Title:
BATHTUB SAFETY APPARATUS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bathtub safety apparatus particularly useful for helping a user to get into and out of a bathtub safely. The apparatus providing a hand hold that reduces the chances of accidental slips and falls. The hand hold made of a braided chain of rope that is suspended from the ceiling. This braided chain of rope being detachable from the ceiling for washing.



Inventors:
Fraser, Andrew R. (Boise, ID, US)
Fraser, Judith M. (Boise, ID, US)
Application Number:
11/697822
Publication Date:
10/09/2008
Filing Date:
04/09/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/024
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FETSUGA, ROBERT M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SHAVER & SWANSON, LLP (BOISE, ID, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bathtub safety apparatus for providing a handhold for a user getting into and out of a bathtub, said bathtub having a sturdy ceiling support extending there-above, said bathtub safety apparatus comprising: an eyehook having a threaded shank, said threaded shank screwed into said ceiling support; and a length of rope, said length of rope having a first end extending to a second end, said first end attaching to said eyehook, said length braided to provide a secure handhold surface for said user when getting into and out of said bathtub.

2. The bathtub safety apparatus of claim 1, wherein said eyehook is a 0.5″×3.25″ screw thread eyebolt.

3. The bathtub safety apparatus of claim 1, wherein said rope is a spliced deck rope one half inch in diameter and ten to fifteen feet in length.

4. The bathtub safety apparatus of claim 1, wherein said braiding comprises a number of chain knots terminating in an overhand knot.

5. The bathtub safety apparatus of claim 1, wherein said length of rope attaches to said eyehook through use of a lanyard hitch.

6. A bathtub safety apparatus for providing a handhold for a user getting into and out of a bathtub, said bathtub having a sturdy ceiling support extending there-above, said bathtub safety apparatus comprising: an eyehook having a threaded shank, said threaded shank screwed into said ceiling support; and a length of rope, said length defined by a first end extending to a second end, wherein the portion of said rope adjacent said first end releaseably attaches to said eyehook through use of a lanyard hitch, said first end then eye-spliced into the rope's length adjacent said first end; a substantial portion of the remainder of said length of rope braided through use of a chain knot to form a braided portion, said braided portion terminating in an overhand knot adjacent said second end.

7. The bathtub safety apparatus of claim 6, wherein said eyebolt is a 0.5″×3.25″ screw thread eyebolt.

8. The bathtub safety apparatus of claim 6, wherein said rope is a spliced deck rope one half inch in diameter and ten to fifteen feet in length.

9. The bathtub safety apparatus of claim 6, wherein said braiding comprises a number of chain knots terminating in an overhand knot.

10. The bathtub safety apparatus of claim 6, wherein said length of rope attaches to said eyehook through use of a lanyard hitch.

11. A method of making a bathtub safety apparatus for providing a handhold for a user getting into and out of a bathtub, said bathtub having a sturdy ceiling support extending there-above, said method comprising the steps of: providing an eyehook having a threaded shank; screwing said threaded shank into said ceiling support; providing a length of rope having a first end extending to a second end; attaching a portion of said rope adjacent said first end to said eyehook through use of a lanyard hitch; attaching said first end to said rope through use of an eye-splice adjacent said first end; braiding, through use of a chain knot, a substantial portion of the remainder of said length of rope to form a braided portion; and terminating said braided portion in an overhand knot adjacent said second end.

12. The method of claim 11, further comprising the step of predrilling a hole for said threaded shank to be screwed into.

13. The method of claim 12, further comprising the step of applying a bonding agent to said threaded shank before screwing into said hole.

14. The method of claim 11, further comprising the steps of: detaching said rope from said eyehook by undoing said lanyard hitch; washing said rope; and reattaching said rope to said eyehook by through use of a lanyard hitch.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to safety devices, and more specifically relates to a suspended bathroom safety device for grasping by a user when getting into and out of a bathtub, shower, hot tub, pool or similar device.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Quite a few individuals are hurt every single year in bathroom slips and falls. The acts of getting into or out of a bathtub frequently create situations that result in a number of these bathroom slips and falls. Oftentimes it is the combination of the user's feet being on a wet surface (the floor outside the tub and/or the tub bottom) and the act of the user lifting at least one of his/her feet up and over the side wall of the tub that leads to a loss of balance and the resulting slip/fall.

Additionally, many of the newer styles of bathtubs are “jetted,” having water pumps and air supply means integrally provided for creating water/air flow through the tub. Such a jetted tub is frequently referred to as a JACCUZZI or WHIRLPOOL style tub. These jetted tubs typically contain more water than a standard tub, in that they are configured for soaking and relaxation as much as they are configured for bathing. As such, the side walls are often considerably higher than a standard bathtub. These higher sidewalls increase the risk of accidental falls in that the user must lift his/her leg even higher up and over the edge of the tub to get in and out than would normally be needed with a standard bathtub.

