Title:
Sleeve and Pillow Combination For Infant Care
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A unit which includes a tubular sleeve to accommodate a part of the arm of a caretaker and a soft arcuate pillow that is releasably attached to the sleeve when desired by means, such as hook-and-loop fastening means, so the pillow can be used when desired and the sleeve by itself can be used when desirable.



Inventors:
Villanueva, Trisha (Arroyo Grande, CA, US)
Villanueva, Mario (Arroyo Grande, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/044057
Publication Date:
09/10/2009
Filing Date:
03/07/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C16/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEE, GILBERT Y
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Paul R. Martin, Paul Richard Martin (Oakland, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A unit for cradling an infant on a caretaker's arm comprising: A) a one piece sleeve element which fits over a forearm portion of a caretaker when the sleeve element is in use, the sleeve element including a one-piece body formed of microfiber material and having a first end that is located adjacent to an elbow of the caretaker when the sleeve element is in use, a second end which is located adjacent to a wrist of the caretaker when the sleeve element is in use, the sleeve element having a bore defined therethrough and extending from the first end to the second end, the first end of the body of the sleeve element being larger than the second end so that the first end of the body of the sleeve element is a large end and the second end of the body of the sleeve element is a small end, the bore being sized to snugly accommodate the forearm of the user when the sleeve element is in use, the body being arcuate and elongate and curving from the first end to the second end and having a radius of curvature from the first end of the body of the sleeve element to the second end of the body of the sleeve element; B) a pillow element which has a first end that is located adjacent to the first end of the sleeve element when the pillow unit is in use, a second end which is spaced apart from the second end of the sleeve element when the pillow element is in use, the second end of the pillow element being larger than the first end of the pillow element so that the second end of the pillow element is a large end and the first end of the pillow element is a small end, the pillow element being one-piece and arcuate to curve from the first end of the pillow element to the second end of the pillow element and having a radius of curvature, with the radius of curvature of the pillow element corresponding to the radius of curvature of the sleeve element and the large end of the pillow element being located adjacent to the small end of the sleeve element and the small end of the pillow element being located adjacent to the large end of the sleeve when the pillow element is accommodated on the sleeve element in the use condition so that the pillow element is snugly accommodated in the arcuate sleeve element when the pillow element and the sleeve element are in use; and C) attaching elements releasably attaching the pillow element to the sleeve element when the pillow element and the sleeve element are in use.

2. (canceled)

3. The unit defined in claim 1 wherein the first end of the sleeve element is flared radially outward.

4. (canceled)

5. A unit for cradling an infant on a caretaker's arm comprising: A) a one piece sleeve element which fits over a forearm portion of a caretaker when the sleeve element is in use, the sleeve element including a one-piece having a first end that is located adjacent to an elbow of the caretaker when the sleeve element is in use, a second end which is located adjacent to a wrist of the caretaker when the sleeve element is in use, the sleeve element having a bore defined therethrough and extending from the first end to the second end, the bore being sized to snugly accommodate the forearm of the user when the sleeve element is in use, the body being arcuate and elongate and curving from the first end to the second end and having a radius of curvature from the first end of the body of the sleeve element to the second end of the body of the sleeve element; B) a pillow element which has a first end that is located adjacent to the first end of the sleeve element when the pillow unit is in use, a second end which is spaced apart from the second end of the sleeve element when the pillow element is in use, the pillow element being one-piece and arcuate to curve from the first end of the pillow element to the second end of the pillow element and having a radius of curvature, with the radius of curvature of the pillow element corresponding to the radius of curvature of the sleeve element so that the pillow element is snugly accommodated in the arcuate sleeve element when the pillow element and the sleeve element are in use; and C) attaching elements releasably attaching the pillow element to the sleeve element when the pillow element and the sleeve element are in use.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the general art of infants, and to the particular field of accessories used in the care of infants.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Rocking a child to sleep can be one of the most pleasurable and peaceful times for a new parent. This nighttime ritual can help to establish the parent-child bond while also creating a peaceful period of the day reserved solely for the child's relaxation, and the parents' as well.

