WO2014078442A1 - Easy-access safety bassinet - Google Patents

Easy-access safety bassinet Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2014078442A1
WO2014078442A1 PCT/US2013/069931 US2013069931W WO2014078442A1 WO 2014078442 A1 WO2014078442 A1 WO 2014078442A1 US 2013069931 W US2013069931 W US 2013069931W WO 2014078442 A1 WO2014078442 A1 WO 2014078442A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
bassinet
mother
walls
lowered
sleeping platform
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2013/069931
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Patricia Long
Samuel THORNTON
Original Assignee
Patricia Long
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US13/675,968 priority Critical
Priority to US13/675,968 priority patent/US9226594B2/en
Application filed by Patricia Long filed Critical Patricia Long
Publication of WO2014078442A1 publication Critical patent/WO2014078442A1/en

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47DFURNITURE SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR CHILDREN
    • A47D15/00Accessories for children's furniture, e.g. safety belts
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47DFURNITURE SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR CHILDREN
    • A47D15/00Accessories for children's furniture, e.g. safety belts
    • A47D15/005Restraining devices, e.g. safety belts, contoured cushions or side bumpers
    • A47D15/008Restraining devices, e.g. safety belts, contoured cushions or side bumpers in beds, play-pens or cradles
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47DFURNITURE SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR CHILDREN
    • A47D9/00Small beds for newborns or infants, e.g. bassinets or cradles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60BVEHICLE WHEELS; CASTORS; AXLES FOR WHEELS OR CASTORS; INCREASING WHEEL ADHESION
    • B60B33/00Castors in general; Anti-clogging castors
    • B60B33/0078Castors in general; Anti-clogging castors characterised by details of the wheel braking mechanism
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60BVEHICLE WHEELS; CASTORS; AXLES FOR WHEELS OR CASTORS; INCREASING WHEEL ADHESION
    • B60B33/00Castors in general; Anti-clogging castors
    • B60B33/0078Castors in general; Anti-clogging castors characterised by details of the wheel braking mechanism
    • B60B33/0086Castors in general; Anti-clogging castors characterised by details of the wheel braking mechanism acting on rim or side portion of tyre
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60BVEHICLE WHEELS; CASTORS; AXLES FOR WHEELS OR CASTORS; INCREASING WHEEL ADHESION
    • B60B33/00Castors in general; Anti-clogging castors
    • B60B33/0078Castors in general; Anti-clogging castors characterised by details of the wheel braking mechanism
    • B60B33/0092Castors in general; Anti-clogging castors characterised by details of the wheel braking mechanism actuated remotely, e.g. by cable or electrically
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60BVEHICLE WHEELS; CASTORS; AXLES FOR WHEELS OR CASTORS; INCREASING WHEEL ADHESION
    • B60B2900/00Purpose of invention
    • B60B2900/30Increase in
    • B60B2900/331Safety or security
    • B60B2900/3312Safety or security during regular use
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B62LAND VEHICLES FOR TRAVELLING OTHERWISE THAN ON RAILS
    • B62BHAND-PROPELLED VEHICLES, e.g. HAND CARTS OR PERAMBULATORS; SLEDGES
    • B62B2206/00Adjustable or convertible hand-propelled vehicles or sledges
    • B62B2206/06Adjustable or convertible hand-propelled vehicles or sledges adjustable in height
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B62LAND VEHICLES FOR TRAVELLING OTHERWISE THAN ON RAILS
    • B62BHAND-PROPELLED VEHICLES, e.g. HAND CARTS OR PERAMBULATORS; SLEDGES
    • B62B9/00Accessories or details specially adapted for children's carriages or perambulators
    • B62B9/08Braking mechanisms; Locking devices against movement
    • B62B9/085Braking mechanisms; Locking devices against movement hand operated

Abstract

An easy-access over-the-bed bassinet especially useful in hospitals for new mothers that has a barrier to prevent the infant from rolling off a sleeping platform, wherein one wall may be lowered to permit a mother to reach in and cradle the infant. The sleeping platform may slide laterally slightly from within the bassinet. The convertible wall may have a restoring mechanism to move it back to its original barrier position. Magnets nominally hold the wall in both up and down positions, and sensors may be arrayed to detect the lack of an obstruction when the wall is down to initiate return to the up position. The convertible wall may pivot or roll underneath the sleeping platform. The entire sleeping platform may slide laterally or rotate about a vertical axis for ease of positioning relative to the mother. The bassinets are mounted on sturdy frames that permit over-the-bed positioning.

Description

EASY-ACCESS SAFETY BASSINET
Field of the Invention
[0001] This invention relates generally to bassinets and, more particularly, to an over- the-bed bassinet that enables a mother to easily access an infant therein and provides a safety feature to prevent the infant from falling out.
Background of the Invention
[0002] National statistics report over 4 million births in the U.S. in 2007, which is over 300,000 births per month, or 30,000 births per day. The average length of stay for a mother and baby is 3 days; including both vaginal and cesarean deliveries. Every baby requires a bassinet for the postpartum hospital stay, and there are approximately 150,000 bassinets presently in hospitals throughout the United States. The average bassinet that is presently used in the hospital costs approximately $1200, and the most popular model is a standalone crib-type.
[0003] Hospitals have embraced the "rooming in concept", that allows the mother to have her newborn in her hospital room day and night. The infant is in the care of the mother, who has just delivered her baby. New mothers naturally want to cuddle the infant, and many of course commence breast-feeding right away. However, the arduous labor process and the possibility of the mother having received narcotics during labor or during her cesarean section results in fatigue and exhaustion. This increases the chance of a mother falling asleep with her infant. It has also been reported that mothers will sacrifice sleeping while attending to their infant, and the research has proven that sleep deprivation can lead to postpartum depression and anxiety. Furthermore, in extreme cases infants die from suffocation as a result of a sleeping mother unknowingly laying on her infant and cutting off the infant' s airway.
[0004] Newborns tend to cluster feed, which means that they will nurse frequently for a period of time, and then sleep for an extended period of time between feedings. Mothers try to put their newborn on a schedule of feeding their newborn every 2 to 4 hours, but quickly discover that their newborn may wake less than an hour after a feeding acting like they want to nurse again. A breast feeding mother is exceptionally tired because she rarely finds the opportunity to get over 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep for the first three months of her newborn's life. New mothers, suffering from exhaustion and sleep deprivation, are unintentionally falling asleep while holding and feeding their newborns. Statistics show that newborns are particularly at risk for harm the first 3 months of life. A sleeping parent can inadvertently roll onto their newborn and accidentally suffocate their child. Every year, thousands of newborns die of accidental suffocation in the parent's bed. Studies have shown that almost 90% of SIDS deaths occurring in bed could have been prevented. Another reason a mother may not return her newborn to a separate sleeping surface is that, when her newborn falls asleep while the mother is breast feeding, and the mother tries to transfer her to a separate surface, even if the surface is right next to her any movement will wake the newborn. If you speak to any new mother they will identify with the difficulty in the transfer of the sleeping newborn, and many times, they will abandon transferring the newborn, because they know that the newborn will awake and start to cry.
[0005] Consumers are driving the rooming-in concept versus the traditional concept of having the infant in the nursery at night, coming out only for feedings. While research supports the theory that rooming-in facilitates mother-infant bonding and increases successful breast feeding, there is much concern about mothers getting adequate rest, and of course about the possible danger to the infant. Nursery nurses are unable to observe the infants in their charge as closely when they are rooming-in with their mothers, and while nurses round on their patients on a consistent basis, there is always a chance for an accident to occur due to an infant being in bed with a sleeping mother. While there is substantial research surrounding postpartum depression and sleep deprivation, little has been done to explore possible solutions to insure that mothers are able to get adequate sleep during their hospital stay.
[0006] In addition, nurses on post-partum floors report that the number one reason a mother asks for help is that she is too tired to get her baby out of the nearby bassinet, or too tired to return the baby to the bassinet, and needs the nurse to assist her. It is understandable that an exhausted mother could easily fall asleep before getting up to return her infant to its bassinet. The primary concern is that an exhausted mother who is feeding her baby in bed does not realize she is drifting off to sleep and will fall asleep with the baby in her arms, and the nursing staff will not be aware of the situation.
