US20080022448A1 - Bathing aid - Google Patents

Bathing aid Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080022448A1
US20080022448A1 US11/496,798 US49679806A US2008022448A1 US 20080022448 A1 US20080022448 A1 US 20080022448A1 US 49679806 A US49679806 A US 49679806A US 2008022448 A1 US2008022448 A1 US 2008022448A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
bathtub
user
column assembly
support cushion
base
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Abandoned
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US11/496,798
Inventor
Judith A. Todd
Gregory M. Trettel
Original Assignee
Todd Judith A
Trettel Gregory M
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Application filed by Todd Judith A, Trettel Gregory M filed Critical Todd Judith A
Priority to US11/496,798 priority Critical patent/US20080022448A1/en
Publication of US20080022448A1 publication Critical patent/US20080022448A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47KSANITARY EQUIPMENT NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; TOILET ACCESSORIES
    • A47K3/00Baths; Douches; Appurtenances therefor
    • A47K3/001Accessories for baths, not provided for in other subgroups of group A47K3/00 ; Insertions, e.g. for babies; Tubs suspended or inserted in baths; Security or alarm devices; Protecting linings or coverings; Devices for cleaning or disinfecting baths; Bath insulation
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47CCHAIRS; SOFAS; BEDS
    • A47C16/00Stand-alone rests or supports for feet, legs, arms, back or head
    • A47C16/04Prayer-stools; Kneeling stools; Kneeling supports

Abstract

A bathing aid device comprises adjustments to accommodate varying user body shapes and sizes and may be used in conjunction with most, if not all, bathtubs. The bathing aid device, when used as described, allows for more complete and safer bathing for those incapable of bathing themselves. The device includes a kneeling platform for being placed beside a bathtub, a column assembly, which extends from the kneeling platform to a position above and preferably slightly forward relative to the bathtub wall, and which holds a preferably pivotal clavicle-region support. The user leans on the clavicle-region support, and, because of its location relative to the bathtub and the user's upper chest, and because of its small dimensions, the support is especially comfortable and effective. The user need not rest on the device with her/his elbows, arms, shoulders, or breasts, and, instead, the user is well supported high up on her body and can easily reach around the device to assist an infant, bather, or pet inside the bathtub. The preferred column assembly is quickly and easily removable, without loosening any fasteners, in order to move the assembly out of the way before the user rises or lifts a child out over the bathtub wall.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to a device used to provide comfort and support to a person assisting in the bathing of another person in a bathtub and more particularly to a bathing aid device that is capable of being used adjacent to and in conjunction with a typical household bathtub.
  • The use of the invented device will be immediately recognized as extremely practical in any situation where a capable person such as a parent or caregiver is charged with aiding the bathing of a person who is incapable of properly bathing himself or herself, such as an infant or an elderly or handicapped individual.
  • 2. Related Art
  • Various kneeling benches and pad systems have been disclosed in the patent literature.
  • For example:
  • U.S. Pat. No. 1,877,602, Silverman, addresses a kneeling bench used primarily for religious purposes, makes no mention of use with bathtubs or for bathing, and is non-adjustable Silverman relies upon the forearms/elbows of a user for upper body support.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 2,069,124, Wojtalewicz, et.al, addresses a prayer rail used primarily for religious purposes, makes no mention of use with bathtubs or for bathing, and is non-adjustable. Wojtalewicz, et.al. relies upon the forearms/elbows of a user for upper body support.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 2,101,259, Landau, addresses a prayer bench used primarily for religious purposes, makes no mention of use with bathtubs or for bathing, and is non-adjustable. Landau relies upon the forearms/elbows of a user for upper body support.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 4,356,575, Terry, addresses a bath aid with a general operating principle similar to the present invention, however, the Terry device is non-adjustable, makes no mention of foot discomfort, and relies upon the ribcage of a user for upper body support. In Terry, the ribcage support system is the same width as the kneeling portion, which the inventors believe would hinder the user's shoulders and arms.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 4,937,897, Barnabie, addresses a bathtub wall pad, which is non-adjustable, makes no mention of foot discomfort, and relies upon the forearms/elbows of a user for upper body support. The Barnabie pad simply provides a cushion on the bathtub wall as the user leans on it with his forearms or elbows.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,313,675, Tinen, addresses a bathtub wall pad that is non-adjustable, and makes no mention of foot discomfort. Tinen relies upon the forearms/elbows of a user for upper body support (see FIG. 2 of Tinen) and simply provides a cushion on the bathtub wall as the user leans on it with his forearms or elbows.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,642,535, Frawley, etal., addresses a bath aid, wherein the user sits upon the device rather than kneels. Frawley, et al. relies upon the forearms/elbows of a user for upper body support.
