Title:
Suicide Deterrent Shower Curtain
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A suicide-deterring shower curtain for use in a shower stall is disclosed. An optional outer web has a plurality of apertures therethrough, and an inner web includes a plurality of flaps. Each flap corresponds to and substantially covers one of the apertures of the outer web. In use, with the shower curtain suspended proximate the top side thereof in the shower stall, water impacting the inner web rolls off each flap and is prevented from traversing the apertures of the outer web. Yet air may traverse freely through the apertures of the outer web and around the flaps of the inner web. As such, a person wrapped in the shower curtain is unlikely to asphyxiate since air may freely flow through the shower curtain.



Inventors:
Shilts, Steven (San Diego, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/260976
Publication Date:
05/07/2009
Filing Date:
10/29/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
160/330
International Classes:
A47H23/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RAMSEY, JEREMY C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
QUICKPATENTS (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A shower curtain for a shower stall comprising: an inner web having a proximal side, a distal side, a top side, and a plurality of flaps, each flap defined by at least one traversing slit in the web; whereby with the web suspended proximate the top side thereof in the shower stall, water impacting the proximal side of the inner web rolls off each flap and is prevented from traversing slits thereof, yet air may traverse freely through the slits thereof.

2. The shower curtain of claim 1 further including an outer web having a proximal side, a distal side, a top side, and a plurality of apertures therethrough, each flap of the inner web corresponding to and substantially covering one of the apertures in the outer web, the distal side of the inner web fixed with the proximal side of the outer web; whereby with each web suspended proximate the top side thereof in the shower stall, water impacting the proximal side of the inner web rolls off each flap and is prevented from traversing the apertures of the outer web, yet air may traverse freely through the apertures of the outer web and around the flaps of the inner web.

3. The shower curtain of claim 1 wherein the flaps of the inner web are each defined by a horizontal slit in the inner web.

4. The shower curtain of claim 1 wherein the flaps of the inner web are each defined by a U-shaped slit in the inner web.

5. The shower curtain of claim 2 wherein the top sides of the inner and outer webs define a top side of the shower curtain, and further including a plurality of fastening straps fixed proximate the top side of the shower curtain, each fastening strap having a selectively removable fastener.

6. The shower curtain of claim 5 wherein the selectively removable fastener is a two-part hook-and-loop type fastener, whereby if excess weight is applied to the shower curtain each removable fastener releases.

7. The shower curtain of claim 2 further including a strengthening grid disposed between the inner and outer webs.

8. The shower curtain of claim 7 wherein the strengthening grid is taken from the list of materials consisting of nylon fibers, plastic mesh, and rubber filaments.

9. The shower curtain of claim 2 wherein the inner and outer webs are each made from a polyvinyl chloride web.

10. The shower curtain of claim 2 wherein the inner and outer webs are each made from vinyl material.

11. The shower curtain of claim 2 wherein the webs are mutually bonded by ultrasonic welding.

12. The shower curtain of claim 2 wherein the webs are mutually bonded with an adhesive layer.

13. A shower curtain for a shower stall comprising: an outer web having a proximal side, a distal side, a top side, and a plurality of apertures therethrough; a plurality of flaps, each flap bonded around and substantially covering one of the apertures in the outer web, a lower side of each flap open at a bottom side thereof to the aperture; whereby with the outer web suspended proximate the top side thereof in the shower stall, water impacting the proximal sides of the outer web rolls off each flap and is prevented from traversing the apertures of the outer web, yet air may traverse freely through the apertures of the outer web and around the bottom side of the flaps.

14. The shower curtain of claim 13 wherein the top side of the outer web defines a top side of the shower curtain, and further including a plurality of fastening straps fixed proximate the top side of the shower curtain, each fastening strap having a selectively removable fastener.

15. The shower curtain of claim 14 wherein the selectively removable fastener is a two-part hook-and-loop type fastener, whereby if excess weight is applied to the shower curtain each removable fastener releases.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application 61/001,514, filed on Nov. 2, 2007, and incorporated herein by reference.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

NOTICE OF COPYRIGHTS AND TRADE DRESS

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. This patent document may show and/or describe matter which is or may become trade dress of the owner. The copyright and trade dress owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by any one of the patent disclosure as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright and trade dress rights whatsoever.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to shower curtains, and more particularly to a suicide deterrent shower curtain.

DISCUSSION OF RELATED ART

Hospitals, correctional facilities, and other institutions necessarily need to take steps to reduce instances of inmate or patient suicide. Suicide attempts are often made by attempting asphyxiation from normally innocuous objects in the person's cell or hospital room. A conventional shower curtain can be wrapped around a person's head for the purpose of asphyxiation, for example.