[0007] Statistics have shown that infants have suffocated in hospital settings due to "overlaying" (lying on the baby while sleeping). There are many reports of infants falling from their sleeping mother's arms onto the floor. Studies have also shown that there are over 700 reported infant falls in hospitals in the U.S. annually, and probably many more unreported events. The falls usually occur when a mother falls asleep nursing her baby and the baby falls out of her arms and onto the floor.
[0008] The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents co-sleep (have the newborn in close proximity on a separate surface), rather than bed-share (having the newborn sleep in the same bed as the family) based on substantial research determining the risk of bed sharing to be greater than the benefits.
[0009] Indeed, the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, warns parents not to place their infants to sleep in adult beds. These organizations state that the practice of shared sleeping puts babies at a higher risk of suffocation and strangulation. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission the primary risks of infants sleeping in adult beds include suffocation caused by an adult rolling on top of or next to a baby; suffocation when an infant gets trapped or wedged between a mattress and a headboard, nightstand, wall, or other object; suffocation resulting from a baby being face down on a waterbed, a regular mattress or on soft bedding, such as pillow blankets, or quilts; and strangulation in a headboard or footboard that allows a portion of an infant's body to pass through an area while trapping the baby' s head.
[0010] To avoid these risks, there are ways to keep a baby close by, but not in the adult's bed. A bassinet that allows a mother to view her infant without having to get out of bed, and be able to access her infant while in bed, can help prevent sleeping accidents from occurring, thereby reducing a mother's anxiety and promoting rest and safety for the mother during her postpartum hospital stay. For example, a baby can be placed in a bassinet or crib next to the adult's bed. There are also devices that look like a bassinet minus one side, which attaches to the adult bed and is termed a "co-sleeper." These devices allow the parent and baby to be next to one another without the possibility of the parent rolling over onto the infant. Various co-sleepers that attach to a bedside are disclosed in U.S. Patent Nos. 5,172,435, 5,430,899, 6,934,981, and 7,406,725.
[0011] Unfortunately, many rooms do not have enough space to place these devices in the same room as the adult bed, let alone at the side of the adult bed. When used, a bassinet placed next to a bed will be inconvenient in that only one adult on one side of the bed will have convenient access to it. Additionally, when a bassinet is placed near the side of the bed, this can block easy access to the bed and make it difficult for an adult to move in or out of the bed. In a hospital setting the co-sleeper may interfere with the nurses' duties.
[0012] Another design where the infant bed is suspended above the adult bed is seen in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2008/0222810. This device features a holding structure supported by a horizontal arm extending from a relatively sturdy support stand behind the head of the bed, or by a "C-shaped" apparatus which extends from below the bed upward, and over the adult bed area. The constructions shown are relatively bulky and likely expensive, and the overall ergonomic functioning leaves something to be desired.
[0013] In an effort to improve outcomes for mothers and infants, an over- the -bed bassinet designed for a mother's comfort and the baby's safety, and which is relatively simple and cost-effective, is needed.
Summary of the Invention
[0014] The present application provides an easy-access over-the-bed bassinet especially useful in hospitals for new mothers and babies. In one embodiment, the bassinet, comprises a frame on which is mounted a sleeping platform surrounded by an upstanding enclosure including walls that present a protective barrier to an infant rolling off of the sleeping platform. At least one of the walls converts between an elevated position and a lowered position in which the barrier on that side is lowered. Means are provided to ensure maintenance of a barrier to the baby rolling out of the bassinet if the mother falls asleep. In one embodiment, the front wall mounts in the bassinet with a restoring mechanism that causes the front wall to automatically return toward the elevated position from the lowered position in the absence of a barrier to upward movement.
[0015] In accordance with a preferred embodiment, a bassinet that helps protect a baby from rolling out when the mother is breast feeding the baby, comprises an upstanding enclosure surrounding a sleeping platform including walls that present a protective barrier to a baby rolling off of the sleeping platform. The walls include opposite end walls and front and rear walls, at least the front wall being convertible between an elevated position and a lowered position in which the barrier on that side is lowered relative to the other walls. The sleeping platform is mounted in the bassinet to slide outward over the front wall when the front wall is in its lowered position. The bassinet may further include a restoring mechanism that tends to return the front wall towards elevated position from its lowered position in the absence of any obstruction. The restoring mechanism may alternatively comprise a spring, a spring/damper combination, or a piston/cylinder mechanism, for example.
[0016] The front wall preferably moves under the sleeping platform when in the lowered position. For instance, the front wall has an arcuate shape and rotates downward under the sleeping platform in the lowered position. Alternatively, the front wall is formed of linked horizontal slats hingedly connected such that they may slide under the sleeping platform. At least one sensor may be positioned adjacent to the sleeping platform to detect if there is an object across an opening created when the front wall is lowered. A solenoid may be connected to respond to the sensor and initiate return of the front wall from its lowered position towards elevated position.
[0017] In one version, upper retaining magnets are positioned to engage and nominally retain the front wall in its elevated position. Also, lower retaining magnets may be positioned to engage and nominally retain the front wall in its lowered position.
[0018] The bassinet is desirably mounted on a wheeled stand, and the wheels are provided with a braking mechanism which is connected to a handle adjacent the bassinet, wherein the handle incorporates an electronic circuit that responds to a person's touch to unlock the wheels, and the electronic circuit locks wheels in the absence of a person touching the handle. The braking mechanism may include a solenoid, and may be retrofit to an off-the-shelf caster wheel. Optionally, a strap or belt is provided having a length sufficient to maintain contact between the front side of the bassinet and the mother who is accessing the sleeping platform over the lowered front wall. The end walls of the bassinet may comprise a two part assembly defining a cavity within which are positioned the restoring mechanism to provide the concealment. [0019] In accordance with another embodiment, a bassinet that helps protect a baby from rolling out when the mother is breast feeding the baby comprises an upstanding enclosure surrounding a sleeping platform including walls that present a protective barrier to a baby rolling off of the sleeping platform. The walls include opposite end walls and front and rear walls. At least the front wall is convertible between an elevated position and a lowered position in which the barrier on that side is lowered. A strap is provided having fasteners at either end for attaching to mating fasteners on the bassinet on either side of the bassinet and having a length sufficient to encircle the mother to maintain contact between the mother and the front side of the bassinet. In this way, the mother can retain the bassinet against her when breast feeding even when the front wall is lowered to prevent accidents if she falls asleep.
[0020] In accordance with one version, the front wall pivots downward under the sleeping platform when converting between the elevated and lowered positions, and at least one of the mating fasteners on the bassinet causes the strap to pass over the front wall and present a barrier to upward movement of the front wall from its lowered position. The front wall may mount in the bassinet with a restoring mechanism that causes the front wall to return toward the elevated position from the lowered position in the absence of a barrier to upward movement, such that the front wall will tend to return toward the elevated position when the mother's arms are no longer resting on the front wall. The strap desirably includes a cushion having a pair of strap ends that separately fasten to the bassinet. Desirably, the front wall has an arcuate shape that curves under the sleeping platform and attaches to a spring to bias the front wall upward.
[0021] The bassinet may also include a stand having a base and an upstanding support member supporting an elevated frame above the base. The upstanding support member is connected to the elevated frame in such a manner that the elevated frame may be cantilevered over a bed, wherein the elevated frame in turn supports the sleeping platform of the bassinet. In another embodiment, the sleeping platform is supported on height-adjustable legs that permit the bassinet to be placed on a bed such that the sleeping platform may be elevated above the bed at different heights. One useful version features a sliding shelf that retracts under the sleeping platform.
[0022] Both the sleeping platform and the upstanding enclosure may be rotatably mounted about a vertical axis with respect to the frame. The convertible wall desirably mounts in the bassinet with a restoring mechanism that causes the convertible wall to return toward the elevated position from the lowered position in the absence of a barrier to upward movement. The bassinet is able to support the mother's arms while resting on the convertible wall in the lowered position and nursing her baby on the sleeping platform, and the convertible wall will tend to return toward the elevated position when the mother's arms are no longer resting on the side wall.
[0023] The proposed bassinet design converts the bed that the newborn is laying on to become the surface that the mother uses when feeding her newborn, rather than on the mother' s bed, or on a pillow in the bed. The bassinet mattress is a flat firm surface. If the mother is able to feed her newborn on that surface, and easily transfer her newborn into its bassinet, without having to move the newborn from the surface he is laying on, the transition could be performed without waking the newborn.
