
Filing Date:
09/05/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/94, 5/655
International Classes:
A47D7/00; A47D7/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TRETTEL, MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Zimmerman & Cronen (Walnut Creek, CA, US)
Claims:
1. An infant bed, comprising: a frame structure including a base panel, a pair of side panels extending upwardly from opposed lateral edges of said base panel, a head end wall spanning like proximal edges of said side panels and base panel; safety bar means for protecting an infant sleeping in the infant bed from falling objects.

2. The infant bed of claim 1, wherein said safety bar means is disposed to protect the head area of the bed which corresponds to the expected location of the head of the infant, the head area being generally disposed adjacent to said head end wall.

3. The infant bed of claim 2, wherein said safety bar means includes an arched member having opposed ends, and means for securing said opposed ends to said side panels.

4. The infant bed of claim 3, wherein said means for securing includes mounting brackets disposed generally adjacent to said head end wall.

5. The infant bed of claim 3, wherein said safety bar means including a pair of mounting brackets for supporting said arched member, said mounting brackets secured to opposed outer surface portions of said side panels.

6. The infant bed of claim 5, further including a slot formed in each mounting bracket, each of said opposed ends of said arched member having a spade lug formed thereat, said spade lug dimensioned to be received in said slot.

7. The infant bed of claim 6, further wherein each mounting bracket includes a keyway extending in said slot, and each spade lug includes a key protruding therefrom and dimensioned be slidably received in said keyway with said arched member in one predetermined angular orientation.

8. The infant bed of claim 7, wherein said one predetermined angular orientation of said arched member corresponds to said arched member extending generally vertically and extending over said head area of the bed in a protective disposition.

9. The infant bed of claim 7, wherein said one predetermined angular orientation of said arched member corresponds to the position of said arched member extending generally upwardly, whereby upward lift will draw said spade lugs from said mounting bracket slots and separate said arched member from said frame structure.

10. The infant bed of claim 7, wherein each of said mounting brackets further include an interior space communicating with said slot and disposed to enclose said key of the respective spade lug, said interior space configured to permit rotation of said key through a limited arcuate movement about an axis that passes through said pair of mounting brackets.

11. The infant bed of claim 10, further including ball detent means for releasably securing said spade lug at said one angular orientation in said slot.

12. The infant bed of claim 1, further including a fabric cover for enclosing said base panel, side panels, and head end wall, said fabric cover spanning the distal ends of said base panel and side panels and defining thereby a foot end wall, said base panel and side panels and head end wall and foot end wall defining together a coffer-like protected space for receiving the infant.

13. The infant bed of claim 12, wherein said base panel, side panels, and head end wall are formed as a unitary and integral component.

14. The infant bed of claim 13, wherein said side panels are foreshortened with respect to said base panel, and further including a pair of side panel extensions disposed to extend from the distal ends of said side panels.

15. The infant bed of claim 14, wherein said fabric cover encloses said side panel extensions, and said fabric cover maintains the assembly of said side panel extensions to said base panel, side panels, and head end wall.

16. The infant bed of claim 14, wherein said side panel extensions are hingably secured to said base panel.

17. The infant bed of claim 14, wherein said side panel extensions are disposed to telescopically extend from said respective side panel.

18. The infant bed of claim 17, wherein said side panel extensions include at least one edge clamp fitting for releasably securing a portion of a side edge of said base panel.

19. The infant bed of claim 1, wherein said safety bar means include lighting means for illuminating the face of the infant resting in said bed.

20. The infant bed of claim 2, further including means for rotating said safety bar means between a first, protective position in which it is disposed above said head area of said bed, to a second, storage position in which it is disposed adjacent to an outer surface of said head end wall.

21. The infant bed of claim 1, wherein said base panel slopes downwardly from its conjunction with said head end wall toward a foot end of said bed.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the priority date benefit of Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/669,165, filed Dec. 8, 2005.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH

Not applicable.

SEQUENCE LISTING, ETC ON CD

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to an infant bed and, more particularly, to an infant bed that is adapted for co-sleeping by the infant in an adult bed.

