Title:
Infant sleep positioner
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An infant sleep positioner for holding an infant. The infant sleep positioner comprises a frame and a support end for holding or supporting an infant in an elevated position. The infant sleep positioner may be provided with a knee bolster to support the legs of the infant.

Side bolsters that are releaseably attached, permanently fixed, and/or integrally molded to the frame may be provided to receive and prevent the infant from rolling off of the infant sleep positioner. Also, wings molded to the frame may be employed. Various means for adjusting the height of the support end of the frame and the elevated position of the infant are also provided. Ventilation holes can be included to assist in providing increased airflow and ventilation to the infant. A covering for the infant sleep positioner may be used to assist in releaseably attaching or permanently affixing the side bolsters to the frame and/or to provide varying materials in supporting the infant and covering the frame. In addition to use of the infant sleep positioner on a support surface, the infant sleep positioner may be used in a crib between a crib sheet and a crib mattress.




Inventors:
Straub, Mariann (Winnetka, IL, US)
Application Number:
12/381977
Publication Date:
09/24/2009
Filing Date:
03/18/2009
Assignee:
Mariann C. Straub
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47D13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KELLEHER, WILLIAM J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KNECHTEL, DEMEUR & SAMLAN (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An infant sleep positioner, comprising: a frame having a top surface, a bottom surface, and each sharing a proximal end and a distal end, the proximal end aligned in a first plane; means for elevating the distal end of the frame into a second plane in relation to the proximal end and forming an angle between the first plane and the second plane; a knee bolster extending outwardly from the proximal end of the frame.

Description:

I. CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This patent application is a non-provisional application claiming priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/070,013, entitled “Infant Sleep Positioner,” filed on Mar. 18, 2008, and is fully incorporated herein by reference.

II. FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to infant sleep positioners and, more particularly, to a device for positioning an infant on their back while sleeping and, thereby, reduce the risk of sudden infant death and may help reduce reflex and aid in digestion of food. The device further provides enhanced ventilation to the infant and, in several embodiments, eliminates the use of “pillow” or “foam” like structures.

III. DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

Medical studies have shown that infants who sleep on their backs or sides have a reduced risk of dying suddenly from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) as compared to infants who sleep on their stomachs.

Knowing this and in an effort to help reduce the risk to infants, Applicant has invented a number of devices as disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,473,923; 5,341,531; D448,227; D446,675; D408,676; D385,143; D369,934; D369,054; and pending U.S. Patent Application, Publication Number 2006/0168733 entitled “Infant Positioner For Reducing Risk of Overheating In Infants” and U.S. Patent Application, Publication Number 2007/0163051 entitled “Infant Wedge Sleep Positioner.” Other devices have also been invented as disclosed in the various U.S. patents identified in the Information Disclosure Statement (i.e., PTO/SB/08A) contemporaneously filed with this patent application and incorporated herein by reference.

Although these and other similar devices are used to decrease the incidence of SIDS based on the sleeping position of infants, the art in this field continues to expand and grow with new inventive devices toward improving sleep positioning devices and the common goal of providing for the health and safety of infants. Thus, there is a need and there has never been disclosed Applicant's new infant sleep positioner that, among many benefits, reduces the risk of sudden infant death, helps reduce reflex and aid in digestion of food, provides enhanced ventilation to the infant and, in several embodiments, eliminates the use of “pillow” or “foam” like structures.

IV. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is an infant sleep positioner for holding an infant. The infant sleep positioner comprises a frame and a support end for holding or supporting an infant in an elevated position. The infant sleep positioner may be provided with a knee bolster to support the legs of the infant. Side bolsters that are releaseably attached, permanently fixed, and/or integrally molded to the frame may be provided to receive and prevent the infant from rolling off of the infant sleep positioner. Also, wings molded to the frame may be employed. Various means for adjusting the height of the support end of the frame and the elevated position of the infant are also provided. Ventilation holes can be included to assist in providing increased airflow and ventilation to the infant. A covering for the infant sleep positioner may be used to assist in releaseably attaching or permanently affixing the side bolsters to the frame and/or to provide varying materials in supporting the infant and covering the frame. In addition to use of the infant sleep positioner on a support surface, the infant sleep positioner may be used in a crib between a crib sheet and a crib mattress.

V. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The Description of the Preferred Embodiment will be better understood with reference to the following figures:

FIG. 1 is a side perspective view of Applicant's unique infant sleep positioner and, in particular, illustrating a unique sleep positioner device and three different variations of side bolsters that may be used in positioning the infant on the infant sleep positioner.