  • US2003/0145374 A1, Schultz, addresses a bath aid that is non-adjustable, makes no mention of foot discomfort, and relies upon the forearms/elbows of a user for upper body support.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to devices used to aid in assisting a person to bathe in a bathtub, or in bathing of a pet, or in other tasks that requires kneeling beside a bathtub. The present invention may be used with most conventional household bathtubs and contains adjustment means to render it useable with most sizes and shapes of bathtub and users with varying body shape and size.
  • Many persons, including the elderly, handicapped and infants, require assistance in bathing. Typically, a person assisting in the bathing of individuals such as those described above is subjected to considerable strain and discomfort due to the body position that must necessarily be assumed to assist in bathing. This position requires the assisting person to bend the upper body over and above the sidewall of the bathtub and remain in this position for extended lengths of time, relying only upon the muscles of the body to remain in this position. The position of the attending person also requires that all of the body weight be supported on the knee joints, with the added complication of the feet and ankle joints being bent at an un-natural and uncomfortable angle, all of this occurring on the relatively hard and immovable surface of the floor adjacent to the bathtub.
  • Use of the present invention allows the user to remain comfortably in the position required to assist a bather by providing support structures for those parts of the body that would experience pain and discomfort without the employment of the invented device.
  • A further advantage of the present invention is, that by eliminating the pain and discomfort experienced when assisting a person to bathe in the conventional way, the invented device allows the user to be more attentive to the task at hand, thereby providing a safer environment for the bather and attendant, with the added bonus of a more complete cleansing for the individual being bathed.
  • The present invention comprises a lower portion, for placement beside a bathtub, which has an upper surface appropriately positioned to receive the knees and lower legs of a kneeling person. From the lower portion extends a column assembly that holds at or near its upper end a support for the upper chest of a user, and, most preferably, the clavicle area between the shoulders. The column assembly preferably positions the entire, or substantially the entire, upper chest/clavicle support substantially forward of the lower portion, so that said support may be over a bathtub wall or even forward of the central plane of the bathtub wall. The support is preferably small, so as not to extend to the right and left far enough to interfere with the user's shoulders and arms, and so as not to extend down far enough to interfere with the user's breasts. The support preferably pivots relative to the column assembly, so that it supports, but also moves with, the user as the user leans further over the bathtub and adjusts his/her position to assist the bather. The column assembly may be a single arm/column, which is preferred, as this minimizes or eliminates interference with the shoulders, arms, and breasts. Alternatively, the column assembly may be multiple arms/columns, a solid curved plate(s), or other designs, preferably not extending to the left, right, or rearward far enough to interfere with the shoulders, arms, breasts, or stomach of the user. Preferably, the column assembly is quickly and easily removable from the lower portion, for example, so that the arm system may be removed prior to the user lifting up a baby out of the bathtub and rising from the device.
  • In preferred embodiments, the device comprises a lower padded assembly, designed to immovably rest, when in use, upon the floor adjacent to a bathtub, the padded portion supporting and cradling the knees and lower legs of a user. Mounted removably within the lower assembly, a vertical, height adjustable support column extends upwardly from the lower assembly. Upon the upper end of the vertical support column is mounted the adjustable upper body support assembly. The entire vertical support column may be instantly removed from the lower assembly and laid aside a suitable distance when not in use, thereby allowing for a greater degree of safety during ingress and egress of a bather from the bathtub.