[0024] The proposed bassinet is designed so that the bassinet can be secured and adjusted to the same elevation as the mother's bed. Then, the mother can slide the bassinet a few inches over the bed, and then, slide the tray that the newborn's mattress is on toward her a few more inches. The infant's mattress is then the surface that the infant lays on while the mother is breast feeding. The tray may slide out at a slight angle. There may be a spring on the proximal end of the track. This way, if the mother pulls the tray toward her, and her arm rests on the tray, the tray will lower to a flat position allowing the mother easy access to feed her newborn. When the mother is finished breastfeeding, she moves her arm off the tray, the spring releases, returning the tray to a slight angle, and gravity slowly and gently allows the tray to slide back into the bassinet. When the mattress and tray that the newborn is lying on its back within the bassinet's 3 walls, the 4th wall (the wall between the newborn bed and the mother's bed) automatically returns to its upright position, by means of a sensor device that controls the upward movement of the wall.
[0025] Alternatively, other lock/release mechanisms for the tray than the just- described spring-operated lock may be used, which should not be considered limiting. For example, a simple catch mechanism may hold the tray extended. The mother pulls the tray out until she hears and feels a click, indicating the tray is caught in an extended position. The catch could be disengaged via a solenoid, as with the convertible side walls, to allow the tray to slide back into the bassinet under the influence of gravity. If such an approach were used, the mother would not have to rest her arm on the tray to lock it in the extended position.
Brief Description of the Drawings
[0026] Features and advantages of the present invention will become appreciated as the same become better understood with reference to the specification, claims, and appended drawings wherein:
[0027] Figure 1 is a rendering of a mother on a bed nursing a baby who is positioned within a bassinet described herein having a convertible front wall that permits the mother to easily reach in and access the baby;
[0028] Figures 2A-2C are perspective, front, and end views of a bassinet in accordance with the present application having convertible front and rear walls formed of linked horizontal slats that slide under the bassinet in the fashion of a role-top desk tambour;
[0029] Figures 3A-3C are perspective, front, and end views of an alternative bassinet having convertible front and rear walls formed of linked horizontal slats that slide under the bassinet;
[0030] Figures 4A-4C are perspective, front, and end views of an alternative bassinet having convertible front and rear walls formed of linked horizontal slats that descend downward in a telescoping fashion;
[0031] Figures 5A and 5B are perspective and end of views, respectively, of a further bassinet of the present application having a convertible front wall shown raised and mattress padding, and further including a narrow front shelf that ergonomically fits to the mother;
[0032] Figures 6A and 6B are perspective and end of views, respectively, of the bassinet of Figures 5A and 5B with the front wall converted to a position under the sleeping mattress;
[0033] Figures 7A-7C are perspective and detailed views of the bassinet as in Figures 5 A and 5B with the front wall raised and the mattress padding removed;
[0034] Figures 8A-8C are perspective and detailed views of the bassinet as in Figures 6A and 6B with the front wall lowered and the mattress padding removed; [0035] Figure 9 is a perspective view of a still further alternative bassinet of the present application with two arcuate convertible walls on either side mounted to roll underneath a sleeping platform;
[0036] Figure 10 is an exploded perspective view of the bassinet of Figure 9;
[0037] Figures 11A-11C are perspective, side and end views of the bassinet of Figure 9 with end walls removed to show an automatic return mechanism for the convertible walls having spring pistons;
[0038] Figures 12A and 12B are perspective views of a bassinet similar to that in Figures 9-11 and illustrating an optional slide out sleeping platform;
[0039] Figures 13A-13C are elevational views of a further bassinet of the present application having a convertible wall, and mounted on a rolling stand;
[0040] Figures 14A-14D are enlarged elevational and plan views of the bassinet of Figures 13A-13C;
[0041] Figures 15A-15C are further detailed views of the bassinet of Figures 13A-
13C;
[0042] Figures 16A-16G illustrate separate parts of the bassinet of Figures 13A-13C;
[0043] Figure 17 is a schematic view of one end of the bassinet of Figures 13A-13C schematically illustrating an exemplary wall return mechanism;
[0044] Figures 18A-18D schematically illustrate a preferred usage of the bassinet of Figures 13A-13C by a new mother nursing her infant;
[0045] Figure 19 is an elevational view of an exemplary bassinet shown relative to a hospital bed and mother thereon;
[0046] Figure 20 is an electric circuit diagram for actuating a wheel locking solenoid used with the bassinets described herein;
[0047] Figures 21A and 21B are exemplary illustrations of a wheel-locking solenoid mechanism; and
[0048] Figure 24 is an exemplary illustration of an additional safety belt attached to one side of the bassinets disclosed herein which helps prevent a baby falling out of the bassinet. Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments
[0049] Figure 1 illustrates an over-the-bed bassinet 20 that can be used to provide ergonomic support for a mother while she is breast feeding her baby. The bassinet 20 is desirably able to support up to 500 pounds, to withstand the weight of someone leaning heavily on it and provide a generous margin of safety. The mother is shown holding her newborn and using the bassinet to support her arms while nursing the baby. In the event the mother falls asleep while nursing, and the mother' s arms that are holding the newborn relax, the newborn will remain on a sleeping platform of the bassinet, and a protective barrier will automatically be restored to prevent the baby from rolling out of the bassinet.
[0050] The bassinet 20 includes a frame 22 on which is mounted a sleeping platform 24 surrounded by an upstanding enclosure 26. Several different types of enclosures are described herein, and others are contemplated. The various enclosures present a barrier to an infant rolling off the sleeping platform 24, and typically include walls surrounding the sleeping platform 24. As will be explained in more detail below, a front portion or wall of the enclosure 26 facing the mother converts from an elevated position presenting a barrier to contain the infant in the bassinet 20, to a lowered position in which the barrier on that side is substantially removed to enable the mother easy access. Moreover, the convertible portion of the enclosure 26 features an automatic return mechanism that ensures the barrier will reform in the absence of any force applied by the mother or other barrier.
[0051] In certain embodiments the frame 22, sleeping platform 24 and enclosure 26 are constructed of a single member, while in other versions the frame may be formed of struts or other structural members that supports a separate sleeping platform 24 with an integral or separate enclosure. Also, the frame 22 may comprise a table on which the bassinets described herein are supported, or may be structural members that support or suspend the bassinets, the term "frame" being used to signify the cantilevered structure that permits the bassinet to extend over a bed. Those of skill in the art will understand that there are numerous ways for supporting an enclosed sleeping platform over a bed, and that the claims should not be limited by any particular embodiment disclosed herein.
[0052] As seen in Figure 1, the bassinet 20 further includes a stand having an upstanding support member 28 above a stabilizing base (not shown) that may be mounted on wheels for portability. As typical with hospital equipment, the wheels are lockable. The support member 28 elevates the frame 22 in such a manner that the sleeping platform 24 extends horizontally over the bed. The overall profile of the bassinet 20 resembles the letter "C" with the base typically sized to slide under the bed while the sleeping platform 24 over the bed, much like conventional food service carts, though much more sturdy. A power-assisted height adjust mechanism, such as in hospital beds, may be included. The bassinet 20 can be raised or lowered to accommodate varying bed heights, and to assist nurses caring for the baby, such as allowing the nurse to lift the baby without having to bend over too far.
[0053] It should be noted that although most of the bassinets described herein are shown as "over-the-bed" types, which extend over a bed such as a hospital bed for convenience, many features of the bassinet are useful for traditional designs. For example, the convertible walls described herein may be useful for bassinets that stand by themselves on a vertical frame, not designed to go over the bed. Likewise, accessories such as sliding shelves and drawers in combination with the convertible bassinet are not just useful for over-the-bed designs.
[0054] In use, a mother lying on a bed may reach over the enclosure to cradle the baby, at the same time resting her arms on the front wall which descends under the sleeping platform. The lowered position of the front wall coincides with an upper edge thereof being approximately at the level of the sleeping platform, or a mattress placed thereon. This removes the peripheral barrier from around the sleeping platform and the mother's arms can rest comfortably over the lowered front wall which is preferably rounded to eliminate sharp corners. The baby remains on the sleeping platform. This configuration is particularly comfortable for an extended period of breast-feeding, for example.