FIG. 2 is a side perspective view of Applicant's infant sleep positioner and, in particular, illustrating a plurality of holes throughout the infant sleep positioner for ventilation.

FIG. 3 is a side perspective view of Applicant's infant sleep positioner and, in particular, illustrating an alternate embodiment for the side bolsters and attachment to the infant sleep positioner.

FIG. 4 is a side perspective view of Applicant's infant sleep positioner and, in particular, illustrating a covering for the infant sleep positioner.

FIG. 5 is a side perspective view of Applicant's infant sleep positioner and, in particular, illustrating an alternate embodiment of the covering for the infant sleep positioner to support and facilitate the attachment of the side bolsters.

FIG. 6 is a side perspective view of Applicant's infant sleep positioner and, in particular, illustrating another alternate embodiment in which any variation or embodiment of the side bolsters are integrally molded or formed into the infant sleep positioner.

FIGS. 7 through 10 are side perspective views of Applicant's infant sleep positioner and, in particular, illustrating various alternate embodiment designs of the knee bolster for the infant sleep positioner or the infant sleep positioner without a knee bolster altogether.

FIG. 11 is a side perspective view of Applicant's infant sleep positioner and, in particular, illustrating an alternate embodiment of the shape of the infant sleep positioner.

FIG. 12 is a side perspective view of Applicant's infant sleep positioner and, in particular, illustrating another alternate embodiment in which integrally molded or formed wings are used to prevent an infant from rolling off the infant sleep positioner.

FIG. 13 is a side perspective view of Applicant's infant sleep positioner and, in particular, illustrating a means for adjusting the acute angle of the infant sleep positioner to the support surface.

FIG. 14 is a side perspective of Applicant's infant sleep positioner and, in particular, illustrating an alternate means for adjusting the acute angle of the infant sleep positioner to the support surface.

FIG. 15 is a cross sectional view, taken along line 15-15 of FIG. 14, of the alternate means for adjusting the acute angle of the infant sleep positioner to the support surface.

FIG. 16 is a side perspective view of Applicant's infant sleep positioner and, in particular, illustrating the preferred embodiment of the infant sleep positioner having a plurality of ventilation holes, a pair of integrally molded wings, and without any knee bolster.

FIG. 16A is a cross-sectional view, taken along line 16A-16A of FIG. 16, illustrating the angle of the pair of wings in relation to the infant sleep positioner.

FIG. 16B is a cross-sectional view, taken along line 16B-16B of FIG. 16, illustrating an alternate angle of the pair of wings in relation to the infant sleep positioner.

FIG. 17 a side perspective view of Applicant's infant sleep positioner and, in particular, illustrating another alternate embodiment of the infant sleep positioner having a plurality of ventilation holes, a pair of wings, and without any knee bolster.

FIG. 18 is a side perspective view of Applicant's infant sleep positioner and, in particular, illustrating another alternate embodiment of the covering for the infant sleep positioner.

FIG. 19 is a side perspective view of Applicant's infant sleep positioner and, in particular, illustrating the positioning of the infant sleep positioner in a crib between a crib sheet and a crib mattress.

FIG. 20 is a side perspective view of an alternate embodiment of Applicant's infant sleep positioner.

FIG. 21 is a side perspective view of the alternate embodiment of Applicant's infant sleep positioner and, in particular, illustrating the positioning of the infant sleep positioner in a crib between a crib sheet and a crib mattress.

VI. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

At the outset, it should be noted that while the invention is described in conjunction with many various embodiments as illustrated in FIGS. 1-21, Applicant's preferred embodiment is that disclosed and illustrated in FIG. 16.