  • The invented device is designed and constructed so as to be portable and conveniently stored when not in use, therefore, it would preferably be comprised of lightweight yet suitably strong, waterproof material, such as, but not limited to, plastic and aluminum or a combination thereof.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a bathing aid device according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 3 is a rear elevation view of the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2.
  • FIG. 4 is a right side elevation view of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-3.
  • FIG. 5 is a partial perspective view of a detail of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4, showing one embodiment of vertical support column locking means.
  • FIG. 6 is a partial elevation view of a detail of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-5, showing the detail of the upper body support.
  • FIG. 7A is a plan view of an alternative upper body support cushion having a triangular shape.
  • FIG. 7B is a plan view of an alternative upper body support cushion having a T-shape.
  • FIG. 8 is a schematic of the front of a female user, illustrating in solid lines the preferred location of the rectangular support cushion, and, in dashed lines, the preferred location of a triangular support cushion.
  • FIG. 9 is a partial perspective view according to a second embodiment of the present invention, showing one embodiment of a horizontal adjustment means.
  • FIG. 10 is a partial perspective view according to a third embodiment of the present invention, showing an alternate joining means for the vertical support column.
  • FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional elevation view of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-6, showing the in-use body position of a user.
  • FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional elevation view of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-6, and 11, showing the vertical support column removed and the user lifting the baby out of the bathtub.
  • FIG. 13 is a partial perspective view according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention, showing a completely padded pedestal.
  • FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional elevation view according to a fifth embodiment of the present invention, showing a flexible cushion assembly extending from the bathing aid device and positioned at the top of the bathtub wall.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • Referring to the Figures, there are shown five, but not the only five embodiments of the invented bathing aid device that may be used to assist a person in the bathing of another person within a bathtub, in bathing a pet, or other tasks requiring kneeling at a bathtub. Use of the invented device also allows a more complete and safer bath for those incapable of bathing themselves.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 1-6, the preferred bathing aid device comprises complete bathing aid device 1. Device 1 comprises generally vertical support structure 10 and lower portion 12. Lower portion 12, in the preferred embodiment, comprises pedestal 18 having base 21 and cushion well 22, within which rests cushion 20. Upon bottom surface 23 of base 21 are secured friction strips 24 which prevent unintended movement of pedestal 18 and device 1 upon a floor surface when a user occupies the invented device. Preferably, there are no wheels, casters, or other rollers on the bottom of the device 1. Within upper surface 25 of pedestal 1 8, hole 26 is provided to accept and secure slidably moveable vertical support column assembly 14 at end 30 of lower tube 28.
  • Vertical support column assembly 14 is comprised of lower tube 28 and upper tube 38. Upper tube 38 is constructed so as to slide vertically within lower tube 28, the two tubes being secured to one another by vertical height adjustment means 36. Lower vertical support tube 28 has attached, by suitable means, lateral support block 34 is designed to provide stability in a lateral direction by resting against bathtub outer wall 80. Suitable means of attaching support block 34 to support tube 28 may include screws, clamps, bolts, integral molding, or other fasteners. Support block 34 is constructed of a non-marring material, such as, but not limited to, rubber, so as to prevent damage to the bathtub finish. Support block 34 may extend farther along the length of the column assembly 14, or farther to the left and right, than is shown in the Drawings, and, hence, father along the bathtub wall 80, if desired.
  • Referring now to FIG. 5, it may be observed that vertical height adjustment means 36, comprised of threads 52 and quadrants 54 at end 32 of lower tube 28, and threaded locking ring 50, allows end 40 of upper tube 38 to enter and slide within lower tube 28. With locking ring 50 assembled to lower tube 28, and upper tube 38 inserted within lower tube 28, upper tube 38 may be vertically adjusted for proper height to suit the user. Locking ring 50 may then be tightened upon threads 52, thereby compressing quadrants 54 against the outer diameter of tube 38, fixing upper tube 38 immovably within lower tube 28. Shown in FIG. 5 is one, but not the only, vertical locking means that may be used. Other vertical locking means may be used, for example, a cotter-pin style lock, a set-screw style lock, a clamp lock, or others that will be envisioned by those of skill in the art after viewing this disclosure and the drawings.