Physically, for the parent, holding their child and looking in their eyes can create a sense of enormous pride and responsibility. New parents may be afraid of hurting the child or not supporting their delicate neck and soft skull. Accordingly, many parents, especially new parents, desire to place some sort of support beneath an infant's head whenever the head is supported.

Babies are cradled by caretakers, such as their mothers, during nursing or by any person when being held, carried, or rocked. When cradled, the baby's head rests in the crook of the arm. As a result, the arm can quickly grow tired and sore. Cradling can also cut off the blood flow through that portion of the arm on which the baby's head or body is resting, causing the arm to fall asleep. Furthermore, the crook of the arm does not always provide adequate cushioning for an infant's head, causing discomfort for the infant. If sleeves are worn, the surface on which the infant's head rests may be comprised of a fabric such as scratchy wool, or other harsh fabric used in clothing, also causing discomfort for the infant. A caretaker of an infant, baby, or small child, spends a lot of time comforting, rocking or nursing the baby. This is generally done while the caretaker is sitting in a chair, such as a rocking chair, with the head of the baby held against the caretaker's arm. The aforementioned actions can also be performed while the caretaker is standing. When performing these actions, the caretaker often becomes uncomfortable due to the weight of the baby's head against the caretaker's arm. This causes localized pressure on the arm, resulting in tension, sometimes swelling and abrasion to the caretaker's arm. Similar discomfort is experienced by the baby in and around its head, neck and shoulders and other parts of the body. While in a sitting position, the caretaker may experience other localized pressures created between the caretaker's arm the arm of a chair resulting in discomfort of greater or lesser degree depending upon the shape and hardness of the arm of the chair.

Since the caretaker of the baby must sit or remain in a fixed position for a relatively long time, extreme discomfort can be experienced by the caretaker. Because of this problem, attempts have been made to alleviate the discomfort to the caretaker and the baby. For instance, a blanket or ordinary head pillow have been used on the arm by being wrapped around the arm to cushion the weight of the baby's head and to alleviate the strain on the caretaker's arm when engaging the arm of the chair. However, these techniques are temporary at best, since the blanket or pillow tends to unwrap quickly due to arm movements of the caretaker and head movements of the baby. These movements cause the blanket and the pillow to become loose on the arm and they become essentially ineffective in reducing discomfort. Because of this drawback, the caretaker must continually readjust the position of the blanket or the pillow to its ideal position.

Another problem encountered in holding a baby during nursing or other activities is the accumulation of perspiration between the caretaker's arm and the baby's head. This perspiration, during hot weather for instance, can cause a bad skin condition on both the caretaker and the baby. Such a condition is clearly to be avoided if at all possible.

Therefore, there is a need for a compact and convenient cushioning device to provide a comforting buffer between a baby's head and the arm of a person cradling or nursing the baby.

There is also need for a device designed especially to provide a comforting buffer between the area of the arm and the child where the two come together when the mother or other person cradling or holding a child or other object in the crook of the arm. Sometimes, however, it is comfortable for both the caregiver and the infant if only a cover is placed on the caregiver's arm. In such instances, a pillow would be cumbersome and unnecessary, if not counterproductive. Therefore, there is a need for a means to provide comfort to an infant in the manner discussed above, but which can be modified to accommodate various circumstances.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

These, and other, objects are achieved by a unit which includes a tubular sleeve to accommodate a part of the arm of a caretaker and a soft arcuate pillow that is releasably attached to the sleeve when desired by means, such as hook-and-loop fastening means, so the pillow can be used when desired and the sleeve by itself can be used when desirable. The material of the pillow and the sleeve are both yieldable to the touch, such as microfiber material. The pillow and the sleeve can be made of any suitable material which is soft and which preferably can be washed so that the elements of the unit can be used over and over again. It also is preferably of a non-slip material which will not cause skin problems on the baby's head or the caretaker's arm.