Turning first to FIG. 1, there is illustrated an infant sleep positioner 30. The infant sleep positioner 30 comprises a frame 32, a support end 34, and a knee bolster 36. In this embodiment, the frame 32, the support end 34, and the knee bolster 36 are connected into a single, one-piece infant sleep positioner 30. The infant sleep positioner 30 may be connected into a single, one-piece device by integrally molding the frame 32, the support end 34, and the knee bolster 36 together; assembling each of these components in their individual capacity adjacent to one another to form the infant sleep positioner 30 and then using a covering to retain or hold each of these individual components together; and/or, alternatively, using any other means known to one skilled in the art. Alternatively, the infant sleep positioner 30 may be provided with ventilating holes 88 throughout the frame 32, support end 34, and knee bolster 36, as illustrated in FIG. 2. Alternatively, the ventilating holes 88 can be formed of any shape including but not limited to slots, rectangle, square, oval, ovid, hexagon, rhombus, trapezoid, octagon, or any other desired shape known to one skilled in the art. In this manner, the air surrounding the infant sleep positioner 30 has direct access, through each of the ventilation holes 88, to the infant 58 on the infant sleep positioner 30. As overheating is thought to be a possible contributor of SIDS, the open design of this infant sleep positioner 30 and the ventilation holes 88 allows for the constant, free airflow completely around the infant 58 (including from underneath the infant 58 between the infant sleep positioner 30 and the support surface 52 due to the elevated infant sleep positioner 30) for increased air circulation and ventilation to the infant 58 to enable the transfer of air to and from the infant 58 for assisting in regulating the temperature of the infant 58. The illustration of the infant 58 is for informational purposes and as a non-limiting example only and does not form a part of the invention.

The frame 32 has atop surface 38, a bottom surface 40, and opposed sides 42 and 44. In this embodiment, the frame 32 is in the shape of a rectangle having a width 46, a length 48, and an acute angle 50 formed by the separation from the bottom surface 40 to a support surface 52 beginning at a proximal end 54 of the frame 32 and continuing to a distal end 56 of the frame 52. The acute angle 50, in this embodiment, is preferably in the range of between five to twenty degrees (5°-20°). Alternatively, the acute angle 50 may be a larger angle such as, for example, to accommodate or enhance digestion or breathing of the infant 58 as desired or recommended by a pediatrician or a smaller angle provided that the acute angle 50 provides a sufficient angle to accomplish the purposes described herein.

The support end 34 is situated at the distal end 56 of the frame 32. In this embodiment, the support end 34 is rectangular in shape and has an end width 62 (see FIG. 2) that is substantially the same as the width 46 of the frame 32 and has a fixed height 60 (see FIG. 2) that establishes or fixes the acute angle 50 for the frame 32. Alternatively, the support end 34 may be any shape or any means known to one skilled in the art for supporting the distal end 56 of the frame 32 and establishing or fixing the acute angle 50 for the frame 32.

The knee bolster 36 is situated at the proximal end 54 of the frame 32. The knee bolster 36 addresses a common problem found in other wedge type infant sleep positioners which is that the infant 58 can “wiggle” or “slide” down the slope of the frame 32 such that the infant's buttocks actually engage the support surface 52. The knee bolster 36 assists in preventing or eliminating this problem.

In this embodiment, the knee bolster 36 has an arcing curvature 64 that is ergonomically designed to accommodate or support the lower extremities of the infant 58 including the buttocks, legs, knees, and feet. For example, the knee bolster 36 can be viewed as separated into three sections: a seat support 66, a knee support 68, and a foot support 70. The seat support 66 is ergonomically designed to accommodate or support the buttocks and thighs of the infant 58; the knee support 68 is ergonomically designed to accommodate or support the thighs leading up to the apex 72 of the knee support 68, which supports the knees of the infant 58, and then the leg of the infant 58 as it extends from the knee support 68; and the foot support 70 which supports the remaining part of the leg and feet of the infant 58. Alternatively, the arcing curvature 64 may be increased or decreased to accommodate varying heights of infants 58 or as desired by one skilled in the art.

A first side bolster 74 is positioned adjacent to the side 42 of the frame 32 and a second side bolster 76 is positioned adjacent to the side 44 of the frame 32. In this manner, the combination of the first side bolster 74, the second side bolster 76, and the frame 32 coact to create a cradle 78 between them to receive the infant 58 and prevent the infant 58 from rolling off the infant sleep positioner 30.

The first side bolster 74 and the second side bolster 76 are positioned directly opposite from one another and aligned in a parallel relationship relative to the length 48 of the frame 32. In this embodiment, the first side bolster 74 is releasably affixed to the frame 32 adjacent to the top surface 38 of the frame 32 and the second side bolster 76 is permanently affixed to the frame 32 adjacent to the top surface 38 of the frame 32 such that the first side bolster 74 may move laterally with respect to the second side bolster 76.

