Title:
Infant cradling device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An infant cradling device having a curved support member such that the support member can be rocked side-to-side. Preferably, the upper surface of the support member is provided with a layer of padding, and both are preferably encased within a removable cover that is washable. An infant seat is provided on the upper surface at one end of the device, the seat formed as a waistband and a crotch member positioned on the upper surface of the cover whereby two leg holes are defined to receive the legs of the infant therethrough. Preferably, a hand strap or pocket is provided on the rear of the device to secure the device when held.



Inventors:
Beers, Jason (Middleburg, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/217436
Publication Date:
04/30/2009
Filing Date:
07/03/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47D9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LIU, JONATHAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ream Law Firm, L.L.C. (OTTAWA, KS, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A portable infant cradling device comprising: a support member curved in transverse cross-section comprising curved upper and lower surfaces; a seat member positioned on said support member, said seat member comprising a waistband and a crotch member that in combination define a pair of leg openings; whereby said curved lower surface of said support member enables said device to rock in a side-to-side manner when on a flat surface, and whereby said curved upper surface of said support member laterally centers an infant retained within said device.

2. The device of claim 1, further comprising holding means for securing the device when held, said holding means positioned on the lower surface of the support member.

3. The device of claim 2, wherein said holding means comprises a strap member.

4. The device of claim 2, wherein said holding means comprises a pocket member.

5. The device of claim 1, further comprising a cover member positioned on said support member.

6. The device of claim 5, wherein said cover member is removable.

7. The device of claim 5, wherein said seat member is connected to said cover member.

8. The device of claim 2, further comprising a cover member disposed on said support member, and wherein said holding means is connected to said cover member.

9. The device of claim 1, further comprising a padding layer positioned on said upper surface of said support member.

10. The device of claim 5, further comprising a padding layer positioned between said upper surface of said support member and said cover member.

11. A portable infant cradling device comprising: a support member curved in transverse cross-section comprising curved upper and lower surfaces; a seat member positioned on one end of said upper surface of said support member, said seat member comprising a waistband and a crotch member that in combination define a pair of leg openings; holding means for securing the device when held, said holding means positioned on the lower surface of the support member toward the end of the support member opposite to the end of the support member bearing the seat member; whereby said curved lower surface of said support member enables said device to rock in a side-to-side manner when on a flat surface, and whereby said curved upper surface of said support member laterally centers an infant retained within said device.

12. The device of claim 11, wherein said holding means comprises a strap member.

13. The device of claim 11, wherein said holding means comprises a pocket member.

14. The device of claim 11, further comprising a cover member positioned on said support member.

15. The device of claim 14, wherein said cover member is removable.

16. The device of claim 14, wherein said seat member is connected to said cover member.

17. The device of claim 14, wherein said holding means is connected to said cover member.

18. The device of claim 1, further comprising a padding layer positioned on said upper surface of said support member.

19. The device of claim 14, further comprising a padding layer positioned between said upper surface of said support member and said cover member.

20. A portable infant cradling device comprising: a support member curved in transverse cross-section comprising curved upper and lower surfaces; a removable cover member positioned on said support member; a seat member positioned on one end of said upper surface of said support member and mounted on said cover member, said seat member comprising a waistband and a crotch member that in combination define a pair of leg openings; holding means for securing the device when held, said holding means mounted on said cover member and positioned on the lower surface of the support member toward the end of the support member opposite to the end of the support member bearing the seat member; whereby said curved lower surface of said support member enables said device to rock in a side-to-side manner when on a flat surface, and whereby said curved upper surface of said support member laterally centers an infant retained within said device.

Description:

This patent application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/958,142, filed Jul. 3, 2007.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to the field of infant carriers and infant cradles, and more particularly relates to such devices that are portable and can be handheld.

Various articles of furniture and carrier devices have been developed to retain and support infants in a prone position. Some are designed to remain in a particular location, such as infant beds and cradles, while others such as portable cradles are designed to allow relative easy relocation of the cradles itself, while still others are infant carriers designed to be portable while the infant is retained within the carrier. Carriers are often designed to function with or as part of a baby car seat. For example, a typical infant carrier is a relatively bulky device with a large handle that pivots into various positions above the carrier for transport or below the carrier for stabilization of the carrier on a surface.