  • The upper portion of upper tube 38, at end 42, is oriented generally perpendicularly to the vertical support column and has attached upper cushion support column 44 and adjustment means 46 for upper cushion assembly 16. In the drawings, an angle of 90 degrees is illustrated in upper tube 38, however, other angles of bend may be used, with the intent being to secure the lower tube 28 to the front region of the pedestal 18 and yet place the upper cushion assembly 16 over and above, or slightly in front of the bathtub wall, or at least slightly in front of the bathtub wall central vertical plane. “Front” and “forward” indicate the direction the user typically faces when using the device, that is, to the left in FIGS. 11, 12 and 14. The vast majority of bathtub walls are 14-18 inches high (measured from the floor) and the Vertical support column 14 is preferably dimensioned to adjust to lengths that fit a variety of users, while placing the cushion assembly above, and not touching the bathtub wall. Typically, the support column 14 will place the cushion assembly at about 20-26 inches above the bottom of the device (and the floor), about 4-8 inches above the top surface 81 of the bathtub wall, and forward from the front extremity of the pedestal 18. The upper surface of the cushion 48 is preferably about 5-10 inches above top surface 81.
  • The pedestal 18 typically abuts against the bathtub wall 80, with the preferred straight and rigid front surface 27 of the pedestal being the front extremity of the pedestal that contacts the wall 80. The support column 14, therefore, extends forward beyond the front extremity of the pedestal 18, and places the pivot point of the cushion preferably 2-8 inches (optimally 3-6 inches) forward of the front extremity. This way, the center of the cushion 48 preferably will be forward from said front extremity throughout its pivot.
  • The pivot point of the cushion assembly 16 preferably directly over, or forward from, the vertical central plane of the bathtub wall, for example, about up to 6 inches (and optimally 1-3 inches) forward from said central plane; this way, the center of the cushion 48 preferably will be forward from said central plane throughout its pivot. In this way, the cushion assembly 16 of the preferred embodiment positions the shoulders above the bathtub “well” or at least above and slightly forward relative to the center plane of the bathtub wall. This helps keep the shoulders and arms from being encumbered by the wall 80, as the user reaches into the bathtub. Unlike the prior art devices that are adapted to receive and cushion the forearms or elbows of the user, at the level of the top of the bathtub wall, the present preferred embodiment supports the center clavicle area of the user several inches above the top surface 81 to keep the entirety of the user's shoulders, arms and elbows unencumbered by the device and the bathtub wall.
  • Referring now to FIG. 2 and FIG. 6, it may be seen that upper support assembly 16 is comprised of cushion 48, base plate 47 with attached pivot brackets 45 and 49, and adjustment means 46. Attached to the lower surface of cushion base plate 47 are pivot brackets 45 and 49. Within pivot bracket 49 is smooth hole 68. Within pivot bracket 45 is threaded hole 66. Pivot brackets 45 and 49 fit snugly but not rigidly upon two sides of support column 44, and holes 66 and 68 correspond to and communicate with holes 70 in support column 44. Adjustment knob 46, comprised of shaft 62 and threads 64 is inserted through pivot brackets 45 and 49 and column 44 such that threads 64 on shaft 62 may be coupled to threaded hole 66, thereby rigidly securing upper cushion assembly 16 in a fixed position as desired by the user. Shown in FIG. 6 is one, but by no means the only method of pivotal adjustment of cushion assembly 16.