2. Description of Related Art

It is well known that newborn human infants require a great deal of sleep. The most common sleeping place for newborns and small infants during the first few months of life is in a bassinet. Then, as the infant grows and becomes too large for the bassinet, it is typically moved to a crib. Most newborn infants are unable to raise their heads for a number of days or weeks after birth, and most are unable to roll themselves over for several weeks or months. Because of the limited mobility of most newborns, the bassinet where they sleep is typically provided with a firm and flat mattress pad and no pillow in order to help prevent inadvertent suffocation of the infant. A tall peripheral wall around the bassinet prevents the infant from falling out. Unfortunately, these features make the bassinet bulky and difficult to transport.

It is typical for the adult parents of newborn infants to keep the bassinet in the adult bedroom at night. This facilitates easy access to the infant during the night for feeding, changing or other needs that the infant may have. However, the unpredictable and seemingly unceasing demands of newborn infants can take their toll on the new parents and deprive them of much needed night sleep. Often, the warm and soothing touch of the parents is all that is necessary to help the infant fall asleep. Unfortunately, it can be both awkward and uncomfortable to lean over or reach into the bassinet in order to comfort the infant, especially when the tired parent would much rather be lying down. It is therefore desirable to provide an infant bed that can be easily accessed by the parent while lying down.

This arrangement, termed “co-sleeping”, involves the use of an infant bed that is adapted to support and protect an infant when sleeping in the adult bed. This arrangement may be not only desired, but required, by mothers who are recovering from labor and delivery, and/or from Caesarian section births. Likewise, nursing babies may be fed at night with minimal disruption of the sleep of the nursing mother.

One exemplary design is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,370,715, issued to Farah Morton on Apr. 16, 2002. It is directed toward a portable infant bed having a base panel, and an end wall and two side walls surrounding contiguous edges of the base panel to protect the infant from hazards such as choking, suffocating, or rollover injuries. The present invention is viewed as providing significant improvements over that patented invention.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally comprises an infant bed construction that protects an infant when sleeping in the same bed as the parent or other adult. The infant bed is comprised of a frame that includes a head end wall, two side walls, and a base panel. These elements may be formed integrally as a molded plastic coffer that is provided with reinforced edges and rigid rib sections molded into the panel elements. Alternatively, these elements may be separate components that are secured in a fabric cover that is provided with pockets to removably secure the panel portions, and straps to retain the assembly in the erected configuration in which the infant is protected by objects falling into the infant bed.

A salient aspect of the infant bed is the provision of a safety bar assembly to protect the area where the head of the infant will be resting. In general terms, the safety bar assembly includes an arched or bowed structure that spans the side walls adjacent to the head end wall, and has opposed ends that are secured to the side walls. In one embodiment, the safety bar includes a central tubular portion and a pair of parallel legs at opposed ends of the central portion. A pair of mounting brackets are secured to opposed side wall portions of the bed, and the legs of the safety bar are secured to the mounting brackets. The brackets are formed with a keyway entry that receives a complementary key formed at the end of each safety bar leg. The brackets also include interior arcuate tracks in which a respective key may pivot. As a result, the legs of the safety bar may be releasably joined to the mounting brackets, and the safety bar may be pivoted from a generally vertical placement over the head of the infant, to a forward position that is adjacent to the head end wall of the infant bed. Thus the safety bar may be positioned above the head of the infant resting in the infant bed, thereby to protect the infant from pillows, bed clothing, and the like that may otherwise fall onto the face or head of the infant and pose a potential choking/suffocating hazard.

The safety bar key/keyway mounting arrangement is oriented so that the safety bar will pull out of the mounting brackets if the safety bar is pulled upwardly in a generally vertical direction. As a result, the construction of the infant bed prevents using the safety bar as a handle for lifting the infant bed. Moreover, the mounting brackets are positioned closer to the head end of the bed, so that the center of gravity of the bed is displaced from the pivot axis of the safety bar. Thus the safety bar is clearly designed not to be used as a carrying handle.

However, a spring ball detent mechanism in each mounting bracket holds the safety bar at one or more predetermined angular orientations in snap-release fashion. One such angular orientation is the central portion of the safety bar directly above the head area of the infant and the legs disposed generally vertically, thus providing maximum resistance to pillows, bedclothes, and the like that may otherwise fall onto the head or face of the infant. The safety bar assembly may also be provided with a night light disposed in the central tubular portion. With the central tubular portion disposed above the infant, the night light is actuatable to illuminate the face of the infant at rest in the infant bed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the frame structure of the infant bed of the present invention, shown with the safety bar in the erect disposition.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the frame structure of the infant bed as in FIG. 1, shown with the safety bar pivoted to the forward position.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged partial cross-sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the frame structure of in the infant bed similar to that shown in FIGS. 1-3, with the safety bar in exploded view and a fabric cover assembly enclosing the frame structure and defining a foot end wall.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the frame structure of the infant bed, in which the side panel components are separable from the frame and joined thereto by a fabric cover assembly.

