Title:
SWADDLING BLANKETS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A swaddling device can comprise a tapered, seamless infant swaddling blanket with a first opening and a second opening. The swaddling blanket can be pulled on over the head of the infant, and restrict the infant's arms from moving, flopping, and/or rotating. The swaddling blanket can allow a caretaker to easily slide a lower portion of the material up towards the infant's stomach in order to change the infant's diaper without having to completely remove the swaddling blanket. The swaddling blanket can further include a seam or seams to inhibit slippage. The swaddling blanket can be comprised of fire-resistant material.



Inventors:
Comerford, Brittany (Aliso Viejo, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/465281
Publication Date:
11/19/2009
Filing Date:
05/13/2009
Assignee:
Comerford, Brittany (Aliso Viejo, CA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41B13/06
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Primary Examiner:
ANDERSON, AMBER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KNOBBE MARTENS OLSON & BEAR LLP (IRVINE, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A swaddling device comprising a tubular elastic shell comprised of thin, stretchable material, the shell comprising a first opening one end of the shell, and a second opening on a second end of the shell, the first opening being smaller than that of the second opening.

2. The swaddling device of claim 1, wherein the tubular shell tapers outwardly from the first opening to the second opening.

3. The swaddling device of claim 1, wherein the tube is seamless.

4. The swaddling device of claim 1, wherein the tubular shell comprises a single seam stretching circumferentially around the tubular shell near the first opening, the seam forming a ridge around an interior portion of the tubular shell.

5. The swaddling device of claim 1, wherein the thin, stretchable material is fire-resistant.

6. The swaddling device of claim 1, further comprising an adjustable strap located near the second opening and attached to the tubular shell.

7. A swaddling device comprising a tubular, seamless elastic shell comprised of thin, stretchable fire-resistant material, the shell comprising a first opening one end of the shell, and a second opening on a second end of the shell, the first opening being smaller than that of the second opening.

8. A method of swaddling an infant comprising: providing a swaddling device comprising a thin, stretchable material, the material comprising a first opening on one end, and a second opening on a second end, the first opening being smaller than that of the second opening; pulling the second end over the infant's head and down to its legs; and pulling the first end over the infant's head, such that the first opening rests between the infant's shoulders and head.

Description:

This application claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/052,868, filed May 13, 2008, which is incorporated in its entirety by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTIONS

1. Field of the Inventions

The present inventions are directed to devices that can be used for swaddling, specifically infant swaddling.

2. Description of the Related Art

Swaddling devices are commonly used by hospitals, parents, and infant caretakers. These devices typically consist of a blanket or item(s) of fabric wrapped around at least a portion of an infant's body to prevent the infant's arms and/or legs from moving. If unrestrained, an infant can move its arms and/or legs in an uncontrolled manner. This unrestrained movement can cause the limbs, particularly the arms, to hit the newborn's face or other areas of the newborn's body, causing bruises, scratches, and/or other injury.

Current swaddling devices typically require the infant to be placed within the device while the device is in an open, or unwrapped, position. The device is then closed, zipped, and/or wrapped around the infant. Some devices require additional straps, or snaps, which are fastened once the infant is inside to pull the fabric of the device tightly around the infant's limbs and prevent movement. Such straps and other devices can cause uneven pressure on the infant's arms and limbs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTIONS

An aspect of at least one of the embodiments disclosed herein includes the realization that a reusable, quickly attachable and removable infant swaddling device can be provided with a stretchable tube material. Despite the availability of many swaddling designs, Hospitals and parents still use a flat generic blanket to swaddle infants, which can require skillful wrapping and tightening, and which often results in the infant breaking out of the blanket unexpectedly.

Another aspect of at least one of the embodiments disclosed herein includes the realization that a swaddling device can be designed in such a way that it does not need to be removed during diaper checks or changes. A caregiver may choose to change infants' diapers while the infants are asleep and swaddled. However, if the swaddling needs to be removed for the diaper change procedure, the infants are more likely to awake. Additionally, for example, if the infant swaddling device is wrapped around the infant and secured by straps, snaps, or other fastening devices, a caretaker can be forced to first undo the fastening devices and unwrap the infant prior to changing its diaper, which can cause the infant to wake up. Once the diaper has been changed, the caretaker then must place the infant back within the swaddling device, wrap it back around the infant, and secure it over the infant's limbs with the straps, snaps, or other fastening devices.

Another aspect of at least one of the embodiments disclosed herein includes the realization that not all infants are the same size. Because not all infants are the same size, current infant swaddling devices can be too large or small for a given infant. Fastening devices such as straps or snaps can allow for some adjustment, but it is still possible that these adjustments will not adequately provide the proper security and tightness needed for a given infant.

Thus, in accordance with at least one embodiment, a swaddling device can comprise a tubular elastic shell comprised of thin, stretchable material, the shell comprising a first opening on one end of the shell, and a second opening on a second end of the shell, the first opening being smaller than that of the second opening.

In accordance with another embodiment, a swaddling device can comprise a tubular, elastic shell comprised of thin, stretchable fire-resistant material, the shell comprising a first opening one end of the shell, and a second opening on a second end of the shell, the first opening being smaller than that of the second opening.

In accordance with another embodiment, a method of swaddling an infant can comprise providing a swaddling device comprising a thin, stretchable material, the material comprising a first opening on one end, and a second opening on a second end, the first opening being smaller than that of the second opening, pulling the second end over the infant's head and down to its legs, and pulling the first end over the infant's head, such that the first opening rests between the infant's shoulders and head.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and advantages of the present embodiments will become more apparent upon reading the following detailed description and with reference to the accompanying drawings of the embodiments, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a swaddling device in use on an infant.