In order to move laterally with respect to the second side bolster 76, the first side bolster 74 is affixed to the frame 32 using a fastening means 80 permanently secured to both the bottom side 82 of the first side bolster 74 and to the frame 32 adjacent to the top surface 38 of the frame 32. The fastening means 80 is preferably an elongated hook and loop fastener strip such as Velcro®. Alternatively, the fastening means 80 between the first side bolster 74 and the frame 32 may be any type of male/female snaps, hole and button combination, opposed releasable bonding strips, or any other means known to one skilled in the art. In another alternative, the first side bolster 74 and the second side bolster 76 may be affixed in any of the above means to the separate attachment 92 affixed to the frame 32 (e.g., separate attachment 92 is discussed in more detail in FIG. 3) or to the covering 94 over the frame 32 (e.g., the covering 94 is discussed in more detail in FIGS. 4 and 5), and/or using any other means known to one skilled in the art.

With respect to the frame 32, the fastening means 80 extends laterally, at one end, from a position adjacent the side 42 toward the second side bolster 76 with the opposite end of the fastening means 80 ending at a position covering less than half of the width 46 of the frame 32. Thus, due to the location and size of the fastening means 80, the lateral movement of the first side bolster 74 and the second side bolster 76 will be or cover less than half of the width 46 of the frame 32.

In this manner, the first side bolster 74 may be affixed to the fastening means 80 on the frame 32 and moved laterally anywhere along the fastening means 80 (i.e, toward or away from the second side bolster 76). If the infant 58 is very small, the first side bolster 74 may be moved closer to the second side bolster 76 to accommodate the infant 58. The first side bolster 74, however, may only be moved as close to the second side bolster 76 as permitted by the fastening means 80. As the infant 58 grows or if the infant 58 is larger, the first side bolster 74 may be moved farther away from the second side bolster 76 to accommodate the increased size of the infant 58. The first side bolster 74, however, should only be moved as far away from the second side bolster 76 as permitted by the fastening means 80. Alternatively, it is contemplated that the first side bolster 74 may extend a small distance over the side 42 of the frame 32 provided that there remains sufficient portion of the bottom side 82 of the first side bolster 74 to affix to the frame 32 and remain effective for positioning and retaining the infant 58 on their back.

The first side bolster 74 and the second side bolster 76 are shaped to receive and position the infant 58 on its back. In this embodiment, the first side bolster 74 and the second side bolster 76 are preferably triangular in cross section. Alternatively, the first side bolster 74 and/or the second side bolster 76 may be shaped as a rectangle, square, circle, oval, ovid, hexagon, rhombus, trapezoid, octagon, or half cylinder as identified by reference number 84, or cylinder as identified by reference number 86, or any other shape known to one skilled in the art. The first side bolster 74, the second side bolster 76, regardless of the shape, size, or contour, is typically placed under the arms and between the arms and body of the infant 58 resulting in a combination for holding the infant 58 in the cradle 78.

Turning to FIG. 3, an alternate embodiment for the attachment of the first side bolster 74 and the second side bolster 76 to the infant sleep positioner 30 is illustrated. In this alternate embodiment, the first side bolster 74 and the second side bolster 76 are affixed to the frame 32 using a second fastening means 90 secured to each of the bottom side 82 of the first side bolster 74, the bottom side 82 of the second side bolster 76, and to a separate attachment 92 secured to the top surface 38 of the frame 32. The fastening means 90 is preferably an elongated hook and loop fastener strip such as Velcro®. Alternatively, the fastening means 90 between the first side bolster 74, the second side bolster 76, and the separate attachment 92 may be any type of male/female snaps, hole and button combination, opposed releasable bonding strips, or any other means known to one skilled in the art. Additionally, in this alternate embodiment, the first side bolster 74 and the second side bolster 76 are each releasably affixed to the separate attachment 92 secured to the top surface 38 of the frame 32 such that each may be moved laterally along the fastening means 90 (i.e, toward or away from one another) to accommodate the infant 58. In another alternate embodiment, the separate attachment 92 does not need to be affixed to the frame 32 but may simply be placed in position on the top surface 38 of the frame 32, as desired, which could then be kept in place upon the weight of the infant 58.

With respect to the frame 32, the second fastening means 90 extends laterally, at one end, from a position adjacent the side 42 toward the second side bolster 76 with the opposite end of the second fastening means 90 ending at a position covering less than half of the width 46 of the frame 32. Thus, due to the location and size of the second fastening means 90, the lateral movement of the first side bolster 74 and the second side bolster 76 will be or cover less than half of the width 46 of the frame 32.

