Title:
INFANT BLANKET
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An infant blanket having an inner surface and an outer surface, a center portion with an upper edge for engaging the infant's neck and shoulders: a first portion extending from one side of the center portion: and a second portion extending from the opposite side of the center portion, a pair of spaced apart arm apertures of size and shape sufficient to allow an infant's arms to pass comfortably from the inner surface to the outer surface. The infant is placed backside down on the center portion with a first arm through the first arm aperture and a second arm through the second arm aperture: the first portion is wrapped over the infant's torso: the second flap is wrapped over the torso and first portion and removably coupled to the outer surface of the first portion with hook and loop fasteners.



Inventors:
Hite, Amanda J. (Lancaster, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/563144
Publication Date:
05/29/2008
Filing Date:
11/24/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G9/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TRETTEL, MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Silicon Forest Patent Group, (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. An infant blanket comprising: an inner surface and an outer surface opposite the inner surface: a top edge and a bottom edge opposite the top edge and substantially parallel thereto: a first side edge and a second side edge opposite the first side edge and substantially parallel thereto: a center portion comprising a center top edge and a center bottom edge opposite the center top edge and substantially parallel thereto, a first fold and a second fold opposite the first fold and substantially parallel thereto: a first portion extending from the first fold: a second portion extending from the second fold: a first arm aperture substantially bisecting the first fold and adjacent the top edge: and a second arm aperture substantially bisecting the second fold and adjacent the top edge.

2. The blanket of claim 1 further comprising at least one hook and loop closure means for securing the second portion to the first portion.

3. The blanket of claim 1 wherein the central section, the first flap, and the second flap comprise a breathable fabric.

4. The blanket of claim 4 wherein the breathable fabric further comprises an inner surface liner layer and an outer surface layer.

5. An infant blanket comprising: an inner surface and an outer surface opposite the inner surface: a top edge and a bottom edge opposite the top edge and substantially parallel thereto: a first side edge and a second side edge opposite the first side edge and substantially parallel thereto: a central section comprising a center top edge defined by a portion of the top edge, a center bottom edge defined by a portion of the bottom edge, a first fold and a second fold: a first portion comprising the first edge, the first fold, a first portion top edge defined by a portion of the top edge and a first portion bottom edge defined by a portion of the bottom edge, and a second portion comprising the second edge, the second fold, a second portion top edge defined by a portion of the top edge, and a second portion bottom edge defined by a portion of the bottom edge: a first arm aperture substantially bisecting the first fold and adjacent the top edge: and a second arm aperture substantially bisecting the second fold and adjacent the top edge.

6. The blanket of claim 5 further comprising at least one hook and loop closure means for securing the second portion to the first portion.

7. The blanket of claim 6 wherein the center portion, the first portion, and the second portion comprise a breathable fabric.

8. The blanket of claim 7 wherein the breathable fabric further comprises an inner surface liner layer and an outer surface layer.

9. A method of wrapping an infant in a blanket, the infant having a head, a neck, a torso, a first arm in proximity to a first side, a second arm in proximity to a second side, and a back, the method comprising: providing an infant blanket comprising: an inner side and an outer side opposite the inner side; a top edge and a bottom edge opposite the top edge and substantially parallel thereto; a first side edge and a second side edge opposite the first side edge and substantially parallel thereto; a central section comprising a center top edge defined by a portion of the top edge, a center bottom edge defined by a portion of the bottom edge, a first fold, and a second fold: a first portion comprising the first edge the first fold a first portion top edge defined by a portion of the top edge, and a first portion bottom edge defined by a portion of the bottom edge: and a second portion comprising the second edge, the second fold, a second portion top edge defined by a portion of the top edge and a second portion bottom edge defined by a portion of the bottom edge: a first arm aperture substantially bisecting the first fold and adjacent the top edge: a second arm aperture substantially bisecting the second fold and adjacent the top edge: and a plurality of temporary fasteners permanently affixed to the outer side of the first portion and the inner side of the second portion, adapted for complimentary engagement and disengagement, placing an infant back down in the center portion such that the head extends above the center top edge: positioning the first arm through the first arm aperture from the inner side to the outer side the first arm being the arm adjacent to the first portion: positioning the second arm through the second arm aperture from the inner side to the outer side, the second arm being the arm adjacent to the second portion: folding the first portion over the front of the infant; folding the second portion over the front of the infant and first portion thereby providing a wrapping effect; and securing the second portion to the first portion by engaging the fasteners.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a blanket, and more particularly to blankets and methods for wrapping or swaddling an infant.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

Conventional rectangular baby blankets have well known utility for keeping the baby warm but also well known problems. A baby blanket picked up with the baby within can soon become tangled, twisted, or fall off. Positioning a blanket with one hand while trying to hold the baby with the other hand can create an unsafe condition.