  • Alternatively, upper cushion assembly 16 may be left securely attached yet pivotally moveable upon support column 44, wherein cushion assembly 16 may move relative to the support column assembly 14, in response to the movements of the body of a user. Thus, the upper cushion assembly 16 may be allowed to pivot freely, at the upper end of the column assembly 14, preferably from slightly tilted toward the center plane of the bathtub (about 10-20 degrees forward from horizontal), to horizontal (as shown in FIG. 4), and rearward to a position in the range of 35-60 degrees rearward from horizontal. Most preferably, the upper cushion assembly 16 pivots from 10-20 degrees forward from horizontal to 45 degrees rearward from horizontal (FIG. 11). Thus, the assembly 16 preferably freely pivots up to about 80 degrees (or more preferably about 65 degrees) and has stops or other limiting structure at each end of the pivot path (at about horizontal and at about 60 degrees) to prevent the cushion assembly from pivoting further, and to prevent the cushion assembly from “flopping” too far either direction (that is, too far counter-clockwise or clockwise in FIG. 11). Alternatively, the cushion assembly 16 may be pivotally connected to the column assembly 14 by other means, for example, a biased pivot connection, such as one that is biased rearward and provides slight resistance to the user leaning over the bathtub, or a flex connection that allows pivoting relative to the column assembly 14 by means of a flexible member rather than a pivot axle.
  • Referring now to FIG. 3 and FIG. 4, the dimension X is preferably in a range of about 6-10 inches (optimum being approximately 8 inches) and dimension Y is preferably 4-8 inches (optimum being approximately 6 inches), or at least not more than 8 inches at the left and right ends of the cushion assembly (above the breasts). The bathing aid device 1 is sized and shaped so that the upper cushion assembly 16 is located in relation to the bathtub wall and the user's body so as to bear against the clavicle portion of the user's upper chest area, and the upper cushion assembly is dimensioned and shaped to allow for proper and comfortable upper body support, while, most importantly, permits complete freedom of movement of the arms of a user. Especially, the width of the upper cushion assembly (approximately 8 inches wide) permits the user to reach unhindered around the cushion assembly 16 into the bathtub even to the point that the user may use both hands very close to each other inside the bathtub to do intricate and careful work in front of the user. This is especially advantageous and important relative to the bathing of an infant. (See FIG. 11). With respect to a female user, the upper cushion assembly 16 bears against the upper chest area in such a way as to not impinge upon nor cause discomfort to the breasts.
  • Referring now to FIG. 11, it will be observed that a female user is positioned upon the preferred device, and is bathing an infant. The knees K of the user P are cradled upon and within cushion 20 of pedestal 18. Preferably, there is no seat for the user extending up from the pedestal 18. Dimension D, denoting the height above the floor of cushion 20, is preferably 5-7 inches (optimally approximately 5½ inches), thereby allowing the feet F of the user P to assume a natural, comfortable position. It will also be noted that upper cushion 48 bears against the area of the upper chest above the breasts, especially important to a female user. Preferably, during normal use, the cushion assembly 16 does not contact, and does not support the user at or below the breasts, at the lower ribcage or other part of the lower chest or stomach, and does not contact the user's elbows or forearms. While the inventors acknowledge that some “upper breast” tissue, such as upper muscle or other upper tissue associated with the breasts, may be in the vicinity of the cushion assembly during use of the device, the preferred device is adapted for contact and weight-bearing between the user's body and the upper cushion to be substantially above the breasts and substantially in the clavicle area. In alternative embodiments, the inventors foresee that the cushion may have a substantial portion that contacts the user between the breasts, but, again, not centered against, or substantially encroaching on, either of the breasts. This is primarily because of the discomfort that would be experienced by many users if contact, and especially weight-bearing, were to occur between the upper cushion and one or both breasts. Thus, the preferred embodiments, while being effective for anyone desiring support while kneeling beside a bathtub, are especially comfortable for nursing mothers and women in general.
  • Further, because the upper cushion 48 supports the user between the shoulders, rather than below the shoulders, the preferred device 1 provides superior support, comfort, and strain-relief compared to support lower on the user's body; when support is lower on the user's body, the user must still lean over and substantially forward from the support, which typically results in more back and/or shoulder strain, discomfort, and less secure and safe positioning of the user relative to the bathtub and the bather. It will also be seen that the preferred device allows for complete freedom of movement of the arms A of a user, thereby affording increased function and safety, especially with respect to bathing of an infant B.