FIG. 2 is a top and front perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a top and front perspective view of another embodiment of a swaddling device including a seam.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

An improved swaddling device 10 is disclosed herein. The embodiments disclosed herein are described in the context of an infant swaddling blanket because the embodiments disclosed herein have particular utility in this context. However, the embodiments and inventions herein can also be applied to other types of swaddling devices, and for use other than on an infant.

With reference to FIGS. 1-3, the swaddling blanket 10 can comprise a piece of thin, elastic material which forms a tubular elastic shell of stretchable material. Various types of elastic material can be used, such as for example nylon, Lycra®, or spandex. While a particular uniform thickness of material is shown in the present embodiment, other thicknesses of material can also be used. Similarly, the swaddling blanket 10 need not have a uniform thickness. In at least one embodiment, varying thicknesses of material can be used. Furthermore, in some embodiments the material, or at least a portion of the material, can comprise a fire-resistant material, providing added benefit and safety.

Swaddling blanket 10 can have a first opening 12 and a second opening 14. The first opening 12 can be smaller in area than that of the second opening 14. This difference in opening size can give swaddling blanket 10 a generally tapered shape, such that the tubular shell tapers outwardly from a first end to a second end. Other types of tapers and/or configurations are also possible. For example, the tubular shell can taper inwardly at first when moving from the first end to the second end, and then taper outwardly near the second end. When the swaddling blanket 10 is pulled over the head of an infant to place it on the infant, the second opening 14 can be pulled over the head first, followed by the first opening 12. Conversely, if the swaddling blanket 10 is pulled over the feet of the infant, the first opening 12 can be pulled over the feet first, followed by the second opening 14. Thus, regardless of how the swaddling blanket is placed on the infant, first opening 12 can generally be positioned on or near the infant's neck and shoulder area.

Because of the tapered shape of swaddling blanket 10, the material near first opening 12 can pull tighter around the arms, shoulders, and/or body of the infant than the material around the second opening 14. This tighter elastic fit around the shoulders and arms of the infant can inhibit the infant's arms from moving, flopping, and/or rotating in an undesired manner, and can inhibit the infant from injuring himself or herself. The elastic material of swaddling blanket 10 also can be used without straps, snaps, or other fastening devices, since the swaddling blanket 10 can naturally contract around the body of the infant. For this reason, swaddling blanket 10 can be used on infants of various shapes and sizes, without the added worry and hassle of having straps or fastening devices which are adjusted for each and every infant the device is used on.

Additionally, when the infant has soiled or has potentially soiled his or her diaper, a caretaker can simply grab the elastic material near the second opening 14, pull it up towards the infant's stomach or chest, and care for the soiled diaper without completely removing the swaddling blanket 10. Once the diaper has been attended to, the caretaker can then simply pull the same material back down around near the infant's legs. This provides an advantage over swaddling devices that must first be removed from the infant prior to checking or changing a diaper. For example, with swaddling devices that incorporate straps and buckles, the straps and buckles generally must first be released. Then the swaddling device must be unwrapped, or the infant must be pulled from the swaddling device, to reach the diaper area. Once the infant's diaper has been changed, the entire swaddling device must be reattached. Swaddling blanket 10 can bypass each of these time-consuming steps by allowing the caretaker to simply roll up a portion of the device, check and change the diaper, and then roll that same portion of the device back down.

With reference to FIG. 4, an additional embodiment of a swaddling blanket 110 can comprise a first opening 112 and a second opening 114. The swaddling blanket 110 can comprise a seam 116 located near first opening 112. The seam 116 can act as a frictional barrier near the infant's shoulders, and thus can inhibit unwanted slippage of swaddle blanket 110. During use, if the infant attempts to move its arms and/or legs, or tries to slide out of the swaddling blanket 110, the seam 116 can help to hold the swaddling blanket 110 in place on the infant's body. While the embodiment shown in FIG. 4 utilizes a single seam, in other embodiments multiple seams can be used. Furthermore, the seam or seams can be positioned along areas of the swaddling blanket 110 other than the neck and shoulder area, and can have varying lengths and configurations.

Because of the generally overall robust design, swaddling blankets 10 and 110 can be reused on a regular basis. In at least one embodiment, the swaddling blanket 10 and/or 110 can be folded and stored in a shelf or closet, or carried neatly in an infant caretaker bag. In some embodiments where the swaddling blankets 10 and 110 are made from nylon, Lycra®, or spandex, the swaddling blankets 10 and 110 can be rolled or balled up into a very small shape and can be very light and similar in size and shape to a single women's stocking. As such, multiple blankets 10, 110 can easily be carried in a diaper bag with little inconvenience. Further, if the blankets 10, 110 are used to replace a conventional swaddling blanket, such as a stretchable blanket, the caregiver can avoid carrying the bulky blanket altogether.

Also, while the swaddling blankets 10, 110 as shown in FIGS. 1-4 do not have straps or snaps, in at least some embodiments a strap and/or snap can be incorporated and/or attached. For example, but without limitation, a strap can be added near the infant's crotch to help secure the infant within the swaddling blanket once the device has been pulled on over the infant's body.

Although these inventions have been disclosed in the context of certain preferred embodiments and examples, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the present inventions extend beyond the specifically disclosed embodiments to other alternative embodiments and/or uses of the inventions and obvious modifications and equivalents thereof. In addition, while several variations of the inventions have been shown and described in detail, other modifications, which are within the scope of these inventions, will be readily apparent to those of skill in the art based upon this disclosure. It is also contemplated that various combinations or sub-combinations of the specific features and aspects of the embodiments can be made and still fall within the scope of the inventions. It should be understood that various features and aspects of the disclosed embodiments can be combined with or substituted for one another in order to form varying modes of the disclosed inventions. Thus, it is intended that the scope of at least some of the present inventions herein disclosed should not be limited by the particular disclosed embodiments described above.





 
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