[0055] The front wall is also desirably mounted in the bassinet with a restoring mechanism that causes it to automatically return toward the elevated position from the lowered position in the absence of an external force or barrier, such as the mother's arms draped over the wall. When the mother desires to place the sleeping baby back into the enclosure, or if she happens to doze off while breast-feeding, the baby remains on the sleeping platform and removal or relaxation of the mother' s arms removes a downward force on the front wall, which permits it to return toward its elevated position. The weight of the mother's arms provides a downward force greater than the restoring force of the front wall, and thus the restoring force may be calibrated to be just slightly less than a minimum arm weight, perhaps 3-5 pounds (6.6-11.0 kg).
[0056] Additionally, a damping mechanism such as a shock absorber (not shown) is preferably provided. In this embodiment, whose principles can be applied to any of the bassinets described herein, the convertible wall may be depressed downward, and when released is biased upward toward its original position. The damping mechanism prevents a sudden upward movement of the wall.
[0057] Exemplary dimensions for a bassinet enclosure may vary, as the reader will understand. One suitable set of dimensional ranges includes a length L of between 25-30 inches (-63-77 mm), a width W of between 14-17 inches (-35-43 mm), and height H of between 9-11 inches (-19-28 mm). Exemplary dimensions include a length L of about 27.25 inches (-69 mm), a width W of about 15.5 inches (-39 mm), and a height H of about 9.5 inches (-24 mm).
[0100] Figures 2A-2C illustrate the wall portions of a bassinet 350 (i.e., without showing a mattress floor) having convertible front and rear walls 352 formed of linked horizontal slats 354. The slats 354 are hingedly connected such that they may slide under a mattress floor provided in the bassinet 350 in the fashion of a roll-top desk tambour (the roll top). More specifically, each slat 354 extends substantially the length of the bassinet between end walls 356 and has pins 358 on opposite ends that each project into an angled slot 360 in the corresponding end wall. Each of the slots 360 extends vertically down one side of the end wall 356 and angles horizontally along the bottom of the end wall. The slots 360 for the front and rear walls 352 overlap in their horizontal portions as shown so that the slatted walls may overlap under the mattress floor. In the illustrated embodiment, there are six slats 354 for each of the convertible walls 352.
[0101] An upper slat 354 includes an ergonomically-curved top edge 362 to provide comfort to a person reaching into the interior of the bassinet 350. By pressing down on the top edge 362, a person, typically the mother, can push down on the convertible wall 352, causing it to slide along the slots 360 underneath the mattress floor. Although not shown, a latch or other such securing mechanism may be provided to maintain each of the convertible walls 352 in their raised positions. Alternatively, an automatic return mechanism as described above may be provided. [0102] Figure 2A illustrates a loop 364 provided on an inner surface of one of the end walls 356. The loop 364 provides an attachment point for a strap (not shown) which can be attached to maintain the associated convertible wall 352 in its lowered position. A loop 364 may be provided on one or both end walls 356.
[0103] Figures 3A-3C show another bassinet 370 of the present application that also has convertible front and rear walls 372 formed of linked horizontal slats 374 that slide under the bassinet, similar to the embodiment described above. However, rather than six slats per wall, the bassinet 370 has three slats per wall. Furthermore, Figure 3C illustrates a mattress floor 376 under which the convertible walls 372 slide.
[0104] In Figures 4A-4C, a bassinet 380 in accordance with the principles disclosed herein includes convertible front and rear walls 382 formed of linked horizontal slats 384 that descend downward in a telescoping fashion. More particularly, each of the slats 384 has a short vertical rail 386 on its outer surface in the middle that engages a complementary slot (not shown) on the inner surface of the adjacent rail. Stops (not shown) on the mating rails and slots prevent each slat from descending more than one slat height. In this way, the top slat 384 extends downward to the level of the second-to-the-top slat, and so forth, so that the walls 382 descend downward in a stepped fashion. The opposite ends of each slat 384 slide within a generally vertical slot 388 formed on the front and rear edges of end walls 390. The vertical slots 388 are each defined on their inner borders by a stepped wall 392 that sequentially limits the upward movement of the slats 384, as seen in Figure 4A.
[0105] Again, a latching mechanism (not shown) to maintain the walls 382 in their raised positions may be provided, as well as an automatic return mechanism. A top edge 394 of the uppermost slats 384 curves outward to provide a smooth ergonomic surface.
[0106] Figures 5A and 5B illustrate a further alternative bassinet 400 of the present application having a convertible front wall 402 shown in its raised position. The bassinet 400 includes a rear wall 404 that is preferably not convertible, and two end walls 406 that project in a forward direction (toward the viewer in Figure 5A) past the front wall 402. Mattress padding including a main mattress 410 and a shelf mattress 412 are also shown. Figures 6A and 6B show the bassinet 400 with the front wall 402 converted to a position under the sleeping mattress 410. [0107] The shelf mattress 412 rests on a narrow front shelf 414 featuring a concave recess 416 that ergonomically receives the mother's body. The front shelf 414 also includes a short lip wall 418 that helps constrain a baby within the interior of the bassinet 400, as well as a pair of strap eyelets 420 projecting forward therefrom. Although not shown, a strap similar to those described above can be attached to the eyelets 420 and passed around the back of the mother to maintain contact between the mother and the front of the bassinet 400. If the bassinet 400 is mounted on an over-the-bed stand, as shown above, the mother can pull the bassinet close with her abdomen in the concave recess 416 and attach the bassinet to her with the strap connected to the two eyelets 420. Or, the mother can be seated in a chair and pulled the over- the-bed bassinet 400 to her and strap it securely in place.
[0108] With reference now to Figures 7A-7C and Figures 8A-8C, in which the mattress padding is removed from the bassinet for clarity, the front wall 402 in its raised position is braced between two substantially vertical slots 422 on either side of the bassinet. The two vertical slots 422 are defined between a pair of parallel rails 424 extending inward from both end walls 406. As seen in the end views, the rails 424 and thus slots 422 are angled slightly in a forward direction so as to increase access to the interior of the bassinet for attending to a baby therein. The front wall 402 has two small lugs 426 projecting outward from both ends at the bottom. Each lug 426 extends into an angled slot 428 formed in the corresponding end wall 406. As seen best in the end views of Figures 7C and 8C, the angled slots 428 include a short substantially vertical section which angles to a longer horizontal section near the bottom edge of the end walls 406. The front wall 402 may be swung outward and pushed under the main mattress 410 as seen in Figures 8A-8C. The lugs 426 slide along the horizontal portion of the angled slots 428.
[0109] Now with specific reference to Figure 8B, the rails 424 that support the front wall 402 on each side include a longer back rail 424a and a shorter front rail 424b. Each end of the front wall 402 further includes an elongated tab 430 at the top, which projects about as far outward as the lug 426, with a recess in between. The front wall 402 can be raised by pulling it forward such that the lugs 426 slide forward within the angled slots 428, and then lifting the top edge up and guiding the elongated tabs 430 over the shorter front rails 424b and into the slots 422. The shorter front rails 424b pass through the recess between the lugs 426 and tabs 430. The relative size of the lugs 426 and angled slots 428 permits some play therebetween such that the front wall 402 can be angled upward and easily manipulated into place. With this configuration, no special latch is required to retain the front wall 402 in its raised position. Furthermore, this embodiment does not necessarily contemplate an automatic return mechanism, the lifting of the front wall 402 preferably being done manually. However, the baby remains safe within the confines of the bassinet walls 404, 406 and in front of the mother when the strap is attached to the eyelets 420.
[0110] Figures 9-17 show still further bassinets having a convertible wall mounted on a frame that pivots about a central longitudinal axis of the bassinet, under a sleeping platform. In the illustrated embodiments, the wall is arcuate and arranged to pivot or roll underneath the sleeping platform. There may be two separately moveable walls, or the two walls may be connected for simultaneous movement. The figures show a bassinet defining a generally rectangular enclosure surrounding the sleeping platform including two non-moving end walls and two long convertible walls. The convertible walls have an arcuate sheet-like configuration and edges of the side wall mirror the curved shape for a distance.
[0111] Figure 9 illustrates a still further alternative bassinet 440 of the present application similar to those shown in Figures 16-22 in that there are two arcuate convertible walls 442 on either side mounted to roll underneath a sleeping platform 444. There may be two separately moveable walls 442, as shown, or just one. The bassinet 440 defines a generally rectangular enclosure surrounding the sleeping platform 444 including two non-moving end walls 446 on both ends of the two long convertible walls 442. In an exemplary embodiment, the overall dimensions of the bassinet 440 include a length L of between about 28-34 inches, a width W of between about 20-25 inches, and a height H of between about 9-12 inches. One particular embodiment has L-W-H dimensions of about 31-23-11 inches.