  • Referring now to FIG. 12, it will be observed that when bathing is completed, the entire vertical support structure 10 may be removed from pedestal 18, occupying only the momentary use of one hand of the user, thereby allowing the other hand to continue to provide support for the bather, which is especially desirable in the case of an infant. Support structure 10 may be laid aside from pedestal 18 a suitably safe distance, and when so accomplished, affords much easier and safer egress from the bathtub. With the support structure so removed, if, in the case of an infant, he or she is accidentally dropped, or a person exiting or entering the bathtub should stumble or fall, injury potential is greatly reduced or eliminated, as no part of the invented device remains in close proximity to the bathtub with the exception of the pedestal 18, which is designed with smooth and rounded edges and/or cushioning to reduce injury potential.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 7A and 7B, it will be readily apparent that other upper support cushion shapes may be employed besides the rectangular shape shown in FIGS. 1-4 and 6. For example, a triangular cushion 148, or a t-shaped cushion 248 may be used, as these serve well to support the upper chest/clavicle area of the user without bearing/impinging on the breasts. The lower corner of the triangle cushion 148, or the lower branch of the T cushion 248, may bear on the upper chest between the breasts, and, hence, will still be comfortable. FIG. 8 illustrates the preferred cushion location, that is, between the shoulders and above the breasts of the user. Attachment means to upper cushion support column 44 would remain the same as those shown in the preferred embodiment, or as designed by one of skill in the art.
  • Referring now to FIG. 9, an alternate embodiment of the invented device is shown, wherein an adjustment means 70 is provided in the horizontal portion of upper support tube 38. The adjustment means 70 is similar to the adjustment means 36 shown in FIG. 5, but is not limited to this means and other securing methods may be employed, such as a cotter-pin style lock, a set-screw style lock, a clamp lock, or others that will be envisioned by those of skill in the art after viewing this disclosure and the drawings. Such a horizontal adjustment means may be valuable, as it may allow the user to adjust the position of the upper cushion assembly 16 to the proper location relative to the user's body. Typically, this will place the upper cushion assembly 16 several inches above, and several inches forward, of the center of the top surface 81 of the bathtub wall 80.
  • One will note that the preferred slidable and removable connection of the support structure 10 to the pedestal 18 is accomplished by simply sliding the end 30 of lower tube 28, into hole 26. With such a connection, the support structure is held generally upright and does not pivot or move except when it is lifted straight up for removal. The hole 26 is formed by a rigid and sturdy cylindrical wall recess into the base 21, or a bore into a rigid and sturdy portion of the base 21. The hole 26 and the wall/material that define it, are preferably recessed into the base 21 so that no portion of the connection structure protrudes above the surface of the base/pedestal. This way, when the lower tube 28 is removed, there is no protruding bracket or other structure that could be a danger to a falling person or a dropped infant.
  • Referring now to FIG. 10, it may be seen that an optional and less-preferred pivotally locking means 90 may be used at the lower end of lower support tube 28 to secure it to pedestal 18. Shown is one, but by no means the only method of accomplishing this. Attached to the upper surface 25 of pedestal 18 are pivot brackets 91 and 93. Within pivot bracket 91 is smooth hole 95. Within pivot bracket 93 is threaded hole 97. Pivot brackets 91 and 93 fit snugly but not rigidly upon the outer diameter of support tube 28, and holes 95 and 97 correspond to and communicate with holes 99 in support tube 28. Adjustment knob 92, comprised of handle 94, shaft 96 and threads 98 is inserted through pivot brackets 91 and 93 and tube 28 such that threads 98 on shaft 96 may be coupled to threaded hole 97, thereby rigidly securing lower support tube 28 in a fixed position. Such an optional locking system may be used to secure the lower support tube 28 to the pedestal 18, without the tube 28 extending into the pedestal 18. Once loosened, to allow the tube 28 to pivot relative to the pedestal 18. This option may be preferred by those who do not want the support structure 10 to be easily removable, so that the parts are not separated or lost, and/or that want the support structure 10 to pivot to a collapsed position against the pedestal 18 for storage.