To address this slip/fall issue, many tubs and bathroom surfaces are provided with handles. These handles typically being located either on the wall or built into the tub itself. These handles for allowing the user to grasp them while making the transition from inside to outside the tub and vice versa, thereby helping the user remain balanced. However, most of these handles are configured for structural placement (wherever there is room in the bathroom/tub surface) rather than ideal placement (convenient to grab by the user). Further, oftentimes such handles are not ideally configured for helping the user to both lift his/herself out of the tub as well as providing support as he/she moves from inside the tub to standing outside of the tub.

Furthermore, oftentimes individuals with disabilities, bad backs, and of older ages often need a little assistance (handhold) when getting into and out of a bathtub, typically just something to grab a hold of that they can pull on as they stand up.

Embodiments of the present invention solve these needs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a side view of a second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 shows a close up detailed view of the embodiment of FIG. 2.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

While the invention is susceptible of various modifications and alternative constructions, certain illustrated embodiments thereof have been shown in the drawings and will be described below in detail. It should be understood, however, that there is no intention to limit the invention to the specific form disclosed, but, on the contrary, the invention is to cover all modifications, alternative constructions, and equivalents falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the claims.

Referring to the embodiments of the invention shown in the drawings and starting with FIG. 1, shown is a first embodiment of the present invention. This figure showing a bathtub safety apparatus 10, this apparatus particularly useful for helping a user (not shown) to get into and out of a bathtub 2 or similar structure (shower, hot tub, pool, etc.) safely. The bathtub 2 being shown in a typical bathroom scene having a ceiling 4 there above.

Attached or screwed into this ceiling 4, preferably into a ceiling support (6 (FIG. 3)) such as a roof truss, rafter, or other structural member, is an eye hook 20. The preferred eye hook 20 being a 0.5″×3.25″ screw thread eyebolt having a generally circular eye portion and a threaded shank for screwing into a support structure. Being screwed into the ceiling support 6, this eye hook 20 is able to support the weight of the user as the user pulls downwards upon an attached bathroom safety apparatus 10 while getting into and out of the bathtub.

In this embodiment (FIG. 1) the bathroom safety apparatus 10 also comprises a length of rope 30. This length of rope being braided (braided portion 50) along its length, thereby providing the user with a soft yet textured grip to hold. This grip helping a user to lift themselves upwards (from a reclined position in the bathtub) as well as providing support to the user as the user gets into and out of the bathtub (helping the user stay balanced).

This length of rope having a first end 32 extending to a second end 34. In the embodiment shown, the first end 32 is doubled over, thereby forming a loop. This loop is then drawn through the eye hook 20 and attached thereto through use of a lanyard hitch (also referred to as a girth hitch, a strap hitch, a cow hitch, or a lark's head). The free end of the first end 32 is then preferably attached to the length of rope through use of an eye splice 44.

The resulting connection between the length of rope and the eye hook is thus detachable, in that the lanyard hitch can be loosened and the remainder of the rope fed there through so as to detach it from the eye hook. Such detachability is useful in instances where the user desires to detach the apparatus from the ceiling to wash it, or would like to remove it for other reasons.

Still referring to FIG. 1, it is preferred that a substantial portion of the remainder of the length of the rope 30 be braided through use of a chain knot 48 or other knotting. This braiding done to create texture on the rope, thereby making the rope easier to grip by a user's hands and less likely to slip out of a user's hands than a bare rope. Obviously, while a chain knot is preferred, other styles of knots may likewise be used, including but not limited to overhand knots, figure eight knots, single loops and/or multiple loops.

This chain knot braiding is preferably achieved by twisting the rope to form a loop and then feeding the bight below through the loop to form the next loop. Then, the rope would again be twisted forming another loop, the bight again being fed through this loop to form the next loop and so on. When a sufficient length of braiding is formed, as desired, then an overhand (or other) knot is used to tie off the braid and keep the braid from unraveling.

FIGS. 2 and 3 show that in a second embodiment a pair of bathtub safety apparatuses 10, 100 can be provided for maximizing a user's ability to conveniently get in and out of the bathtub regardless of which apparatus 10, 100 the user is adjacent. The apparatus is shown having a pair of bathtub safety apparatuses 10, 100 for helping a user to get into and out of a bathtub or similar structure safely.

The bathtub 2 being shown in a typical bathroom scene having a ceiling 4 there above. Attached or screwed into this ceiling, preferably into a ceiling support such as a roof truss or other structural member, is a pair of eye hooks 20, 120. These eye hooks, being screwed into the ceiling support, are able to provide needed support for the user as the user pulls downwards upon an attached bathroom safety apparatus 10, 100.

