US 20020133881 A1
A baby pillow for holding a baby in either a supine or prone position to aid in developing muscles or to relieve congestion. The baby pillow is a one piece body having a concavity at an incline of approximately eighteen degrees. Raised security edges of the baby pillow form the outer area of the concavity, and the entire baby pillow is fire-resistant. The baby pillow also includes a removable, washable cloth cover. Straps with hook and loop fastening strips are used for holding a baby in the concavity of the baby pillow.
1. A baby pillow for elevating a baby's upper body to strengthen the neck and back muscles, comprising:
a one-piece body having a concavity with raised security edges, said concavity including an inclination having a higher end portion and a lower end portion, wherein said higher end portion of said concavity supports the arm socket area of a baby, and said lower end portion of said concavity supports the area above a baby's knees;
a means for holding the baby in said concavity in a prone or supine position; and
a removable cloth cover having a plurality of openings for slidingly receiving said means for holding a baby in a prone or supine position, said removable cloth cover surrounding said one-piece body.
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 This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/205,092, filed May 18, 2000.
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates to a baby pillow, and more specifically, a baby pillow that is constructed to comfortably elevate a baby's upper body while positioned in the prone or supine position for strengthening the neck and back muscles.
 2. Description of Related Art
 It has been recommended by The American Pediatric Association for all infants and babies to sleep in the supine position and not in the prone position. Because of this recommendation, it has been suggested that babies need to spend time (with supervision) on their stomachs (prone position) to strengthen muscles especially in the neck and back.
 The following design patents illustrate various ornamental designs of support structures. U.S. Des. Pat. No. 262,911, issued to Lloyd A. Weddell on Feb. 2, 1982, depicts an ornamental design of a leg rest. The design includes two structures wherein one has a concave shape. U.S. Des. Pat. No. 389,359, issued to Ralph M. Nowak on Jan. 20, 1998, reveals an ornamental design of an infant support cushion. The design includes two cylindrically-shaped members attached by two sheet members.
 The following patents describes various types of methods and devices for supporting and securing infants in certain positions, but none discloses the present invention.
 U.S. Pat. No. 2,281,629, issued to William Snow on May 5, 1942, describes a device for preventing colic in feeding infants. The device includes a means for maintaining the infant's body in a reclining position where a substantial portion of the weight of the body will be supported by the back of the torso and buttocks.
 U.S. Pat. No. 2,495,482, issued to Pearl M. Rogartz on Jan. 24, 1950, defines an apparatus for holding infants while bathing. The device is formed of a fabric panel which is stretched between and secured to the opposite side rails of a framework of tubular construction. The side rails are bent downwardly at opposite ends and have leg structures connected at the front and rear ends of the frame.
 U.S. Pat. No. 2,973,889, issued to Roy S. Phillips on Mar. 7, 1961, characterizes a baby holder having an elongated irregularly shaped carrier body formed of a rigid material. The body is basin-like in shape and is contoured to fit the back side of an infant's body while lying on the back.
 U.S. Pat. No. 4,265,232, issued to Timothy Stonich on May 5, 1981, describes an inclined arm support for stroke victims. The support is at an inclined position, and the arm support surface has a concave shape to comfortably receive a person's arm. The support includes Velcro straps for holding the arm securely in place.
 U.S. Pat. No. 3,896,799, issued to Wayne C. Seeley on Jul. 29, 1975, outlines an arm board for use in connection with intravenous feeding and similar medical procedures. The board includes a rectangular-shaped structure having depending sidewalls and a padded covering. The board also includes a tear-off portion suitable for strapping an arm to the board.
 U.S. Pat. No. 4,566,449, issued to Jan E. Smith on Jan. 28, 1986, shows an elevated infant positioner to hold an infant in either a prone or supine position. The device consists of a wedge having a first plane at a given angle of at least 30 degrees that is contiguous with a second plane having an angle that is less than the angle of the first plane. The device also includes a bifurcated U-shaped member located over the first plane, wherein the extended tapered arms of the bifurcated U-shaped member contacts both portions of the first plane and the second plane.
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,483,714, issued to Thomas B. Casassa on Jan. 16, 1996, describes an infant post-feeding belt having an elongated flexible base member positionable beneath an infant's abdomen. The device has two spaced apart slots extending perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the base member.
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,937,461, issued to David Dombrowski, et al. on Aug. 17, 1999, teaches a reconfigurable infant support including a main body and two reconfigurable restraints or support members mounted to opposite ends of the main body. The support member is formed as a cylindrical cushion and contains a bendable element that can be configured into a variety of shapes.
 None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singly or in combination, is seen to describe the instant invention as claimed.
 The present invention is a baby pillow including a one-piece body having a concave wedge. The concave wedge is at an incline of approximately eighteen degrees. Raised security edges form the outer area of the concave wedge. The entire baby pillow as well as the raised secured edges of the concave wedge are made of a material that is fire-resistant, such as a fire-retardant foam. The baby pillow also includes a removable washable cloth cover. Straps are used for holding a baby in the concave wedge of the baby pillow.