The subject invention defines a means by which a mother or other person can utilize a mechanism to provide a cushion or a pillow between the mother and the child in order for the mother to hold the child comfortably, both for the child and the mother, while cradling the child in the mother's arms, yet which can be easily modified to meet particular needs. The unit of the present invention permits both the child and the caretaker to remain comfortable during rocking and/or feeding.

The pillow provides comfort to the caretaker in that it cushions the head of the baby so as to minimize the discomfort to the caretaker's arm and cushions the caretaker's arm against the arm of a chair in which the caretaker is sitting while holding the baby while the sleeve protects the caretaker's arm and the releasable connection between the pillow and the sleeve allows the caretaker to easily modify the unit in a manner which is beneficial to both the caretaker and the infant. Furthermore, as is sometimes the situation, the pillow becomes soiled while the sleeve does not. Since the pillow and the sleeve of the unit embodying the present invention are separable, the pillow can be laundered separately from the sleeve. This permits the pillow to be laundered without requiring simultaneous laundering of the sleeve, or laundering the two elements in separate procedures whereby laundering materials suitable for the infant can be used for the pillow and laundering materials suitable for the caretaker can be used for the sleeve.

A caretaker can sit or stand for long periods of time with the arm supporting the head of the baby. The baby's head can be properly supported in a comfortable manner yet the perspiration generated on the baby's head will be absorbed by the pillow rather than being placed in contact with the caretaker's arm.

Other systems, methods, features, and advantages of the invention will be, or will become, apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following figure and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features, and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the invention, and be protected by the following claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURE

The invention can be better understood with reference to the following drawing and description. The components in the figure are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a sleeve and pillow unit embodying the principles of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the figure, it can be understood that the present invention is embodied in a unit 10 for cradling an infant on a caretaker's arm. The unit comprises an arcuate sleeve element 20 which fits over a forearm portion of a caretaker when the sleeve element is in use. The sleeve element is formed of soft material which can be readily laundered yet which is comfortable for the wearer and allows the wearer's arm to breath during use to prevent perspiration from making the wearing of the sleeve element uncomfortable. The sleeve element includes a body 30 which has a first end 32 that is located adjacent to an elbow of the caretaker when the sleeve element is in use, and which is flared radially outward to facilitate easy donning of the sleeve. Sleeve element 20 further includes a second end 36 which is located adjacent to a wrist of the caretaker when the sleeve element is in use. Second end 36 of the sleeve element can be tapered radially inward to produce a snug fit of the sleeve element on the user's arm. A bore 40 is defined through the body of the sleeve element and extends from first end 32 to second end 36. The bore is sized to snugly accommodate the forearm of the user when the sleeve element is in use.

A pillow element 50 is formed of material that is soft to an infant's touch and which may be laundered separately from the sleeve element and which can be laundered in a manner that is safe to the infant. The material of the pillow can be breathable so the infant remains comfortable, even on hot days. The separate nature of the pillow and the sleeve permits special laundering that will be amenable to both the infant and the caretaker and will permit the pillow to be laundered even if the sleeve does not require laundering. Pillow element 50 is arcuate and has a first end 54 that is located adjacent to first end 32 of the sleeve element when the pillow unit is in use and a second end 56 which is spaced apart from second end 36 of the sleeve element when the pillow element is in use. The pillow can be supplied in various sizes, shapes and materials since it is separate from the sleeve whereby the most comfortable size and shape of the pillow can be selected for the particular needs of the infant. As shown in the figure, the pillow is tapered from end 56 to end 54 so the smaller end of the pillow is located adjacent to the elbow region of the caregiver's arm so the shape of the pillow is adjusted according to the room available between the caregiver and the infant.

Hook-and-loop attaching elements 60, such as VELCRO or the like, on both the sleeve element and the pillow element releasably attach the pillow element to the sleeve element when the pillow element and the sleeve element are in use. The releasable nature of the attaching means between the pillow and the sleeve allows the pillow to be easily moved and its position and orientation adjusted for the most comfort for both the infant and the caregiver.

While various embodiments of the invention have been described, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that many more embodiments and implementations are possible within the scope of this invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be restricted except in light of the attached claims and their equivalents.