In this embodiment (FIGS. 2, 3) the bathroom safety apparatus 10, 100 also comprises a pair of lengths of rope 30, 130. These lengths of rope being braided (braided portion 50, 150) along their length, thereby providing a soft yet textured grip for the user to hold. This grip helping a user to lift himself or herself upwards (from a reclined position in the bathtub) as well as providing support to the user as the user gets into and out of the bathtub (helping the user stay balanced).

These lengths of rope 30, 130 having first ends 32, 132 extending to second ends 34, 134. In the embodiment shown (FIGS. 2, 3), the first ends 32, 132 are doubled over, thereby forming a pair of loops. The free ends of the first ends 32, 132 are preferably attached to the length of rope through use of an eye splice 44, 144. These loops are then each drawn through the eye hooks and attached thereto through use of a lanyard hitch (also referred to as a girth hitch, a strap hitch, a cow hitch, or a lark's head).

The resulting connection between the length of rope and the eye hook is thus detachable, in that the lanyard hitch can be loosened and the remainder of the rope fed there through so as to detach it from the eye hook. Such detachability is useful in instances where the user desires to detach the apparatus from the ceiling to wash it, or would like to remove it for other reasons.

Still referring to FIGS. 2-3, it is preferred that a substantial portion of the remainder of the length of the ropes 30, 130 be braided through use of a chain knot 48, 148 or other knotting. This braiding done to create texture on the rope, thereby making the rope easier to grip by a user's hands and less likely to slip out of a user's hands than a bare rope. Obviously, while a chain knot is preferred, other styles of knots may likewise be used, including but not limited to overhand knots, figure eight knots, single loops and/or multiple loops.

This chain knot braiding is preferably achieved by twisting the rope to form a loop and then feeding the bight below through the loop to form the next loop. Then, the rope would again be twisted forming another loop, the bight again being fed through this loop to form the next loop and so on. When a sufficient length of braiding is formed, as desired, then an overhand (or other) knot is used to tie off the braid and keep the braid from unraveling.

FIG. 3 shows a close up of the embodiment of FIG. 2. This close up showing in greater detail the eye hook 20 having a threaded shank 22 which is screwed into a ceiling support 6 in the roof 4. This Figure also shows in greater detail the eye splice 44 that is formed as the second end 32 is woven back into the body of the length of rope 30. Likewise, the braided portion 50 is shown comprising a number of chain knots 48.

The preferred rope being spliced deck rope one half inch in diameter and ten to fifteen feet in length, being three strand twisted, where each strand comprises a bundle of fibers counter-laid to the lay of the strands, such that opposing portion prevents unraveling. Other similar types of rope may include braided, braided with straight filament core, and full-diameter straight-filament core encased in a thin woven sheath. The present invention can be used with the preferred rope or any other form of rope, whether it be of multiple strands or single strand, natural or man-made fibers, etc.

Being a hanging, free swinging, soft rope is beneficial over the prior art (which typically shows handles, poles, ropes with rungs, belts with metal fasteners, etc.) in that if a user bumps into the device (for instance when using the bathroom at nighttime, in the dark), the user will not be hurt by such contact.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the embodiment comprises a method of making a bathtub safety apparatus for providing a handhold for a user getting into and out of a bathtub, said bathtub having a sturdy ceiling support extending there-above. The method comprising the steps of: providing an eyehook having a threaded shank; screwing the threaded shank into the ceiling support; providing a length of rope having a first end extending to a second end; attaching a portion of the rope adjacent the first end to the eyehook through use of a lanyard hitch; attaching the first end to the rope through use of an eye-splice adjacent the first end; braiding, through use of a chain knot, a substantial portion of the remainder of the length of rope to form a braided portion; and terminating the braided portion in an overhand knot adjacent the second end.

It is further preferred that the method comprise the steps of predrilling a hole for the threaded shank to be screwed into; applying a bonding agent to the threaded shank before screwing into the hole; and permitting the bonding agent to set for 24 hours before attaching the rope.

It is further preferred that the method comprise the steps of detaching the rope from the eyehook by undoing the lanyard hitch; washing the rope; and reattaching the rope to the eyehook through use of a lanyard hitch.

The purpose of the Abstract is to enable the public, and especially the scientists, engineers, and practitioners in the art who are not familiar with patent or legal terms or phraseology, to determine quickly from a cursory inspection, the nature and essence of the technical disclosure of the application. The Abstract is neither intended to define the invention of the application, which is measured by the claims, nor is it intended to be limiting as to the scope of the invention in any way.

Still other features and advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in this art from the following detailed description describing preferred embodiments of the invention, simply by way of illustration of the best mode contemplated by carrying out our invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of modification in various obvious respects all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and description of the preferred embodiments are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not as restrictive in nature.

While there is shown and described the present preferred embodiment of the invention, it is to be distinctly understood that this invention is not limited thereto, but may be variously embodied to practice within the scope of the following claims. From the foregoing description, it will be apparent that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the following claims.