 Accordingly, it is a principal object of the invention to provide a baby pillow that elevates a baby's upper body in order to strengthen the neck and back muscles.
 It is another object of the invention to provide a baby pillow that is made from materials that are fire-retardant.
 It is a further object of the invention to provide a baby pillow that includes a vinyl cover over the foam body that is washable and easy to clean.
 Still another object of the invention is to provide a baby pillow that includes a removable washable cloth cover for easy cleaning and for additional comfort.
 It is an object of the invention to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof in an apparatus for the purposes described which is inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing its intended purposes.
 These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.
FIG. 1 is an environmental, perspective view of the operation of the baby pillow holding an infant in place according to the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing the shape of the baby pillow and the straps of the present invention.
FIG. 3 is a frontal cross-sectional view of the baby pillow of the present invention.
FIG. 4 is a rear view of the baby pillow of the present invention.
 Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.
 The present invention is a baby pillow 10 that is constructed to comfortably elevate a baby's upper body while positioned on their stomach. It has been recommended that babies sleep in the supine position. Because babies sleep in the supine position, it has been suggested that babies need to spend time, which will be referred to as “Tummy-time”, on their stomach (prone position) to strengthen their muscles, especially in the neck and back, under supervision.
 The baby pillow comprises an elevated concave wedge-type pillow having a higher end portion and a lower end portion. Raised edges form part of the concave wedge in the top surface of the baby pillow. The baby pillow also includes a non-toxic vinyl covering made of a fire-retardant foam and a removable washable cloth cover. The unique purpose of the baby pillow is that it is ultimately constructed for babies to use during “Tummy-time”.
FIG. 1 shows a baby 20 strapped in the baby pillow 10 in the prone position. The baby 20 is placed into a concave wedge within the baby pillow 10 whereby the arm sockets 22 of the baby 20 are just past the edge of the highest end portion of the concave wedge of the pillow 10. The baby's feet 24, legs 26, and knees 28 are lying on the floor just out of the concave wedge of the lower end portion of the pillow 10.
 The baby pillow 10 is constructed to comfortably elevate and hold the upper body portion of baby 20 by a strap 34 while in either the prone or supine position. In either the prone or supine position, the baby pillow 10 promotes three benefits. A first benefit occurs while the baby is lying in the prone position, in that the incline of the concavity 30 (FIG. 2), together with the movements of the baby 20, helps to strengthen developing neck and back muscles. A second benefit is that the pillow 10 allows for broader visibility for the baby while placed in either the prone or supine position. The third benefit of the pillow is that the incline elevates the baby 20 while in the supine position, which eases congestion if the baby 20 is suffering from a cold, and helps the baby 20 to breathe easier.
FIG. 2 depicts a perspective side view of the main structure of the baby pillow 10. The baby pillow 10 comprises a one-piece body having a concavity 30. The concavity 30 is at an incline of approximately eighteen degrees relative to the planar base of the pillow 10. Raised security edges 32 form the outer area of the concavity 30. The baby pillow 10 is made of a material that is fire-resistant, such as a fire-retardant foam.
 Preferably, the dimensions of the baby pillow 10 are eighteen inches by eighteen inches, but various sizes, widths, inclinations, and elevations of the baby pillow 10 can be utilized depending on the size of the baby 20. The baby pillow 10 will include a means for holding the baby securely in the baby pillow 10 in the prone or supine position. One or more straps 34 would be the neans for holding 34 a baby in the concavity 30 of the baby pillow 10. Each strapping means 34 can include, but is not limited to, a strap or straps around the baby's waist and/or through the baby's legs (not shown). Each strapping means 34 is lined with at least one strip of hook and loop fastening material 42 at its exposed end.
FIG. 3 depicts a frontal cross-sectional view of the baby pillow 10 showing the non-toxic vinyl coating 36, a removable cloth cover 38, and a fire-retardant foam base 40. The entire one-piece body of the baby pillow 10 is preferably constructed of a fire-retardant foam 40. The foam 40 is covered in a non-toxic vinyl coating 36 for preventing wetting of the foam base, and can be easily washed. Over the non-toxic vinyl coating 36 is a fire-retardant removable cloth cover 38 for additional comfort for the baby 20. The cover 38 can be easily removed for washing.
FIG. 4 shows the baby pillow 10 having two strap portions 34, each having a hook and loop fastening patch 42 at its exposed end. The strap 34 can be a one-piece cloth webbing and is slidingly received in a plurality of openings 44 within the removable cloth cover 38 near the raised edges 32 of the concave wedge 30 on the baby pillow 10. Each strap 34 can be constructed to be made slidingly removable from the openings 44 within the removable cloth cover 38. The baby pillow 10 can be manufactured in a variety of colors and patterns.
 It should be noted that this baby pillow can support a baby in a supine position and still benefit muscle development.
 It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.