It is an object of this invention to provide an infant cradling device that is lightweight and easily portable, that can be used on a surface or held within a person's arms with the infant being supported therein, especially such that the infant's head is fully supported. As a further benefit, the invention can be used as a rocking cradle on a table or floor.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is an infant cradling device that comprises a support member of sufficient rigidity and length to support an infant from the base of the infant's torso and beyond the head of the infant, the support member being curved on its upper and lower surfaces in transverse cross-section with the sides of the support member being curved upward so as to maintain the infant in the center of the support member and such that the support member can be rocked side-to-side. Preferably, the upper surface of the support member is provided with a layer of padding, and both are preferably encased within a removable cover that is washable. An infant seat or restraint means is provided on one end of the device, the seat comprising a waistband and a leg strap joined to the upper surface of the cover whereby two leg holes are defined to receive the legs of the infant therethrough. Preferably, a hand strap, pocket or similar holding means is provided on the rear of the device, with the gripping means structured so as not to preclude or overly interfere with side-to-side movement of the cradling device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top view of an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an end view of the embodiment of FIG. 1, as seen from the bottom.

FIG. 4 is a partial, transverse, cross-sectional view of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a partial side view of an alternate embodiment of the invention, showing a pocket member as the holding means.

FIG. 6 is a partial view of an alternative embodiment of the invention, showing the seat member provided with releasable fastener members.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference to the drawings, the invention will now be described in detail with regard for the best mode and the preferred embodiment. In general, the invention is an infant cradling device that supports the head and torso of an infant, the device being lightweight and portable, easily held by a person's arm while the infant is cradled therein, and able to function as a rocking cradle on a flat surface. It should be understood that any use of the term “preferably” in this specification is not meant to be limiting, but is used to illustrate a preferred example out of multiple possible embodiments.

The infant cradling device comprises an elongated support member 11 composed of a relatively rigid material such as hard plastic or a material with similar properties, with both the upper and lower surfaces of the support member 11 being curved such that the device is easily rocked side-to-side when placed on a flat surface and such that an infant placed in the device is laterally centered. Preferably the support member 11 is fully curved in transverse cross-section with no flat portion that would create a longitudinal edge to interfere with a smooth back-and-forth rocking motion when the device is placed on a flat surface. Also preferably, a padding layer 12 composed of a polymer foam, felt, fabric or material having similar properties is joined to or positioned on the upper surface of the support member 11. The support member 11 and padding layer 12 are preferably encased within a cover member 13, formed of a fabric, plastic, padded or similar material. Most preferably, the cover member 13 is removable and washable. The cover member 13 may be provided with a fastening means 14, such as a zipper, hook-and-loop fastener, snaps (as shown in FIG. 1) or any other similar mechanism for securing the cover member 13 in place on the support member 11.

A generally T-shaped infant seat or restraint member 15 is provided on one end of the cover member 13, if present, or directly to the support member 11 or padding layer 12, the seat member 15 comprising a waistband member 16 extending from one side of the device to the other and a crotch member 17 adjoined on one end to the waistband member 16 with its other end affixed at or adjacent the end of the device in a central position. In this manner a pair of leg openings 18 is defined, such that with the legs of the infant inserted through the leg openings 18 the waistband encircles the infant's waist to secure the child within the device and the infant's torso and head are supported by the remaining portion of the support member 11. In an alternative embodiment, the infant seat member 15 may be provide with releasable fastener members 21, such as a zipper, hook-and-loop fastener, snaps (as shown in FIG. 6) or any other similar mechanism, such that one or both of the sides of the waistband 16, or the crotch member 17 as well, could be released from the support member 11 or cover member 13, to make placement and removal of the infant easier. The seat 15 may be composed of fabric, cloth, plastic or other material similar to that of the cover member 13, may be formed of strap material, or may be formed of any material of similar properties.

In another embodiment of the device, a holding means is provided on the lower surface or rear of the device for securing the device when in use to cradle a baby in a person's arm, preferably being positioned toward the end of the support member 11 opposite from the seat member 15. The holding means should be constructed so as to not interfere with the rocking function of the device, and may be made of a flexible or elastic material such as cloth or fabric, or may be molded of rigid plastic or the like with a curved profile. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the holding means comprises a strap member 19. The person may insert her or his fingers or hand through the strap 19, or may grip the strap 19 directly, to better retain the device. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 5, a pocket 20 open toward the seat member end of the device may be provided as the holding means, whereby the person slips her or his hand fully or partially into the pocket 20.

It is contemplated that equivalents or substitutions for certain elements set forth above may be obvious to those of ordinary skill in the art, and therefore the true scope and definition of the invention is to be as set forth in the following claims.





 
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