[0112] With reference also to Figure 10, each end wall 446 comprises an outer cover 448 that defines a cavity to the outside of a flat, generally semicircular frame wall 450 having a semicircular channel 452 extending therethrough. The cover 448 and frame wall 450 are secured together with fasteners, for example. The covers 448 each further include a lower stand 453 with a horizontal lower edge designed to contact a flat base surface such as a table or raised platform that goes over a bed. Of course the stands 453 could be replaced with separate legs or otherwise be secured to a table or platform, and the way to support the bassinet horizontally should not be considered limited to the illustrated embodiment. For example, the stands 453 may be adjustable such to permit the sleeping platform to be elevated at different heights.
[0113] The convertible walls 442 each include an arcuate sheet-like panel 454 capped with an elongated upper rail 456. The upper rail 456 provides stiffness to the panel 454 and also presents a relatively broad and smooth surface on which the mother can press her arms when converting the wall 442 from its raised to its lowered position. Furthermore, the upper rails 456 each have a guide pin 458 extending axially outward on each end that tracks within the semicircular channels 452 in the frame walls 450. The convertible walls 442 rotate underneath the sleeping platform 444, as best seen in the Figure 12B, as the guide pins 458 track down the channels 452. Additionally, each of the semicircular channels 452 terminates at an upper end at a short turnout 460 into which the guide pins 458 can be routed to temporarily secure the walls 442 in their raised positions. There may be more than one guide pin 458 on each end of the rails 456 for better alignment, in which case there may also be more than one turnout 460. Furthermore, there may be a plurality of turnouts 460 spaced along the channels 452 to provide several intermediate stop positions for the walls 442.
[0114] In one embodiment, the arcuate walls 442 are formed of a thin polymer such as polypropylene or nylon, while the frame members are made of a suitable metal such as aluminum or steel for strength.
[0115] As explained above, there are a number of ways to provide an automatic return mechanism for one or both of the convertible walls 442. As seen best in Figures 10 and 11A- 11C, the cavity defined within the end walls 446 provide narrow spaces for a hydraulic or pneumatic piston/cylinder arrangement on each end of the convertible walls 442 that provides a return force to the walls. In the preferred embodiment, a spring-loaded piston/cylinder 462 has an upper end that couples to an end of one of the upper rails 456 on the walls 442, and a lower end whose position is fixed. More particularly, a short journal shaft 464 is fixed to rotate (such as with cotter pins or C-clips) about an upper end of the piston/cylinder 462 and extends inward through the respective semicircular channel 452 in the frame walls 450 and into a bore 466 in the end of the corresponding wall rail 456. In this way, the upper rails 456 of the walls 442 are constrained to move with the upper end of the piston/cylinder 462. The lower ends 468 of the piston/cylinders 462 are fixed to rotate about shafts (not numbered) having fixed positions relative to the respective frame wall 450. The assemblies of the piston/cylinders 462 and related journaled connections are all concealed within the cavities defined between the outer covers 448 and the frame walls 450 of both end walls 446 for safety as well as aesthetics.
[0116] As indicated by the movement arrows in Figures 11A-11C, the piston elements of the piston/cylinders 462 move in and out of the cylinder elements to raise and lower the walls 442. A spring (not shown) within the cylinder biases the piston out of the cylinder, and thus tends to push the connected rails 456 of the walls 442 upward toward the raised position. Due to a damping characteristic of the piston/cylinders 462, any movement is slowed so as not to cause injury to the mother or child. It should also be noted that the height of the walls 442 is such that both may be lowered at once, with the arcuate panels 454 converging at a lower midpoint of the frame walls 450. That is, the walls 442 do not interfere with each other movements. Alternatively, the shape or curvature of the arcuate panels 454 may be such that they overlap to a degree at their lowest points.
[0117] Figure 11A shows the two walls 442 in their raised positions with the guide pins 458 engaged within the upper turnouts 460 (see Figure 10) in the frame walls 450. Either wall 442 may be lowered by first disengaging the guide pins 458 on each end from the turnouts 460 by lifting the wall up and in a short distance, after which the mother can lean on the top rail 456 of the wall to push it downward against the spring bias of the piston/cylinders 462. The restoring force of the piston/cylinders 462 will be less than the mother's arm weight, but large enough to raise the wall in the absence of small barriers against such movement (e.g., a blanket). One wall 442 is shown pivoted down in Figure 12A and 12B. Although not shown, locks may be provided to retain the walls 442 in their lowered position to clean the bassinet 440, for example.
[0118] Figures 12A and 12B show a bassinet 470 similar to that in Figures 9-11 but also having a slide out sleeping platform 444. More particularly, the sleeping platform 444 may be held on both its ends within a channel 472, which is preferably open on only one side. One wall 442 can be lowered as shown to a point underneath the channel 472, and then the sleeping platform 444 pulled out on that side to bring the baby closer to the mother. This prevents the wall 442 from returning to its raised position, and as such a strap or other such securement as described above may be provided to hold the bassinet against the mother while she nurses the baby, and to prevent separation therebetween should she fall asleep.
[0119] Figures 13A-13C are elevational views of a further bassinet 500 of the present application having at least one convertible wall, and mounted on a rolling stand 502. More particularly, the bassinet 500 comprises an elevated table or platform 504 mounted on a height adjustable stand 506, which in turn is mounted on a rolling base 508 having wheels 510. The wheels 510 are desirably lockable through the use of a convenient handle 512 mounted just under one end of the platform 504. As mentioned previously, the platform 504 is desirably adjustable through manual or automated (e.g., hydraulics) means from a minimum height Hmin of around 27 inches (69 cm) to a maximum height Hmax of around 48 inches (122 cm).
[0120] Now with reference to the enlarged views of Figures 14A-14D and 15A-15C further details of the bassinet 500 are described. Much like the bassinet 440 described above with respect to Figures 9-12, a sleeping compartment of the bassinet 500 has a rectangular profile looking from the front and back, as seen in Figure 14A, and a generally semi-circular profile looking from either end, as seen in Figure 14B. Also with reference to the separated parts shown in Figures 16A-16G, the bassinet 500 includes a pair of stationary outer end walls 520 spaced just outside of corresponding inner end walls 522. As seen best in Figure 14A and 14B, the outer and inner end walls 520, 522 are spaced slightly apart and joined by upper end caps 524. On each end of the bassinet 500, an inverted generally V-shaped wall stiffener 526 is positioned within the cavity defined between the end walls 520, 522. The combination of the outer and inner end walls 520, 522, end caps 524 and wall stiffeners 526 can be termed "end frames" for the sake of clarity.
[0121] The bassinet 500 preferably includes two movable walls mounted in between the end frames. More particularly, as seen in Figure 14B, a front or left side movable wall 530 is shown in its lowered position rotated counterclockwise about an axle 532. In preferred embodiment, the left side movable wall 530 comprises an arcuate panel 534 extending substantially between the end frames and attached at upper corners at both longitudinal ends to wall arms 536. The wall arms 536 extend radially toward and continue past the axles 532 in both end frames and each has a short extension 538 having a counterweight 540 on its distal end. [0122] In a similar manner, a rear or right side movable wall 542 comprises an arcuate panel 544 extending substantially between the end frames and attached at upper corners at both longitudinal ends to wall arms 546. Again, the wall arms 546 extend radially toward and continue axles 532 in both end frames and each has a short extension 548 having a counterweight 550 on its distal end. Both the left side movable wall 530 and right side movable wall 542 thus rotate at either longitudinal end about common axles 532.
[0123] Figure 14B shows the left convertible wall 530 down in its lowered position, while the right convertible wall 542 is in its elevated position. Conversely, Figure 15C shows both convertible walls 530, 542 in their elevated positions. When one or both of the walls 530, 542 is lowered, they overlap to an extent. Thus, for example, the left convertible wall 530 is shown sliding underneath the right convertible wall 542 in Figure 14B.