Louvers are well known for keeping water on one side of a louvered barrier while allowing air to flow freely therethrough. However, louvered items are necessarily rigid, and as such more expensive to manufacture. Adding louvers to a shower curtain would be ineffective since the slats would necessarily need to be flexible and therefore ineffective as a water barrier.

Therefore, there is a need for a shower curtain device would inhibit asphyxiation when wrapped around a person's head, for example. Such a needed shower curtain would be an effective water barrier in at least one direction, preventing water from a shower from traversing the shower curtain to land outside of the shower. Such a needed invention would be relatively simple to manufacture and could be made inexpensively. The present invention accomplishes these objectives.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present device is a suicide-deterring shower curtain for use in a shower stall. In one embodiment, an inner web includes a plurality of flaps open at a lower end thereof. In another embodiment, an outer web is included that has a plurality of apertures therethrough, and each flap of the inner web corresponds to and substantially covers one of the apertures of the outer web.

A plurality of fastening straps may be fixed proximate a top side of the shower curtain, each fastening strap having a selectively removable fastener thereon, such as a hook-and-loop type fastener, mechanical snaps, or the like. As such, if excess weight, such as more than ten pounds, for example, is applied to the shower curtain each removable fastener releases. Each strap may be fixed to a shower curtain rail, which is fixed proximate a ceiling in the shower stall, for example. Alternately, the straps may loop around a shower curtain rod, or other shower curtain suspension means.

In use, with the shower curtain suspended proximate the top side thereof in the shower stall, water impacting the inner web rolls off each flap and is prevented from traversing the apertures of the outer web. Yet air may traverse freely through the apertures of the outer web and around the flaps of the inner web. As such, a person wrapped in the shower curtain is unlikely to asphyxiate since air may freely flow through the shower curtain.

The present device inhibits asphyxiation when wrapped around a person's head, for example, by allowing air to flow freely between each side of the device. Moreover, such a shower curtain is an effective water barrier, preventing water from a shower from traversing the shower curtain to land outside of the shower. The present invention may be made inexpensively. Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective illustration of the invention, illustrated in use in a shower stall;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of a portion of a shower curtain of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a partial front elevational view of the invention, illustrated in use;

FIG. 4A is a cross-sectional view of one embodiment of the invention, taken generally along lines 4-4 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 4B is a cross-sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the invention, taken generally along lines 4-4 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a partial front elevational view of one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a partial front elevational view of another embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 7 is a partial perspective view of the invention, illustrated in use.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Illustrative embodiments of the invention are described below. The following explanation provides specific details for a thorough understanding of and enabling description for these embodiments. One skilled in the art will understand that the invention may be practiced without such details. In other instances, well-known structures and functions have not been shown or described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the description of the embodiments.

Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, throughout the description and the claims, the words “comprise,” “comprising,” and the like are to be construed in an inclusive sense as opposed to an exclusive or exhaustive sense; that is to say, in the sense of “including, but not limited to.” Words using the singular or plural number also include the plural or singular number respectively. Additionally, the words “herein,” “above,” “below” and words of similar import, when used in this application, shall refer to this application as a whole and not to any particular portions of this application. When the claims use the word “or” in reference to a list of two or more items, that word covers all of the following interpretations of the word: any of the items in the list, all of the items in the list and any combination of the items in the list.

FIGS. 1, 2, 4A, and 4B illustrate a suicide-deterring shower curtain 10 for use in a shower stall 15. In the simplest embodiment of the invention, an inner web 30 includes a proximal side 32, a distal side 38, a top side 36, and a plurality of flaps 50. Each flap 50 may be defined by a horizontal slit 60 in the inner web 30 (FIG. 5), for example, defining a bottom side 112 of the flap 50 (FIG. 6). Alternately, each flap 50 may be defined by a U-shaped slit 70 in the inner web 30 (FIG. 5). Each flap 50 may be heat formed and stretched so that the bottom side 112 of the flap 50 overhangs the horizontal slit 60 or U-shaped slit 70 (FIG. 4A).

In an alternate, preferred embodiment, an outer web 20 is further included and has a proximal side 22, a distal side 28, a top side 26, and a plurality of apertures 40 therethrough. Each flap 50 corresponds to and substantially covers one of the apertures 40 of the outer web 20, yet is not able to traverse the aperture 40 (FIG. 4B).