A baby blanket placed over a baby's torso while the baby sleeps is all too soon kicked, grabbed, twisted, jostled or otherwise moved out of place in response to the baby's movements. This blanket displacement can result in a number of negative issues, including uncovering the baby altogether causing the baby to be chilled a bunching up causing the baby to overheat and twisting causing a constriction of movement. In some cases the blanket can even migrate up and over the baby's face to cause suffocation issues.

Baby blankets are known that have attempted to address some of these issues. Some blankets have attachment devices to couple with the sides of the crib to hold the blanket in place. While the blanket may be held in place, this solution presents negative issues as the baby can move underneath the blanket or slide out from under the blanket. Also, this type of blanket does not provide a solution for when the baby is picked up.

Other blankets, known as swaddling blankets, can be tightly wrapped around the baby. This type of blanket, if properly wrapped and fastened, should not become displaced., but, by design, restricts the movement of the baby, which is not acceptable to many parents. If the swaddling blanket becomes dislodged it can cause the same negative issues associated with the conventional blanket. Further, safety pins and the like used to fasten the swaddling blanket about the baby becomes a sharps hazard to the baby.

Sleeping bag-type baby blankets are also known but can also present negative issues. The sleeping bag can be kicked off or become twisted by the baby's movement. Also, the sleeping bag can slide off when the baby is lifted.

What is needed in the art is a baby blanket that positively addresses the negative issues associated with known blankets. The blanket should allow the baby to wiggle and move about without fear of the blanket becoming displaced. The baby's arms should be free to move about to stretch and reach up to objects and people. The blanket should not become tangled, twisted or fall off when the baby is picked up. The blanket should not require the use of potentially hazardous fasteners.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top view of an inner surface of an unfolded infant blanket, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention:

FIGS. 2 and 3 are top views of the embodiment of the blanket of FIG. 1 in various stages of wrapping, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a top view of an inner surface of an unfolded infant blanket, in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 5, 6, and 7 are top views of the embodiment of the blanket of FIG. 1 in various stages of wrapping an infant, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention: and

FIG. 8 is a block diagram illustrating a method of wrapping an infant in a blanket in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION

In the following detailed description reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof wherein like numerals designate like parts throughout, and in which is shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural or logical changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. Therefore the following detailed description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the present invention is defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.

FIG. 1 is a top view showing an inner side 12 of an unfolded infant blanket 1 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIGS. 2 and 3 are top views of the embodiment of the blanket 1 of FIG. 1 in various stages of wrapping, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The blanket 1 comprises the inner side 12 an outer side 14 a top edge 16 and a bottom edge 19 opposite and substantially parallel to the top edge 16, a first side edge 17 and a second side edge 18 opposite and substantially parallel to the first side edge 17. The blanket further comprises a pair of spaced apart arm apertures, a first arm aperture 20 and a second arm aperture 21 adjacent the top edge 16. The first and second arm apertures 20,21 are spaced apart a predetermined distance suitable for a particular purpose, located and sized so as to allow an infant's arms to pass comfortably from the inner side 12 to the outer side 14.

The blanket 1 is defined by three portions, a center portion 30, a first portion 35 and a second portion 40. The center portion 30 is defined by a center top edge 31 and a center bottom edge 34 opposite and substantially parallel to the center top edge 31, and a first fold 32 and a second fold 33 opposite and substantially parallel to the first fold 32. The first fold 32 and second fold 33 are defined as substantially parallel fold lines bisecting and extending from the first arm aperture 20 and the second arm aperture 21 to the bottom edge 19 defining the center top edge 31 and the center bottom edge 34.

It is understood as explained further below that the terms “fold” and “fold line” are used to define the various portions of the blanket. In use as a wrap for an infant the fold is not necessarily a straight crease but a general area of the blanket that is substantially adjacent the sides of the infant.