[0124] The bassinet 500 further includes a bed frame 560 that extends across the length of the bassinet between the inner end walls 522. A mattress 562 is positioned on top of the bed frame 560. In a preferred embodiment, the "sleeping platform" comprising the bed frame 560 and mattress 562 are configured to slide out, much like the sleeping platform 444 described above with respect to Figures 12A-12B. That is, the sleeping platform may be held on both its ends within a channel (not shown, similar to channel 472), which may be open on one or both sides to permit the platform to slide in one or both directions, as indicated by the movement arrow and dashed outline of the sleeping platform in Figure 14B. One wall 530, 542 can be lowered such as shown in Figure 14B to a point underneath the channel, and then the sleeping platform pulled out on that side to bring the baby closer to the mother. This prevents the wall 530, 542 from returning to its raised position, and also a strap or other such securement may be provided to hold the bassinet against the mother while she nurses the baby, and to prevent separation therebetween should she fall asleep.
[0125] With reference to Figures 14C and 14D, an exemplary embodiment that permits the bassinet 500 to slide or swivel horizontally relative to its support stand 502 is shown. As mentioned, the bassinet 500 mounts on an elevated table or platform 504 which may be stationary relative to the stand 502, or maybe configured to move horizontally thereon. For example, Figure 14D shows the platform 504 rotating about a support frame 505 that forms part of the stand 502. Alternatively, such as described below with reference to Figure 18C, the mechanism may permit simple sliding movement in one direction, such as toward a bed. Those of skill in the art will understand that various ways to enable relative displacement of the bassinet 500 with respect to its stand 502 are possible, and a number of sturdy slides, bearings, lock/release mechanisms and the like can be used which will not be described further herein. Preferably, the entire bassinet can rotate 360 degrees around a vertical axis, and the entire bassinet also can slide 3" to either side by means of a track.
[0126] In a preferred embodiment, both of the convertible walls 530, 542 are biased toward the raised position with a restoring mechanism, and further including sensors and actuators to ensure that the walls are in the raised position when there is no obstruction such as the mother's arms. With particular reference to Figure 15C and the detail of Figure 17, a leaf spring 570 attaches between the left side wall arm 536 and the upper end cap 524. In the schematic illustration of Figure 17 the left movable wall 530 has been rotated in a counterclockwise direction thus bending the leaf spring 570 and initiating the restoring force in a clockwise direction, as indicated by the force arrow 572. The counterweight 540 also contributes to the restoring force by applying a moment to rotate the wall arm 536 in a clockwise direction.
[0127] With reference back to Figure 15C, a series of retaining magnets are shown which provide temporary holding measures to secure the convertible walls 530, 542 in either their raised or their lowered positions. More particularly, at each end of the bassinet 500, upper retaining magnets 580 interact with metallic or opposite sense magnets at the upper corners of the convertible walls 530, 542. The upper retaining magnets 580 thus tend to hold the walls 530, 542 in their raised positions. Conversely, one or more lower retaining magnets 582 are positioned underneath the sleeping platform and serve to maintain the lowered position of each of the walls 530, 542 by interacting with the metallic or opposite sense magnets in the walls. The magnets 580, 582 are not so strong that the mother cannot break their attraction to the movable walls, and thus the assembly described so far may be purely manually operated. Rotational dampers (not numbered) are provided at the axles 532 to regulate the speed of the walls 530, 542 when being restored from their lowered to their raised positions.
[0128] The bassinet 500 is also desirably equipped with a series of sensors 590 located in both end frames at the positions adjacent to and slightly above the sleeping platform. The sensors 590 are configured and calibrated to sense when there is an obstruction in the space next to the sleeping platform when one or the other of the movable walls 530, 542 is lowered. That is, if one wall is lowered and the mother has her arms inside the bassinet, the sensors detect the obstruction and accordingly send a corresponding signal to control electronics (not shown). On the other hand, if one wall is lowered and there is no obstruction adjacent to the sleeping platform, the sensors send an opposite signal to control electronics. The system further includes a pair of release solenoids 592, two of which are positioned at either end frame for releasing the movable walls 530, 542. That is, the solenoids 592 are mounted to disengage the movable walls 530, 542 from the lower retaining magnets 582. Thus, for example, if the left wall 530 is lowered, such as in Figure 14B, is nominally restrained by the lower retaining magnets 582. However, if the sensors 590 not detect an obstruction of print (e.g., the mother's arms) reaching into the bassinet 500, a signal is sent to the release solenoids 592 on that side to break the attraction between the lower retaining magnets 582 and the corresponding metal or magnets within the movable wall 530. Consequently, the left wall 530 is free to rotate it clockwise direction until it reaches its raised position at which point the upper retaining magnets 580 hold it in place.
[0129] In the exemplary embodiment as described with reference to Figures 13-17, the movable walls 530, 542 are counterweighted to be statically balanced so that only a small force is required to move a wall. When a person pushes a wall to the down position, it bends the preloaded thin leaf springs 570, and the wall is secured in the down position by the lower magnets 582. A control circuit monitors the sensors 590 in the end walls of the bassinet 500 and when conditions exist for the wall to automatically raise, the controller energizes a couple of micro- solenoids 592 to push the wall away from the lower retaining magnets 582, at which point the leaf springs 570 push the wall to the raised position. Wall speed is limited to that of a critically-damped system by the rotary dampers located on the wall axles 532. When the wall reaches the fully raised position it is secured in that position by the upper set of retaining magnets 580.
[0130] Figures 18A-18D schematically illustrate a preferred usage of the bassinet 500 by a new mother nursing her infant. In Figure 18A, the mother pulls the wheeled bassinet 500 closer to the bed 600 by first unlocking the wheels by touching the aforementioned handle 512, seen in Figure 13A. In preferred embodiments, the handle 512 possesses a sensor which automatically releases locking solenoids at the wheels (described below) to easily enable the mother to move the bassinet 500. If she releases the handle 512, the solenoids instantly lock the wheels thus preventing any further movement of the bassinet. Ultimately, the wheeled bassinet 500 is located adjacent to the bed 600, as seen in Figure 18B. Again, the mother need only release the handle 512 to lock the wheels in this convenient position.
[0131] Subsequently, the mother can pull the entire bassinet 500 slightly over the edge of the bed 600, as indicated by the movement arrow in Figure 18C. Although not shown, the entire bassinet 500 as described above may be adapted for a slight amount of horizontal movement over the elevated platform 504. For example, the bassinet may be mounted on a track provided on the platform 504. Furthermore, latches or other such fasteners are desirably divided to lock the bassinet 500 in various positions over the platform 504. In preferred embodiments, the bassinet 500 is adapted to slide approximately 3 inches (8 cm) laterally so that the edge of the bassinet is over the edge of the bed 600. Preferably the sleeping platform is biased to return to its center position by a restoring mechanism if the mother is not pulling it toward her. For example, springs may be used to pull the sleeping platform back into its neutral position.
[0132] At this point, the mother reaches into the bassinet which causes the convertible wall 530, 542 on that side to be lowered. Again, the walls 530, 542 are desirably held by magnets whose attraction can be easily broken by the weight of the mother's arms. Subsequently, the mother pulls the sleeping platform toward her as indicated by the movement arrow in Figure 18D. At this point, the baby is well-positioned for nursing. Furthermore, the entire bassinet 500 is locked adjacent to bed, and the sleeping platform is over the bed. The end walls prevent baby from falling out of the bassinet 500. If the mother tires, she can easily push the sleeping platform back over the bassinet 500 and roll back away from the bassinet, thus triggering the solenoids 592 to convert the wall from its lowered to its raised position. Likewise, if the mother falls asleep the sleeping platform is desirably restored to its neutral position within the bassinet 500, and the mother is either blocking the side of the bassinet so that the baby does not fall out, or if she rolls back the convertible wall raises up.
[0133] Figure 19 is an elevational view of the exemplary bassinet 500 shown relative to a hospital bed 600 and mother thereon. The bassinet 500 is shown slightly shifted to the right over the elevated platform 504. Further, the sleeping platform is shown extended to the right toward the mother.
[0134] Figure 20 is an electric circuit diagram for actuating a wheel locking solenoid used with the bassinets described herein. As mentioned, the wheels for the bassinet stand are desirably provided with a braking mechanism which is connected to a handle adjacent the bassinet, such as handle 512 seen in Figure 13A. Preferably, the handle incorporates an electronic circuit that responds to a person's touch to unlock the wheels, and the electronic circuit locks wheels in the absence of a person touching the handle. The circuit diagram in Figure 20 is exemplary only, and others like it are contemplated.