Turning to FIG. 4, a covering 94 for the infant sleep positioner 30 is illustrated. The covering 94 preferably has an open end 96 and a closed end 98 and further defining a hollow space 100 within the covering 94 to receive the infant sleep positioner 30. The infant sleep positioner 30 is covered by the covering 94 by slipping the open end 96 of the covering 94 over the knee bolster 36 and then continuing to pull the covering 94 in the direction of Arrow A over the frame 32 and finally over the support end 34 until the closed end 98 of the covering 94 becomes engaged with the knee bolster 36. Alternatively, the infant sleep positioner 30 may be covered by the covering 94 in the opposite manner. In this manner, the entire infant sleep positioner 30 (e.g., both the top surface 38 and the bottom surface 40 from one end of the knee bolster 36 to the other end of the support end 34) are covered by the covering 94. As depicted, the covering 94 is form fitted to the infant sleep positioner 30 but, alternatively, it is contemplated that the covering 94 may have a larger opening 100 that it is not form fitting but rather loose such that, upon the covering 94 being slipped over the infant sleep positioner 30 and tightened at the support end 34 by means including but not limited to Velcro®, male/female snaps, hole and button combination, opposed releasable bonding strips, or any other means known to one skilled in the art, the covering 94 would form a “pie” or “wedge” type shape around the infant sleep positioner 30.

In another alternative, the covering 94 may be secured to the top surface 38 of the infant sleep positioner 30 using a plurality of pouches 102 that frictionally receive each of the ends of the knee bolster 36 and the support end 34 of the infant sleep positioner 30 as illustrated in FIG. 18. As discussed in more detail later, FIG. 18 also illustrates the infant sleep positioner 30 having wings 104 which likewise may be frictionally received in a pouch 102 for securing the covering 94 to the infant sleep positioner 30. Alternatively, it is contemplated that any other means for securing the covering 94 to the infant sleep positioner 30 may be used including but not limited to Velcro®, male/female snaps, hole and button combination, opposed releasable bonding strips, or any other means known to one skilled in the art.

The covering 94 is preferably made of any type of breathable material including but not limited to padded mesh netting, or any other type of breathable material known to one skilled in the art. Alternatively, the covering 94 may be made of a padded material such as memory foam, visco elastic foam, trico padded and quilted material, or any other type of padded material known to one skilled in the art; made of a waterproof, water resistant, or any other materials impervious to water or that resist penetration of water that are known to one skilled in the art; or made of any combination of these materials or any other materials as desired.

If the embodiment of this covering 94 is used, this covering 94 may likewise be provided with the fastening means 80 or the second fastening means 90 to releaseably secure one or both of the bottom sides 82 of the first side bolster 74 and/or the second side bolster 76 to the frame 32. The use of this type of covering 94 provides greater flexibility of use and even permits the covering 94 to be removed for washing.

Turning to FIG. 5, an another alternative embodiment for securing the covering 94 to the infant sleep positioner 30 is illustrated. In this another alternate embodiment, the covering 94 has a plurality of opposed open ends 106 and 107 and further defining an enclosure 108 between them. In this manner, one of the opposed open ends 107 of the covering 94 is slipped over the knee bolster 36 and then continuing to pull the covering 94 in the direction of Arrow A over the frame 32, the infant sleep positioner 30 continues through the enclosure 108 and out the other of the opposed end 106, until the covering 94 reaches the desired position along the infant sleep positioner 30. In this embodiment, the desired position is preferably the location where the attachment of the first side bolster 74 and second side bolsters 76 is most effective for use with the infant 58 along the frame 32.

In this another alternate embodiment, the plurality of opposed open ends 106 and 107 of the covering 94 preferably has an open width 110 that is slightly larger than the width 46 of the infant sleep positioner 30 such that, when the covering 94 is slipped over the infant sleep positioner 30, a frictional engagement is created for securing the covering 94 in the desired position to the infant sleep positioner 30. Alternatively, it is contemplated that any other means for securing the covering 94 to the infant sleep positioner 30 may be used including but not limited to the covering 94 having lengthwise adjacent ends (which are not initially connected) being placed over the top surface 38, wrapped around the opposite sides 42 and 44 of the infant sleep positioner 30, and then secured to one another along the bottom surface 40 by Velcro®, male/female snaps, hole and button combination, opposed releasable bonding strips, or any other means known to one skilled in the art, and thereby securing the covering 94 to the infant sleep positioner 30.