The first portion 35 is defined by the first side edge 17 and the first fold 32 opposite and substantially parallel to the first side edge 17. The first side edge 17 and the first fold 32 define a first portion top edge 36 and a first portion bottom edge 39 opposite and substantially parallel to the first portion top edge 36. The second portion 40 is defined by the second side edge 18 and the second fold 33 opposite and substantially parallel to the second side edge 18. The second side edge 18 and the second fold 33 define a second portion top edge 41 and a second portion bottom edge 44 opposite and substantially parallel to the second portion top edge 41.

When in use the center top edge 31 is placed adjacent to the back of an infant's neck and across the top of the shoulders. Corner portions 48, 49 adjacent the first and second portion top edges 36, 41, respectively, can be folded down and away from the infant's throat if desired. The length of the blanket 1 measured from the top edge 16 to the bottom edge 19 is predetermined for a particular purpose. In an embodiment, the length is predetermined such that the bottom edge 19 extends beyond the infant's feet. In anther embodiment the bottom edge 19 extends no farther than to the ankle so as to allow for walking.

The blanket 1 further comprises one or more closure elements operable to permit the coupling of the first portion 35 to the second portion 40. The closure elements can be any device that provides removable coupling suitable for the particular purpose. A plurality of closure elements are each comprised of one or more first closure member 24 and one or more second closure member 25. The first closure member 24 and second closure member 25 are each permanently affixed to the blanket 1 as further described below and engage each other to provide temporary coupling of the first and second portions 35, 40 of the blanket 1. The first closure member 24 and the second closure member 25 may likewise be disengaged from each other to uncouple the first and second portions 35, 40 of the blanket 1.

In an embodiment, the first closure member 24 and the second closure member 25 comprise. respectively, of hook and loop fasteners, such as segments of Velcro.™hook and loop fastener wherein a first section of hook material removably couples with a second section of loop material. Other suitable combinations of first closure member 24 and second closure member 25 include, but not limited to, male and female snaps, mating portions of a zipper, button and buttonhole, and toggle and loop.

The closure element is adapted to allow for snug or loose fitting and fastening of the blanket 1 so as to accommodate for different sizes of infant and to allow for infant growth. Hook and loop fasteners are particularly suitable and if provided with sufficient length or number provide for adjustable coupling of the first portion 35 to the second portion 40 to form an adjustable wrap to accommodate the infant in a snug or loose manner as desired. The hook and loop fastener may be provided as a single straight section of hook and loop material or may have a plurality of hook and loop sections.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention as shown in FIGS. 1-3 a first closure member 24 of the pair of two hook and loop fasteners is coupled to the outer side 14 of the first portion 35 inset from the first side edge 17. A second closure member 25 of the pair of hook and loop fasteners is coupled to the inner side 12 of the second portion 40 inset from the second side edge 18 and adapted for cooperative engagement with the first member 24. In an embodiment, the hook and loop fasteners are positioned at or above the infant's thigh in order to minimize the restrictions on the movement of the infant's hips and legs. In the embodiment of FIGS. 1-3, the first closure members 24 and second closure members 25 are distributed at predetermined locations between the top edge 16 and the bottom edge 19 suitable for a particular purpose. In yet other embodiments the number placement, and type of closure may be varied. FIG. 4 shows two side-by-side first closure members 24a-b and a second closure member 25. The second closure member 25 is coupled to one or more of the side-by-side first closure members 24a-b so as to allow for adjustability.

FIG. 4 is a top view of an inner side 12 of an unfolded infant blanket 2, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The blanket 2 is substantially the same as the blanket 1 of FIGS. 1-3 but further including two first arm apertures 20a, 20b, adjacent the top edge 16. The two first arm apertures 20a, 20b and second arm aperture 21 are spaced apart a predetermined distance suitable for a particular purpose located and sized so as to allow an infant's arms to pass comfortably from the inner side 12 to the outer side 14. The user has a choice of using either one of the first arm apertures 20a, 20b suitable for a particular shoulder width of the infant. As the infant grows the user can switch from the first-first arm aperture 20a to the second-first arm aperture 20b.

A first fold 32a and a second fold 32b are associated with respective first arm apertures 20a, 20b. When the first-first arm aperture 20a is used, the second-first arm aperture 20b is part of the first portion 35. When the second-first arm aperture 20b is used, the first-first arm aperture 20a is part of the center portion 30.

It is understood and appreciated that in other embodiments of the baby blanket 1, the baby blanket comprises a plurality of first arm apertures 20, a plurality of second arm apertures 21, or a plurality of first and second arm apertures 20, 21 suitable for a particular purpose. A plurality of first and/or second arm apertures 20, 21 allows the baby blanket to be used by many sizes of infants and allows the blanket to be used as the infant grows.