FIG. 6 is an exploded, perspective view of the safety bar mounting engagement.

FIG. 7 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a further embodiment of the frame structure of the infant bed in which the side walls include removable panel portions.

FIG. 9 is an exploded perspective view of the frame embodiment of FIG. 8, showing the removable panel portions separated from the frame assembly.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a further embodiment of the frame structure of the infant bed in which the side walls include removable hinged extension portions.

FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view of the frame embodiment of FIG. 10, showing the removable panel portions separated from the frame assembly.

FIG. 12 is an enlarged perspective view of a representative hinge assembly of the embodiment of FIGS. 10 and 11.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the frame of the infant bed in which the floor of the bed slopes upwardly toward the head end.

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of the frame of the infant bed in which the side panel extensions telescope with their respective side panels, and a fabric cover joins the components and forms a foot end wall.

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of the embodiment of the frame structure of FIG. 14, shown with the side panel extensions fully deployed.

FIG. 16 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 16-16 of FIG. 14.

FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 17-17 of FIG. 14.

FIG. 18 is an enlarged view of the clip-engaged side walls, taken along line 18-18 of FIG. 14.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally comprises an infant bed that is designed for use in co-sleeping, in which the infant bed resides in the bed of a parent or other adult. With regard to FIGS. 1 and 2, one embodiment of the infant bed includes a frame assembly 21 comprised of a rectangular base panel 22 and a head end wall 23 extending upwardly from the head edge of the panel 22. A pair of side panels 24 and 26 extending upwardly from the opposed side edges of base panel 22, and join the end wall 23 to form a coffer-like protected space 30. The panels are provided with reinforcing ribs 27 and lightening holes 28, as are well known in the prior art. Further, the upper panel edges are provided with a tubular lip 29 extending along the upper distal edges of the panels 23, 24, and 26. Indeed, the reinforcing effect of end wall 23 joined to the side panels, together with the integral tubular lip, provides a structure that has significant resistance to deflection under vertical force. Thus an infant supported within a bed defined by the frame structure 21 is afforded substantial protection from the accidental and incidental impingement by adult bodies that may occur in a co-sleeping situation. The frame structure 21 may be enclosed in a fabric cover 31, as shown in FIG. 4. The fabric cover provides a soft surface treatment and may include a mattress pad, side pads, and other such features to enhance the comfort of the infant. Such features are described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,370,715 mentioned above and incorporated herein by reference.

The head end wall, side panels, and base panel may be formed integrally by injection molding of polymer material, stamping of sheet metal or the like, or by assembly of the separate components using adhesive, ultrasonic welding, or the like. In the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, the frame structure 21 is depicted as integrally molded polymer material.

A salient feature of the infant bed is the provision of a safety bar assembly 41. In general, the safety bar assembly may comprise any arched or hoped structure that supports a hood-like structural arrangement, such as those common to baby carriages and the like, to divert objects that could impinge on the face or head of the infant within the infant bed. In the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1-4, the safety bar 41 is comprised of a tubular central portion 42, and a pair of parallel legs 43 extending from opposed ends of the central portion 42. A pair of mounting brackets 44 is provided, each secured to an outer surface of a respective side wall 24 and 26. The distal end of each leg 43 is received in a respective one of the mounting brackets 44. The mounting arrangement is configured so that the central portion 42 of the safety bar may be deployed across the area of the space 30 wherein the head of the infant will be resting. As explained below, the mounting system is designed to enable the safety bar to remain with the legs thereof in a generally vertical position to deflect pillows and other objects that might otherwise fall onto the face or head of the infant within the infant bed.