  • Referring now to FIG. 13, illustrated is an alternative embodiment of the present invention, in which pedestal 18 is completely covered on its upper surface by cushion 82. Rising upwardly from the lower portion of pedestal 18 is standpipe 84, designed to accept the lower end of vertical support column assembly 14. The top of standpipe 84 is recessed below the upper surface of cushion 82 so as not to create a safety hazard. In the event that an elderly, handicapped or infant person, upon egress from the bathtub, should fall, with vertical support column 14 having been removed, the body comes into contact with a completely cushioned surface, thereby contributing to the prevention of injury.
  • Referring now to FIG. 14, shown is an alternate embodiment of the present invention wherein a flexible appendage may be added to and/or used with the present invention, serving as a bathtub wall cushion and/or storage system 90. A flexible panel 86 is attached to pedestal 18 and is drawn upwardly along the sidewall of the bathtub until cushion 88 rests upon the top surface 81 of the bathtub sidewall. Weights or magnets could be employed, sewn within the flexible material, to aid in retaining cushion 88 upon the top of the sidewall of the bathtub. Panel 86 and cushion 88 may be employed as an added safety feature, preventing potential injury occurring from unintentional contact with the top portion of the sidewall of the bathtub. Further, storage pockets (not shown) may be added as desired, preferably on the panel 86 outside the bathtub wherein the infant of other bather cannot reach the items stored. The system 90 may be easily detachable from the device 1, or may be rolled-up to, and stored with, the pedestal.
  • Although this invention has been described above with reference to particular means, materials and embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to these disclosed particulars, but extends instead to all equivalents within the broad scope of the following claims.

Claims (25)

1. A bathing aid device comprising:
a lower portion for resting on a floor beside a bathtub, the lower portion having a front extremity and a rear extremity;
a column assembly extending upwards from the lower portion and having a distal end, wherein the column assembly comprises a generally horizontal portion that places the distal end forward from the front extremity of the lower portion;
a support cushion pivotally connected to said distal end at a pivot point that is forward relative to said front extremity of the lower portion, the support cushion being for supporting a user's upper chest over the wall of said bathtub.
2. A bathing aid device as in claim 1, wherein said column assembly comprises a single upright column that bends at about 90 degrees.
3. A bathing aid device as in claim 1, wherein substantially the entire support cushion is forward of said front extremity.
4. A bathing aid device as in claim 1, wherein said support cushion is less than or equal to 10 inches wide and less then or equal to 8 inches long, for bearing against the clavicle region of a user's upper chest.
5. A bathing aid device as in claim 1, wherein a lower end of said column assembly is slidably received in said lower portion, and wherein the column assembly is not fastened to the lower portion so that the column assembly is liftable up away from the lower portion for removal from the lower portion.
6. A bathing aid device as in claim 1, wherein the lower portion has an upper surface and said column assembly is connected to the lower portion by being received in a hole in said lower portion, and wherein no fastening structure for connecting the column assembly to the lower portion protrudes up from the upper surface of the lower portion.
7. A bathing aid device as in claim 1, wherein said column assembly is adjustable in length to raise and lower the support cushion relative to the lower portion.
8. A bathing aid device as in claim 1, wherein said column assembly is adjustable in length near said distal end to move said support cushion forward and rearward relative to the lower portion.
9. A bathing aid device as in claim 1, wherein said support cushion is freely pivotal on said column assembly.
10. A bathing aid device as in claim 1, wherein said lower portion comprises a cushion for receiving the knees and lower legs of a user.
11. A combination of a bathing aid device and a bathtub, wherein:
the bathing aid device comprises a base for resting on a floor beside a wall of said bathtub, the base having a front extremity and a rear extremity, and the front extremity being at or near the bathtub wall;
a column assembly extending upwards from the base and having a generally horizontal distal end, wherein the column assembly curves over the bathtub wall to place the distal end above the wall;
a support cushion pivotally connected to said distal end at a pivotal connection, the support cushion being adapted to supporting a user's upper chest generally over or in front of the wall of said bathtub.
12. A combination as in claim 11, wherein the bathtub wall has a top surface, and the distal end is above and distanced from said top surface so that the distal end does not touch the bathtub, and wherein an upper surface of the support cushion is 5-10 inches above said top surface.
13. A combination as in claim 11, wherein the pivotal connection of said support cushion to said distal end is 2-8 inches forward from the front extremity of the bathing aid device.