The blanket comprises a material suitable for a particular purpose. The blanket 1, 2 may comprise single or multiple-ply materials. The material may be of any fabric typically used for infant clothing and blankets, such as, but not limited to, cotton, nylon, Polarfleece.™., down filled cotton fabric, polyester open-weave knit natural and synthetic blend materials, in a suitable open or closed weave including terry cloth and the like. An example of a two-ply material configuration includes, but not limited to, breathable cotton or other fabric material as an outer side 14 and a breathable liner as an inner side 12 as a lining material.

In accordance with a method of the present invention, the blanket 1, as shown in FIG. 5 is unfolded so that the inner side 12 is facing upwards. An infant 100 placed on the inner side 12 of the blanket 1. The infant 100 has a head 101, right and left shoulders 108a, b, a first arm 102, a second arm 103 a torso 104, a first leg 105, and a second leg 106. The infant 100 is placed back down on the blanket 1 such that the infant's neck 107 is over the center top edge 31 the right and left shoulders 108a,b positioned between the first and second arm apertures 20, 21 with legs 105, 106 extending toward the center bottom edge 34 of the blanket 1. The infant's first arm 102 is placed through the first arm aperture 20 through to the left shoulder 108b, and the second arm 103 is placed through the second arm aperture 21 through to the right shoulder 108a, both from the inner side 12 to the outer side 14.

Referring now to FIG. 6 the first side edge 17 and in particular the first portion 35 is wrapped over the front 120 of the infant 100. The figure illustrates the first portion 35 being over the infant 100 wherein the first fold 32 is adjacent the infant's torso 104 extending from the left shoulder 108b. The first portion 35 extends over the legs 105. 106 but does not necessarily confine the legs 105, 106 within the wrap of the blanket 1.

Referring now to FIG. 7 the second side edge 18, and more particularly the second portion 40 is wrapped over the infant's torso 104 over the tummy. The figure illustrates the second portion 40 overlapping the first portion 35 and over the top 120 of the infant 100 wherein the second fold 33 is adjacent the infant's torso 104 extending from the right shoulder 108a. The second portion 40 extends over the legs 105, 106 but does not necessarily confine the legs 105, 106 within the wrap of the blanket 1. Corner portions 48,49 are folded down if desired away from the infant's neck 107.

The second portion 40 is removably coupled to the first portion 35 with one or more closure elements 24, 25 as shown, permitting efficient coupling of the first and second portions 35, 40. In this way the infant 100 is wrapped with the arms 102, 104 free to move about unhindered by the blanket 1.

FIG. 8 is a block diagram illustrating a method of wrapping an infant in the blanket, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The blanket is laid flat with an inner surface facing upwards 50; the infant is placed backside down on the center portion of the blanket 52: the infant's left arm is placed through the first arm aperture 54: the infant's right arm is placed through the second arm aperture 56: the first portion is wrapped over the infant's front 58; the second portion is wrapped over the infant's front and first portion 60: and removably coupling the second portion to the first portion 62.

Various embodiments of the infant blanket in accordance with the present invention provides an advantage over prior art blankets of a reduction in the potential of suffocation during activity like sleeping, while keeping the baby warm and comfortable. Various embodiments of the infant blanket in accordance with the present invention provides another advantage over prior art blankets of the reduction in potential overheating in a wrapped infant by providing a minimal amount of lightweight breathable material with improved fit features. The fit features allow a blanket to be provided with less material so that a wrapped infant is surrounded by less material. The blanket may be left loose or loosely closed at the legs.

Various embodiments of the infant blanket in accordance with the present invention provides address the negative issues associated with prior art blankets. Embodiments of the blankets of the present invention allow the infant to wiggle and move about without fear of the blanket becoming displaced. The infant's arms are free to move about to stretch and reach up to objects and people. Embodiments of the blankets of the present invention are much less prone to becoming tangled, twisted, or falling off when the infant is picked up.

Although specific embodiments have been illustrated and described herein for purposes of description of the preferred embodiment, it will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that a wide variety of alternate and/or equivalent implementations calculated to achieve the same purposes may be substituted for the specific embodiment shown and described without departing from the scope of the present invention. Those with skill in the art will readily appreciate that the present invention may be implemented in a very wide variety of embodiments. This application is intended to cover any adaptations or variations of the embodiments discussed herein. Therefore, it is manifestly intended that this invention be limited only by the claims and the equivalents thereof.