[0135] Finally, Figures 21 A and 2 IB are exemplary illustrations of wheel-locking devices. More particularly, in Figure 21A a solenoid 610 mounts to a frame portion of the metal casters 612, and includes a plunger 614 that extends therefrom. The wheel rim 616 includes a plurality of notches around its circumference which can be engaged by the plunger 614. The plunger 614 is shown extended and locking the wheel. Figure 21B is another example of how to lock/unlock a caster 620 using a solenoid 622, having the advantage that it can be retrofitted to off-the-shelf caster wheels rather than requiring caster wheels to be specially designed and produced. When the solenoid 622 is not energized, the weight of an elastomeric wedge 624 at the top of the tire 626 and a solenoid plunger 628 allows the wedge to rest on the tire. If the cart is moved, the caster swivels and the wheel tries to roll in only one direction (to the left in the drawing), which wedges the wedge 624 between the frame 630 and the wheel 626, preventing it turning. When the solenoid 622 is activated, it pushes the wedge 624 away from the wheel 626, freeing it to turn. Of course, other mechanisms are contemplated.
[0136] As mentioned previously, a strap or belt may be included with the bassinets described herein for additional safety. Figure 24 is an exemplary illustration of an additional safety belt 650 attached to one side of a bassinet 652 which helps prevent a baby falling out of the bassinet. Preferably the belt 650 includes a pair of swivel connections 654 on each end 656 of the bassinet enclosure and extends around one side, front or back, or both. A buckle 658 permits easy securement around the mother, and release therefrom. The mother fastens the safety belt 650 around herself before or after lowering the front wall 660 to ensure that no separation exists between her and the bassinet 650. This is a redundant safety feature in addition to the automatically-returning front wall 660 as described herein.
[0137] Alternatively, the fasteners to the bassinet 650 and for adjustment may be Velcro so that a strap is removably attached to opposite front corners of the bassinet. In such an embodiment (not shown), the bassinet enclosure includes a number of Velcro patches to which complementary Velcro patches (not shown) on the strap adhere. Specifically, patches are included on the exterior and interior front and rear corners of the non-moving lower portion of the enclosure. The strap adheres first to an exterior patch on the left, loops around the mother, attaches to an exterior patch on the right, and then extends over the lip of the enclosure and over the front wall in its lowered position to adhere to the interior patch on the right. In this position, the strap not only holds the front side down on the right when the mother is feeding the baby, thus freeing her hands to hold the baby in proper position, it also secures the mother to the bassinet, and prevents the bassinet from moving away from her. The strap may be attached using other devices than Velcro, such as snaps, magnets, snap hooks, plain hooks, etc.
[0138] Convertible bassinets described herein having a belt or strap function slightly differently than those without. Without the strap, if the mother falls asleep she will likely release the baby and the convertible wall will rise upward when she takes her arms away from it. Until she takes her arms away, she remains close and her body presents a barrier to the baby falling out. The strap fastens the mother to one side of the bassinet, and she then creates a barrier that prevents the baby from falling out. The mother preferably uses this security device when she is feeding the baby. By securing the mother to the bassinet, it is much easier for the mother to feed her baby, no matter what size or shape the mother is. Furthermore, the strap prevents the bassinet on wheels from moving away from the bed. The convertible wall remains lowered because one side of the strap extends thereover and secures to an interior Velcro patch. However, while the strap remains attached the mother continues to present a barrier to the baby falling out of the bassinet. When the strap is removed by the mother, she no longer present a barrier to the baby falling out, but the convertible wall rises upward. To ensure the right side of the strap is detached, one side may be permanently affixed to the exterior of the bassinet, while the other is detachable. [0139] While mothers falling asleep lying in bed with an infant has been the cause of some accidental suffocations, the bassinet can provide a safety feature for mothers who choose to nurse their infant while lying down in bed. If a mother is lying in bed; the bassinet can be locked in place with locking wheels, and can be tethered to the mother's bed with a safety strap, creating an attached 3-sided cot. In addition, the platform that contains the mattress that the infant is lying on; can sit on a track that allows the mother to slide the platform over the bed so that part of the platform now lies on the mother's bed. The mother can then get close to the baby to nurse, and when she is finished, she can slide the platform back into the bassinet, and the side wall would then return to its upright position.
[0140] The bassinets described herein are designed to allow the mother easy access to her infant to feed while in bed. A mother does not decide to fall asleep in bed holding her newborn, however there are many reasons why this situation occurs. Primarily a mother falls asleep holding her newborn because of exhaustion, caused by her labor and delivery experience, which may include the use of medication that will make her sleepy. What's more, she may have had a C-section, or a post partum tubal ligation, which included anesthesia, resulting in increased sleepiness. Exhaustion will cause her to fall asleep while she is feeding her baby, and the release of prolactin during breastfeeding will also cause drowsiness. If, in a sleep state, the mother moves her arms, the convertible portion of the barrier will move toward its elevated position, and the baby will remain safely in the bassinet. Also, with a strap attached there is no way for a space to form between the mother and bassinet, so that even if the mother dozes the baby remains safe in the bassinet or against the mother. In one embodiment, the convertible side automatically rises at least two inches, creating a protective barrier to prevent the infant from falling out of the bassinet.
[0141] The bassinet described herein designed for the postpartum hospital stay allows a mother to easily visualize and access her newborn, without having to get out of bed. The bassinet promotes infant safety, and supports the mother and those caring for the newborn, in preventing back and neck injuries. The concept has been endorsed by providers and professionals in the field.
[0142] Nurses and nurse managers who oversee large postpartum units and who have been interviewed have expressed a desire to have access to a safer bassinet, such as described herein. Hospital risk managers and biomedical engineers have emphatically endorsed the need for such a solution. Hospitals are naturally concerned about the safety of the newborns that are bom in their institutions, and are continually looking for ways to insure and improve the positive outcomes for infants. A product that allows mothers to put their babies to bed easily and not have to get up when they are exhausted or medicated, can alleviate a mother' s anxiety, and reduce the stress placed on the nurses who try to enforce mother's putting their infant's back to bed. A nurse is often responsible for up to 8 mothers and babies, and cannot oversee the babies every minute of the day while they are in the hospital, so providing a safer bassinet can be extremely useful.
[0143] The "easy access safety bassinet" described herein provides easy access to the infant by the user. Easy, unobstructed access to the infant enables the user to perform activities such as feeding, or diapering the newborn. The infant can be accessed whether the user is in a sitting, standing, or reclining position.
[0144] The bassinet is comprised of three components; a (preferably) clear 4 sided structure with 2 moveable sides, which is attached to a column on a four wheeled base. The infant lies on a tray that sits on the floor of the bassinet. The tray can be tilted to an upright angle if the infant needs to be angled to prevent reflux. The bassinet's column can be adjusted up and down to accommodate users' different sizes. The four wheeled base makes the bassinet mobile, so it can be moved directly over the mother's bed. This permits the mother access to her newborn while sitting or reclining. When the side wall is removed by the user, she is able to perform activities such as holding, changing, or feeding the infant without removing the infant from the bassinet.
[0145] The walls or sides of the bassinets described herein can be flexible, or collapsible or rigid, depending on which design makes the wall easier to remove and restore. Furthermore, though the bassinet is typically for hospital use, they might also be modified to be used in the home.
[0146] If the mother desires to feed the baby using the bassinet, she moves the wall separating her from the infant, places an elastic strap behind her back, and fastens the ends of the strap to the front and back walls of the bassinet platform that the infant is lying on. The fastened strap prevents the wall from returning while the mother is feeding the infant. With the bassinet and mother securely tethered, gaps are prevented from occurring between the mother and the bassinet. With the bassinet and mother tethered, if the mother falls asleep while holding or feeding the infant, the infant will remain safely on the base. Secured to the bassinet, the mother becomes the fourth wall, creating a barrier that prevents the infant from falling out of the bassinet onto mother's bed. When secured to the bassinet the mother's arms are free, enabling her to surround the infant with her arms and position the infant in an optimal position to facilitate breast feeding. The mother can nurse the newborn without having to support the infant's weight, reducing stress and strain to the muscles in her arms, back, abdomen, and shoulders. When the mother is finished breast feeding, by detaching the elastic strap from the bassinet and moving her arms away, the automatic returning wall will return to its original position. The mother then uses a locking mechanism to restore the integrity of the wall to its original.