In this another alternate embodiment, the covering 94 is provided with a third fastening means 112 and 114 to affix the first side bolster 74 (see FIG. 1) and the second side bolster 76 (see FIG. 2) to the frame 32. The third fastening means 112 and 114 are preferably identical and an elongated hook and loop fastener strip such as Velcro(®. With respect to the frame 32, the third fastening means 112 is positioned adjacent the side 42 and the third fastening means 114 is positioned adjacent to the side 44. Alternatively, the third fastening means 112 and 114 between the first side bolster 74 and the second side bolster 76 may be any type of male/female snaps, hole and button combination, opposed releasable bonding strips, or any other means known to one skilled in the art.

In this manner, just as described with respect to FIG. 1, the first side bolster 74 may be affixed to the third fastening means 112 on the covering 94 and moved laterally anywhere along the third fastening means 112 (i.e, toward or away from the second side bolster 76). If the infant 58 is very small, the first side bolster 74 may be moved closer to the second side bolster 76 to accommodate the infant 58. The first side bolster 74, however, may only be moved as close to the second side bolster 76 as permitted by the third fastening means 112. As the infant 58 grows or if the infant 58 is larger, the first side bolster 74 may be moved farther away from the second side bolster 76 to accommodate the increased size of the infant 58. The first side bolster 74, however, should only be moved as far away from the second side bolster 76 as permitted by the third fastening means 112. Alternatively, it is contemplated that the first side bolster 74 may extend a small distance over the side 42 of the frame 32 provided that there remains sufficient portion of the bottom side 82 of the first side bolster 74 to affix to the frame 32 and remain effective for positioning and retaining the infant 58 on their back. Likewise, in the exact same manner, the second side bolster 76 moves laterally along the third fastening means 114 toward or away from the first side bolster 74, as desired. Thus, due to the location and size of the third fastening means 112 and 114, the lateral movement of the first side bolster 74 and the second side bolster 76 will be or cover less than half of the width 46 of the frame 32.

Turning to FIG. 6, an alternate embodiment in which the first side bolster 74 and the second side bolster 76 are integrally molded or formed into the infant sleep positioner 30 is illustrated. In this alternate embodiment, the first side bolster 74 and the second side bolster 76 are integrally molded or formed into the infant sleep positioner 30 and shaped in the form of a half cylinder. Alternatively, the first side bolster 74 and/or the second side bolster 76 may be molded or formed into the infant sleep positioner 30 and shaped as a rectangle, square, circle, oval, ovid, hexagon, rhombus, trapezoid, octagon, cylinder, etc. . . . or any other shape, size, or contour as is known to one skilled in the art. In this embodiment, the use of the integrally molded or formed first side bolster 74 and the second side bolster 76 eliminates the use of “pillow” or “foam” like structures being used with the infant 58.

Turning to FIGS. 7-10, various alternate embodiment designs of the knee bolster (i.e., including but not limited to the varying shapes and angles) for the infant sleep positioner or the infant sleep positioner without a knee bolster altogether are illustrated.

Turning to FIG. 11, an alternate embodiment of the shape of the infant sleep positioner is illustrated. In this alternate embodiment, the acute angle 50 is increased to a much higher angle such as, for example, thirty degrees (30°) or higher, thereby accommodating or holding an infant 58 into more of a sitting position.

Turning to FIG. 12, an alternate embodiment of the infant sleep positioner 30 is illustrated in which wings 116 and 118 are illustrated. In this alternate embodiment, the wings 116 and 118 are integrally molded to the sides 42 and 44, respectively, of the infant sleep positioner 30. Alternatively, the wings 116 and 118 may be secured to the infant sleep positioner 30 by any other means known to one skilled in the art. The wings 116 and 118 are provided with raised and arcing sidewalls 120 and 122 which are used to prevent the infant 58 from rolling off of the infant sleep positioner 30.

Turning to FIG. 13, a means for adjusting the acute angle 50 of the infant sleep positioner 40 to the support surface 52 is illustrated. In this embodiment, the means for adjusting the acute angle 50 comprises a support bar 124 having support legs 126 with a plurality of holes 134 and a pair of tubes 128 fixedly secured to the bottom surface 40 of the infant sleep positioner 30. A portion 130 of the pair of tubes 128 is hollow and further provides a plurality of holes 132. To adjust the height of the infant sleep positioner 30 by raising or lowering the support end 34 and thereby also adjust the acute angle 50 to a desired position for the infant 58, the support legs 126 of the support bar 124 are inserted into the hollow portion 130 of the tubes 128. Upon reaching the desired height of the infant sleep positioner 30 and the holes 134 in each of the support legs 126 being aligned with the holes 132 in each of the portion 130 of the tubes 128, a pin 136 is inserted through the holes 134 of the tubes 128 and through the holes 132 in each of the support legs 126. Alternatively, the means for adjusting the acute angle 50 of the infant sleep positioner 40 to the support surface 52 may be accomplished with the holes 132 being located in only one tube 128 and the holes 134 being located in only one support leg 126 of the support bar 124.