Preferably the top sides 26,36 of each web 20,30 define a top side 16 of the shower curtain 10. A plurality of fastening straps 80 may be fixed proximate the top side 16 of the shower curtain 10, each fastening strap 80 having a selectively removable fastener 90 thereon, such as a hook-and-loop type fastener 95, mechanical snap (not shown), or the like. As such, if excess weight, such as more than ten pounds, for example, is applied to the shower curtain 10 each removable fastener 90 releases. Each strap 80 may be fixed to a shower curtain rail 85 (FIG. 7), which is fixed proximate a ceiling (not shown) in the shower stall 15, for example. Alternately, the straps 80 may loop around a shower curtain rod (not shown), or other shower curtain suspension means.

A strengthening grid 100 may be disposed between the inner and outer webs 20,30, such a grid 100 being made of, for example, nylon fibers, plastic mesh, rubber filaments, or the like. Further, each web 20,30 may be made from a flexible sheet material, such as polyvinyl chloride, vinyl, or other plastic water-impervious material. The shower curtain 10 may further including an anti-microbial treated PVC material. Further, each web 20,30 may be mutually bonded together through ultrasonic welding, adhesive, or the like. The strengthening grid 100 prevents the shower curtain 10 from being ripped into strips (not shown) that may also be used to fashion a hanging implement. Further, the shower curtain 10 is preferably not transparent for increasing privacy.

In use, with each web 20,30 suspended proximate the top side 26,36 thereof in the shower stall (FIGS. 1, 3, 4 and 7), water 12 impacting the proximal side 32 of the inner web 30 rolls off each flap 50 and is prevented from traversing the apertures 40 of the outer web 20. Yet, air 13 may traverse freely through the apertures 40 of the outer web 20 and around the flaps 50 of the inner web 30. As such, a person wrapped in the shower curtain 10 is unlikely to asphyxiate since air 13 may freely flow through the shower curtain 10.

While a particular form of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will be apparent that various modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, a regular grid of the apertures 40 is illustrated in FIG. 2, but each row of apertures 40 may be staggered with respect to adjacent rows, or other patterns of apertures 40 and flaps 50 may be used. Alternately, flaps 50 may be individual pieces (not shown) of the web material, each bonded or ultrasonically welded over the apertures 40 of the outer web 20. Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited, except as by the appended claims.

The teachings provided herein can be applied to other systems, not necessarily the system described herein. The elements and acts of the various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments. All of the above patents and applications and other references, including any that may be listed in accompanying filing papers, are incorporated herein by reference. Aspects of the invention can be modified, if necessary, to employ the systems, functions, and concepts of the various references described above to provide yet further embodiments of the invention.

These and other changes can be made to the invention in light of the above Detailed Description. While the above description details certain embodiments of the invention and describes the best mode contemplated, no matter how detailed the above appears in text, the invention can be practiced in many ways. Details of the system may vary considerably in its implementation details, while still being encompassed by the invention disclosed herein.

Particular terminology used when describing certain features or aspects of the invention should not be taken to imply that the terminology is being redefined herein to be restricted to any specific characteristics, features, or aspects of the invention with which that terminology is associated. In general, the terms used in the following claims should not be construed to limit the invention to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification, unless the above Detailed Description section explicitly defines such terms. Accordingly, the actual scope of the invention encompasses not only the disclosed embodiments, but also all equivalent ways of practicing or implementing the invention.

The above detailed description of the embodiments of the invention is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed above or to the particular field of usage mentioned in this disclosure. While specific embodiments of, and examples for, the invention are described above for illustrative purposes, various equivalent modifications are possible within the scope of the invention, as those skilled in the relevant art will recognize. Also, the teachings of the invention provided herein can be applied to other systems, not necessarily the system described above. The elements and acts of the various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments.

All of the above patents and applications and other references, including any that may be listed in accompanying filing papers, are incorporated herein by reference. Aspects of the invention can be modified, if necessary, to employ the systems, functions, and concepts of the various references described above to provide yet further embodiments of the invention.

Changes can be made to the invention in light of the above “Detailed Description.” While the above description details certain embodiments of the invention and describes the best mode contemplated, no matter how detailed the above appears in text, the invention can be practiced in many ways. Therefore, implementation details may vary considerably while still being encompassed by the invention disclosed herein. As noted above, particular terminology used when describing certain features or aspects of the invention should not be taken to imply that the terminology is being redefined herein to be restricted to any specific characteristics, features, or aspects of the invention with which that terminology is associated.

In general, the terms used in the following claims should not be construed to limit the invention to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification, unless the above Detailed Description section explicitly defines such terms. Accordingly, the actual scope of the invention encompasses not only the disclosed embodiments, but also all equivalent ways of practicing or implementing the invention under the claims.

While certain aspects of the invention are presented below in certain claim forms, the inventor contemplates the various aspects of the invention in any number of claim forms. Accordingly, the inventor reserves the right to add additional claims after filing the application to pursue such additional claim forms for other aspects of the invention.