In this regard it may be noted that the mounting brackets 44 are not centered along the length of the respective sidewall 24 or 26. Rather, the brackets 44 are disposed adjacent to the portion of volume 30 in which the infant's head will be resting. This placement enables the safety bar 41 to be deployed to maximum effect when the legs 43 thereof are extending generally vertically upwardly from the mounting brackets 44, so that the central portion 42 extends over the head of the infant for protection and the legs are oriented to resist any vertical loads from objects falling onto the safety bar.

With regard to FIG. 6, the mounting bracket 44 comprises a lug protruding from the sidewall and having a slot 47 formed therein generally parallel to the sidewall. A keyway 46 extends generally vertically in the lug in communication with the slot 47. Each leg 43 includes a spade lug 48 at the distal end thereof, the spade being dimensioned to be received in the slot 47. A key 49 protrudes from the lug 48, and is formed in complementary fashion to keyway 46, so that the spade lug and key may be inserted vertically into the slot and keyway. Likewise, the spade lug and key may be withdrawn vertically from the slot and keyway. As shown in FIG. 3, within the bracket 44 there is an interior arcuate space 51 in which the key 49 may pivot after insertion through the keyway 46. As a result, the legs of the safety bar may rotate within the mounting bracket 44 to permit the safety bar to rotate between the positions shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. In addition, the mounting bracket is provided with a ball detent mechanism 52 which interacts with recesses 53 on the spade lug 48 (FIG. 6), so that the safety bar is maintained at at least one predetermined angular relationship, such as the vertical position of maximum protection.

The safety bar may also be provided with a light 54 secured in the middle of the central portion 42 of the safety bar. The light may be actuated selectively so that the parent or other adult may be able to view the face of the infant at rest in the infant bed 21. The light power supply (battery or the like) and switch may be installed within the tubular structure of the safety bar, using techniques well known in the prior art. The safety bar 41 may also be used to suspend a toy or other visually stimulating object within the view of the infant at rest in the bed of the invention.

With regard to FIGS. 4 and 5, a further embodiment 21a of the frame structure includes a rectangular base panel 22a and a separate head end wall 23a extending upwardly from the head edge of the panel 22. A pair of separate side panels 24a and 26a extending upwardly from the opposed side edges of base panel 22a, and join the end wall 23a to form a coffer-like protected space 30a. The panels are provided with reinforcing ribs 27a and lightening holes 28a as described previously, as are well known in the prior art. Further, the upper panel edges are provided with a tubular lip 29a extending along the upper distal edges of the panels 23a, 24a, and 26a. The safety bar 41 and the mounting brackets 44 are provided as described previously. In this embodiment, the frame components are not integrally formed; rather, the fabric cover 31 encloses the frame components and secures then in an assembly that provides protection for the infant resting within the infant bed. The fabric cover 31 includes a portion that spans the distal ends of the side panels and the base panel, and so forms an end wall at the foot of the bed. This foot end wall completes the enclosure of the coffer-like space 30a and secures the infant within the bed.

Furthermore, the tubular lip 29a of the head end wall 23a includes opposite end portions that curve approximately 90° to align with the tubular lip portions of the adjacent side panels 24a and 26a. Indeed, as shown in FIG. 7, the adjacent tubular lip portions of the side panels and head end wall are disposed to interlock when the panels are assembled, thereby to secure the components and augment the vertical load-bearing strength of the frame assembly. The fabric cover 31 may be joined together with straps (including Velcro or snap fasteners) or zippers or the like, as shown in FIG. 4, so that the frame components are joined to act cooperatively in a structure that is very resistant to vertical loads or lateral loads that might otherwise be imparted by the adults sleeping adjacent to the infant bed of the invention. The fabric cover may be opened and separated from the frame components for laundering, or for transporting the infant bed in a knock-down disposition.

With regard to FIGS. 8 and 9, a further embodiment of the invention provides a frame structure 21b that includes a rectangular base panel 22b and a separate head end wall 23b extending upwardly from the head edge of the panel 22b. A pair of separate side panels 24b and 26b extending upwardly from the opposed side edges of base panel 22b, and join the end wall 23b to form a coffer-like protected space 30b. The panels are provided with reinforcing ribs 27b and lightening holes 28b as described previously, as are well known in the prior art. Further, the upper panel edges are provided with a tubular lip 29b extending along the upper distal edges of the panels 23b, 24b, and 26b. The safety bar 41 and the mounting brackets 44 are provided as described previously. In this embodiment, the frame components are not completely integrally formed; rather, the side panels 24b and 26b are foreshortened, and separate side panel extensions 24b′ and 26b′ are provided.