Turning to FIGS. 14 and 15, an alternate means for adjusting the acute angle 50 of the infant sleep positioner 30 to the support surface 52 is illustrated. In this alternate embodiment, the means for adjusting the acute angle 50 of the infant sleep positioner 30 comprises support feet 138 having a plurality of teeth 140 and a pair of tubes 142 fixedly secured to the bottom surface 40 of the infant sleep positioner 30. A portion 146 of the pair of tubes 142 is hollow. A locking mechanism 144 is used to releaseably secure the adjusting position of the support feet 138 within the pair of tubes 142. The locking mechanism 144 preferably provides a handle 150 for moving a stopper 148 into position for engaging the desired teeth 140 and thereby locking the tube 142 to the support feet 138.

To adjust the height of the infant sleep positioner 30 by raising or lowering the support end 34 and thereby also adjust the acute angle 50 to a desired position for the infant 58, the support feet 138 are inserted into the hollow portion 142 of the pair of tubes 142. Upon reaching the desired height of the infant sleep positioner 30, the locking mechanism becomes locked securing the support feet 138 to the tubes 142. Alternatively, while a pair of support feet 138 are used to support the infant sleep positioner 30, the alternate means for adjusting the acute angle 50 of the infant sleep positioner 40 to the support surface 52 may be accomplished using only one tube 142 and one support feet 138.

Turning to FIG. 16, the preferred embodiment of the infant sleep positioner 30 having a plurality of ventilation holes 88, a pair of wings 152 and 154, and without any knee bolster 36 is illustrated. In this preferred embodiment, the pair of wings 152 and 154, like the pair of wings 116 and 118 of FIG. 12, are integrally molded to the sides 42 and 44, respectively, of the infant sleep positioner 30 and have raised and arcing sidewalls 156 and 158 which are used to prevent the infant 58 from rolling off of the infant sleep positioner 30. One difference though is that these pair of wings 152 and 154 have a shorter length and are located closer to the proximal end 54 of the infant sleep positioner 30. In this manner, the pair of wings 152 and 154 are proximately located adjacent to the shoulders, arms, and main torso of the infant 58 to be effective to prevent the infant 58 from rolling off the infant sleep positioner 30 when in use but remain clear of where the head and neck of the infant 58 would be located thereby avoiding any engagement or contact of the head of the infant 58 with the wings 152 or 154. Also, the remaining torso and the buttocks or diaper area of the infant 58 would be located on the frame 32 adjacent the proximal end 54 with the legs of the infant 58 extending out and onto the support surface 52. In this preferred embodiment, the pair of wings 152 and 154 preferably extend outwardly and perpendicularly (i.e., 90° angle) from the frame 32 of the infant sleep positioner 30 as illustrated in FIG. 16A. Alternatively, the pair of wings 152 and 154 may extend outwardly and at any other angle (e.g., such as a 45° angle) from the frame 32 of the infant sleep positioner 30 as illustrated in FIG. 16B. Additionally, in this preferred embodiment, the infant sleep positioner 30 may be covered with the covering 94 described herein, if desired (e.g., without the knee bolster covering portion).

Turning to FIG. 17, another alternate embodiment of the infant sleep positioner 30 having a plurality of ventilation holes 88, a pair of wings 162 and 164, and without any knee bolster 36 is illustrated. In this another alternate embodiment, the pair of wings 162 and 164, like the pair of wings 152 and 154 of FIG. 16, are integrally molded to the sides 42 and 44, respectively, of the infant sleep positioner 30 and have raised and arcing sidewalls 166 and 168 which are used to prevent the infant 58 from rolling off of the infant sleep positioner 30. One difference though is that these pair of wings 162 and 164 have a shorter length and are located adjacent to the proximal end 54 of the infant sleep positioner 30. In this manner, the pair of wings 162 and 164 are proximately located adjacent to the shoulders, arms, and main torso of the infant 58 to be effective to prevent the infant 58 from rolling off the infant sleep positioner 30 when in use but remain clear of where the head and neck of the infant 58 would be located thereby avoiding any engagement or contact of the head of the infant 58 with the wings 152 or 154. Also, the remaining torso, the buttocks or diaper area, and legs of the infant 58 would extend out and onto the support surface 52. This alternate embodiment, like the preferred embodiment in FIG. 16, achieves the benefits of elevation, enhanced ventilation, elimination of “pillow” or “foam” like structures and also allows for use in smaller spaces such as bassinets, etc.