14. A combination as in claim 11, wherein the bathtub wall has a central vertical plane and said pivotal connection is up to 6 inches forward from the central vertical plane of the bathtub wall.
15. A combination as in claim 11, wherein the bathing aid device does not have wheels.
16. A combination as in claim 11, wherein the column assembly is connected to the base by a lower end of said column assembly being slidably inserted in a hole in said base, wherein the device comprises no connection means for connecting the column assembly to the base other than said slidable insertion in said hole.
17. A combination as in claim 16, wherein the base has an upper surface and wherein the hole is defined by a hole wall in said base and said hole wall does not extend up above the upper surface of the base.
18. A combination as in claim 11, wherein the base has an upper surface and the column assembly is connected to the base by a lower end of said column assembly being slidably inserted in a hole in said base, wherein the device comprises no connection structure above said upper surface of the base for connecting the column assembly to the base.
19. A combination as in claim 11, wherein said base comprises a cushion.
20. A combination as in claim 11, wherein said base comprises a cushion substantially over the entire top of the base.
21. A combination of a bathing aid device and a bathtub, wherein:
the bathtub wall has an outer wall surface, a top surface, and a central vertical plane;
the bathing aid device comprises a pedestal for resting on a floor beside the outer wall surface of said bathtub, the pedestal having a front extremity and a rear extremity, and the front extremity being at or near said outer wall;
a column assembly extending upwards from the pedestal, over and above the bathtub wall to place a distal end of the column assembly above said top surface of the bathtub wall;
a clavicle support cushion connected to said distal end on or forward relative to said central vertical plane;
wherein said column assembly and said clavicle support cushion are sized and located relative to the base so that, when a user kneels on said base behind the column assembly and leans over onto the clavicle support cushion, the clavicle support cushion bears against the user's clavicle area between the user's shoulders, so that the user can reach forward around said clavicle support cushion without said support cushion interfering with movement of the user's shoulders or arms.
22. A combination as in claim 21, wherein the clavicle support cushion is pivotally connected to said distal end.
23. A combination as in claim 21, wherein the clavicle support cushion is sized not to contact the user's breasts.
24. A method of using a bathing aid device with a bathtub, the method comprising:
providing a bathtub with a wall having an outer wall surface, a top surface, and a central vertical plane;
providing a bathing aid device and resting the bathing aid device beside the bathtub wall outer wall surface, the device comprising a pedestal with a front extremity at or near the outer wall surface, a column assembly extending up from the pedestal and over the top surface of the bathtub wall, and support cushion connected to a distal end of the column assembly and positioned over the top surface forward from the front extremity of the pedestal;
wherein the method further comprises a user of the device kneeling on said pedestal and leaning over the bathtub wall and placing the user's clavicle upon the support cushion so that the support cushion bears against the user's clavicle between the user's shoulders and support cushion does not bear against the user's breasts, wherein the user reaches forward around said clavicle support cushion without said support cushion interfering with movement of the user's shoulders or arms.
25. A method as in claim 24, further comprising leaning back off of the clavicle support cushion and removing the column assembly by lifting it out of a hole in the pedestal.
US11/496,798 2006-07-31 2006-07-31 Bathing aid Abandoned US20080022448A1 (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
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US11/496,798 US20080022448A1 (en) 2006-07-31 2006-07-31 Bathing aid
PCT/US2007/074878 WO2008016930A1 (en) 2006-07-31 2007-07-31 Kneeling device

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WO (1) WO2008016930A1 (en)

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US9681756B2 (en) 2012-02-24 2017-06-20 Daryl Smith Ergonomic support device for weight of a user
USD842972S1 (en) 2017-01-12 2019-03-12 Kohler Co. Walk in bath
CN112155457A (en) * 2020-09-27 2021-01-01 西南医科大学 Bath device for neonates
US10881251B2 (en) 2017-01-12 2021-01-05 Kohler Co. Walk in bath
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CN112155457A (en) * 2020-09-27 2021-01-01 西南医科大学 Bath device for neonates

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