[0147] The automatic removal and replacement of the side door(s) may be accomplished in many ways such as, but not limited to the use of springs, shocks, hydraulics, electrically (AC or DC), solar, infrared sensors, or any newer technology that provides the easiest method. The removal and return of the side door may also be designed to be operated manually by the user, or the side doors may be constructed to remove or return by a combination of automatic and manual operation. The wall may be designed to retract under, over, or to the side of the bassinet.
[0148] For in-hospital use, the bassinet that has an automatic returning wall should have a latch to hold both doors down at the same time. The latch would be used by medical personnel only, in the event that unobstructed access is needed to resuscitate an infant who is choking or not breathing.
[0149] Newborn care in the hospital nursery is becoming a thing of the past as mothers are keeping their newborns in their room night and day, referred to as "rooming in". New mothers have stated that due to exhaustion following labor, "rooming in" 24 hours a day prevents mother's from sleeping, for fear they may doze off while they are holding or feeding their newborn in the postpartum bed, and accidentally drop or lay on their baby. Mother's fears are proving valid: Joint Commission, the agency that accredits all hospitals in the U.S., published a research article in their July 2011 edition, showing that infant falls, and suffocation by overlay are occurring in hospitals where the infant is "rooming in". Hospitals are looking for a solution to keep newborns from harm, and the "easy access bassinet" provides one answer.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A bassinet that helps protect a baby from rolling out when the mother is breast feeding the baby, comprising:
an upstanding enclosure surrounding a sleeping platform including walls that present a protective barrier to a baby rolling off of the sleeping platform, the walls including opposite end walls and front and rear walls, at least the front wall being convertible between an elevated position and a lowered position in which the barrier on that side is lowered relative to the other walls, the sleeping platform being mounted in the bassinet to slide outward over the front wall when the front wall is in its lowered position.
2. The bassinet of claim 1, further including a restoring mechanism that tends to return the front wall towards elevated position from its lowered position in the absence of any obstruction.
3. The bassinet of claim 2, wherein the restoring mechanism comprises a spring.
4. The bassinet of claim 2, wherein the restoring mechanism includes a spring/damper combination.
5. The bassinet of claim 2, wherein the restoring mechanism includes a piston/cylinder mechanism.
6. The bassinet of claim 5, wherein the piston/cylinder arrangement include spring- loaded piston within a cylinder that provides both a restoring force to raise the front wall as well as damping of movement of the front wall.
7. The bassinet of any preceding claim, wherein the front wall moves under the sleeping platform when in the lowered position.
8. The bassinet of any preceding claim, wherein the front wall has an arcuate shape and rotates downward under the sleeping platform in the lowered position.
9. The bassinet of any preceding claim, wherein the front wall has outward guide pins that track along an arcuate channel provided in each end wall.
10. The bassinet of any preceding claim, wherein the front wall is formed of linked horizontal slats hingedly connected such that they may slide under the sleeping platform.
11. The bassinet of any preceding claim, further including at least one sensor positioned adjacent to the sleeping platform to detect if there is an object across an opening created when the front wall is lowered.
12. The bassinet of claim 11, further including a solenoid connected to respond to the sensor and initiate return of the front wall from its lowered position towards elevated position.
13. The bassinet of any preceding claim, further including upper retaining magnets positioned to engage and nominally retain the front wall in its elevated position.
14. The bassinet of any preceding claim, further including lower retaining magnets positioned to engage and nominally retain the front wall in its lowered position.
15. The bassinet of any preceding claim, wherein the bassinet is mounted on a wheeled stand, and the wheels are provided with a braking mechanism which is connected to a handle adjacent the bassinet, wherein the handle incorporates an electronic circuit that responds to a person's touch to unlock the wheels, and the electronic circuit locks wheels in the absence of a person touching the handle.
16. The bassinet of claim 15, wherein the braking mechanism includes a solenoid.
17. The bassinet of claim 16, wherein the braking mechanism is retrofit to an off-the- shelf caster wheel.
18. The bassinet of any preceding claim, further including a strap or belt having a length sufficient to maintain contact between the front side of the bassinet and the mother who is accessing the sleeping platform over the lowered front wall.
19. The bassinet of any preceding claim, wherein the end walls of the bassinet each comprises a two part assembly defining a cavity within which are positioned the restoring mechanism to provide the concealment.
PCT/US2013/069931 2009-02-09 2013-11-13 Easy-access safety bassinet WO2014078442A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US13/675,968 2012-11-13
US13/675,968 US9226594B2 (en) 2009-02-09 2012-11-13 Easy-access safety bassinet

Publications (1)

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WO2014078442A1 true WO2014078442A1 (en) 2014-05-22

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CN106175270A (en) * 2016-07-16 2016-12-07 吴思 A kind of neonate assistant suckling device
CN109498299A (en) * 2018-12-29 2019-03-22 济南市章丘区人民医院 Infant nursing hospital bed
USD848175S1 (en) 2015-03-27 2019-05-14 Happiest Baby, Inc. Bassinet
GB2571002A (en) * 2017-12-30 2019-08-14 Ningbo Mybaby Baby & Children Products Mfg Co Ltd Crib whose bed position can be adjusted
US10463168B2 (en) 2013-07-31 2019-11-05 Hb Innovations Inc. Infant calming/sleep-aid and SIDS prevention device with drive system
USD866122S1 (en) 2017-04-04 2019-11-12 Hb Innovations Inc. Wingless sleep sack
US10532180B2 (en) 2011-10-20 2020-01-14 Hb Innovations, Inc. Infant calming/sleep-aid, SIDS prevention device, and method of use
US10827851B2 (en) 2011-10-20 2020-11-10 Hb Innovations, Inc. Infant calming/sleep-aid device and method of use
US11052221B2 (en) 2016-10-17 2021-07-06 Hb Innovations, Inc. Infant calming/sleep-aid device
US11116330B2 (en) 2017-09-14 2021-09-14 The University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill Bassinet

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US20100199426A1 (en) * 2009-02-09 2010-08-12 Patricia Long Easy-access safety bassinet

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WO2007086066A1 (en) * 2006-01-30 2007-08-02 Hisense Ltd. A bassinet
US20080052833A1 (en) * 2006-08-30 2008-03-06 Goulet Lisa M Infant support system
US20100199426A1 (en) * 2009-02-09 2010-08-12 Patricia Long Easy-access safety bassinet

Cited By (16)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US10532180B2 (en) 2011-10-20 2020-01-14 Hb Innovations, Inc. Infant calming/sleep-aid, SIDS prevention device, and method of use
US11123515B2 (en) 2011-10-20 2021-09-21 Hb Innovations, Inc. Infant calming/sleep-aid, SIDS prevention device, and method of use
US10827851B2 (en) 2011-10-20 2020-11-10 Hb Innovations, Inc. Infant calming/sleep-aid device and method of use
US10532182B2 (en) 2011-10-20 2020-01-14 Hb Innovations, Inc. Infant calming/sleep-aid, SIDS prevention device, and method of use
US10463168B2 (en) 2013-07-31 2019-11-05 Hb Innovations Inc. Infant calming/sleep-aid and SIDS prevention device with drive system
USD848175S1 (en) 2015-03-27 2019-05-14 Happiest Baby, Inc. Bassinet
USD889878S1 (en) 2015-03-27 2020-07-14 Hb Innovations, Inc. Bassinet
USD933993S1 (en) 2015-03-27 2021-10-26 Hb Innovations, Inc. Bassinet
CN106175270B (en) * 2016-07-16 2019-09-13 郝爱青 A kind of application method of newborn's assistant suckling device
CN106175270A (en) * 2016-07-16 2016-12-07 吴思 A kind of neonate assistant suckling device
US11052221B2 (en) 2016-10-17 2021-07-06 Hb Innovations, Inc. Infant calming/sleep-aid device
USD866122S1 (en) 2017-04-04 2019-11-12 Hb Innovations Inc. Wingless sleep sack
US11116330B2 (en) 2017-09-14 2021-09-14 The University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill Bassinet
GB2571002B (en) * 2017-12-30 2020-07-15 Ningbo Mybaby Baby & Children Products Mfg Co Ltd Crib whose bed position can be adjusted
GB2571002A (en) * 2017-12-30 2019-08-14 Ningbo Mybaby Baby & Children Products Mfg Co Ltd Crib whose bed position can be adjusted
CN109498299A (en) * 2018-12-29 2019-03-22 济南市章丘区人民医院 Infant nursing hospital bed

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