Turning to FIG. 18, although the particulars of how the covering 94 is secured to the infant sleep positioner 30 were discussed above, the covering 94 is preferably made of varying materials. In this embodiment, the covering 94 is separated into three sections 170, 172, and 174 of material. Section 170 of the covering 94 is designed to accommodate the head of the infant 58 and therefore this section is made of a padded material such as memory foam, visco elastic foam, or any other material that is known to one skilled in the art which provides comfort to the head of the infant 58. As a result, this section permits comfort to the head of the infant 58. Section 172 of the covering 94 is designed to accommodate the torso and leg and feet of the infant 58 and therefore this section is made of a padded mesh netting or any other breathable material known to one skilled in the art. As a result, this section allows for enhanced airflow and/or ventilation to the infant 58 thereby assisting in reducing overheating of infants 58. Section 174 of the covering 94 is designed to accommodate the buttocks or diaper area of the infant 58 and therefore this section is made of waterproof, water resistant, or any other materials impervious to water or that resist penetration of water that are known to one skilled in the art. As a result, this section prevents leakage from the infant 58 from spreading from the covering 94 of the infant sleep positioner 30. Alternatively, each of the sections 170, 172, and 174 of the covering 94 could all be made of the same materials described above or any combinations thereof.

Turning to FIG. 19, the infant sleep positioner 30 (as illustrated in FIG. 18 except without the covering 94) is positioned in a crib 176 between a crib sheet 178 and a crib mattress 180 is illustrated. The use of the infant sleep positioner 30 in this embodiment utilizes the infant sleep positioner 30 in the crib 176 where the infant 58 may be more comfortable and more secure, eliminates the need for the covering 94, is more stable due to the infant sleep positioner 30 being held or more integrated between the crib sheet 178 and crib mattress 180, and eliminates the use of any “pillow” or “foam” like structures. Alternatively, it is contemplated that the crib sheet 178 may be a specialized tight or form fitting sheet. Alternatively, any of the various embodiments of the infant sleep positioner 30 discussed herein may be used in the crib 176 in this manner.

Turning to FIG. 20, an alternate embodiment of Applicant's infant sleep positioner 30 is illustrated. In this alternate embodiment, the infant sleep positioner 30 is provided with an elongated cradle 182, a wall 186 situated around the perimeter of the cradle 182, a ridge 184 situated around the perimeter of the wall 186, and a continuous wall 188 situated around the exterior of the cradle 182. The cradle 182 has a lowest point 190 for supporting the buttocks or diaper area of the infant 58. An inclined wall 192 extends in a gradual upwardly and outwardly manner from the lowest point 190 until the inclined wall 192 reaches the ridge 184. The inclined wall 192 of the cradle 182 supports the placing and holding of the head, neck, shoulders, arms, and torso of the infant 58 in a comfortable, inclined and elevated position and for preventing the infant 58 from rolling off or out of the infant sleep positioner 30. The continuous wall 188 is provided with a support base 192 which is used to engage any support surface 52 for supporting the infant sleep positioner 30 on any support surface 52 and further, due to the entire continuous wall 188 engaging the support surface 52, provides enhanced stability to the infant sleep positioner 30. In this alternate embodiment, the cradle 182, the wall 186, the ridge 184, and the continuous wall 188 are formed into a single, continuous, and unified infant sleep positioner 30.

Alternatively, the infant sleep positioner 30 in this alternate embodiment may be provided with ventilating holes 88, disclosed herein, throughout the elongated cradle 182, the wall 186, the ridge 184, and the continuous wall 188 such that the air surrounding the infant sleep positioner 30 has direct access, through each of the ventilation holes 88, to the infant 58 on the infant sleep positioner 30.

As another alternative, the infant sleep positioner 30 in this alternate embodiment may be provided with any of the various covering 94 disclosed herein.

In addition, this alternate embodiment of the infant sleep positioner 30 can be likewise placed in a crib 176 between a crib sheet 178 and a crib mattress 180 is illustrated in FIG. 21.

Thus, there has been provided a unique infant sleep positioner for positioning an infant on their back for sleeping and to reduce the risk of sudden infant death. While the invention has been described in conjunction with a specific embodiments, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing description. Accordingly, it in intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations as fall within the spirit and scope of this disclosure.