The side panel extensions are joined to the remaining integral frame structure by any of the methods and structures shown herein. For example, as described before, a fabric cover 31 may be fashioned to enclose the frame components and secure then in an assembly that provides protection and comfort for the infant resting within the infant bed. The integrally formed head end wall, base panel, and foreshortened side panels 24b and 26b combine to form a strong structure that is highly resistant to lateral compression and vertical loads, and will protect the infant very well. Note also that the mounting brackets 44 extend from the side panels 24b and 26b, and the safety bar 41 is secured thereto to further protect the infant. The separate panel extensions 24b′ and 26b′ permit some yielding of the sides of the infant bed in the area of the legs and feet of the infant, a location that poses far less threat of injury to the infant.

Referring to FIGS. 10 and 11, a further embodiment of the invention provides a frame structure 21b that is very similar to the embodiment of FIGS. 8 and 9, and is accorded the same reference numerals for the same components. In this embodiment, the side panel extensions 24b′ and 26b′ are secured with hinges 61 to the distal side edges of the base panel 22b. In particular, each side panel extension is provided at its lower edge with at least one hinge component consisting of a separable male hinge half, and each distal edge of the base panel 22b is provided with at least one hinge component consisting of the separable complementary female hinge component, so that the hinge components may be joined as the confronting edges of the side panel extensions and the base panel are translated together (FIG. 12). The hinged connections enable the side panel extensions to be deflected somewhat by the imposition of lateral force or vertical loads, but the structural effect of the fabric cover secures the side panel extensions in place without collapsing or otherwise threatening the well-being of the infant in repose in the bed. Once again the portion of the fabric cover 31 that spans the distal ends of the side panel extensions and base panel defines a foot end wall that secures the infant within the confines of the infant bed.

A further embodiment of this concept is depicted in FIG. 14, including a frame structure 21b that is very similar to the embodiment of FIGS. 8-11, and is once again accorded the same reference numerals for the same components. In this embodiment the side panels 24b and 26b are foreshortened, and the side panel extensions 24b′ and 26b′ are designed to slidably extend from their respective side panels. The tubular lips at the upper edges of each side panel and side panel extension are formed to be slidably telescoped together (FIG. 16), whereby the extension may be slidably moved toward the distal end of the base panel. In addition, the lower edge of each side panel extension is provided with at least one edge clamp fitting 71 (FIG. 18) that is adapted to resiliently clamp onto any portion of the side edge of base panel 22b. Thus each side panel extension may be disposed at any position along the respective side edge of the base panel.

Thus, for example, when the infant is newborn and rather small, the side panel extensions are disposed proximally, which reinforces the upper area where the infant is located. As the child grows, and more space is required, the side panel extensions may be moved distally, increasing the effective length of the sides and increasing the volume of the protected space 30b. Eventually, the side panel extensions may be fully extended, as shown in FIG. 15 to maximize the capacity of the infant bed.

A further embodiment 21c of the infant bed, shown in FIG. 13, is notable for the base panel 22c sloping upwardly between side panels 24c and 26c, with head end wall 23c joining the ends of the side panels and base panel. The slope of the base panel maintains the head of the sleeping infant in an elevated condition, which may be desired to facilitate unimpeded breathing by the infant. The side panels are foreshortened as in previous embodiments, and the side panel extensions are eliminated. The lower edges of the side panels and end wall are disposed in a common nominal plane to engage a supporting flat surface in a stable manner. The safety bar 41 and mounting brackets 44 are provided substantially as described previously to protect the head area of the infant.

It should be emphasized that all of the embodiments of frame structures shown herein may be used advantageously with a fabric cover assembly that also supports other features such as pads, mattress, foot end wall, and the like.

Thus the present invention provides an infant bed that is designed to enhance the safety and protection of the infant, so that it may be used in a co-sleeping arrangement. The strong frame structure, the safety bar, and the fabric cover combine to produce a superior infant bed construction.

The foregoing description of the preferred embodiments of the invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed, and many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching without deviating from the spirit and the scope of the invention. The embodiment described is selected to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical application to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as suited to the particular purpose contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the claims appended hereto.