|Publication number||US20050222546 A1|
|Application number||US 10/815,918|
|Publication date||Oct 6, 2005|
|Filing date||Apr 1, 2004|
|Priority date||Apr 1, 2004|
|Also published as||CA2561602A1, CN1937981A, EP1763328A1, US7977528, US20080065034, WO2005097026A1|
|Publication number||10815918, 815918, US 2005/0222546 A1, US 2005/222546 A1, US 20050222546 A1, US 20050222546A1, US 2005222546 A1, US 2005222546A1, US-A1-20050222546, US-A1-2005222546, US2005/0222546A1, US2005/222546A1, US20050222546 A1, US20050222546A1, US2005222546 A1, US2005222546A1|
|Inventors||Deborah Vargo, Ken Patel|
|Original Assignee||The Procter & Gamble Company|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (71), Referenced by (34), Classifications (18), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention is applicable to disposable absorbent articles including diapers, training pants, pull-on diapers, incontinence briefs, incontinence undergarments, absorbent inserts, diaper holders and liners, and the like. This invention is particularly related to disposable absorbent articles that are specially adapted for use in urinary toilet training.
When wearing a typical modern disposable absorbent article, a child may have dry skin even after one or more occurrences of urination. As a result, the child may feel little or no discomfort and often may not even be aware that he or she has urinated. However, having the child feel discomfort following urination in his or her “pants” may assist with learning and/or provide motivation to learn to voluntarily retain urine. It is possible to use cloth training pants that leave the skin wet and, due to their high breathability, promote evaporative cooling of the skin, further enhancing discomfort. However, cloth training pants have poor urine containment, often leading to wet clothing and wet surroundings, e.g., carpeting, furniture, etc.
Disposable absorbent training pants successfully address the need to prevent soiling of the wearer's clothing and surroundings. These products are particularly appealing to caregivers and are useful in the toilet training process because the pants have a very garment-like look. Children identify disposable absorbent article products with babies and often do not like being identified with or as babies. Consequently, children of toilet training age often do not want to wear baby disposable absorbent articles, and instead prefer to wear training pants that look like adult underwear. Thus, the switch from a traditional disposable absorbent article to more garment-like or underwear-like training pants can be an important step in the toilet training process.
Current training pants are typically limited to being pulled on like a pair of pants because the side seams are permanently bonded. However, in the context of toilet training, a product that can be opened and refastened at the side seams may be particularly useful because this capability permits the interior of the product to be easily inspected without having to pull the product downward. Thus, a caregiver can easily and quickly check for wetting while choosing either to describe to the child what he or she is doing in order to remind the child of the intention of toilet training or to check without interrupting the child's current activity. When choosing to involve the child and finding that the interior of the article is still dry, the caregiver can praise the child for not wetting the disposable absorbent article “like a baby” and instead behaving “like a big kid”. The caregiver can also invite the child to observe and/or to feel the interior of the article as a way of reinforcing the notion that a dry interior is desirable. In addition, if the article includes a feature that provides a wetness sensation upon urination and that is visibly highlighted in the interior of the article, the caregiver can point out the visible highlighting to the child when inspecting the interior in order to further reinforce the concept of toilet training. Thus, refastenable side seams may provide significant synergistic benefits in combination with other features related to the article's use in toilet training, particularly a wetness sensation feature and especially one that is visibly highlighted.
Thus, it would be desirable to provide an article that can facilitate urinary toilet training by enhancing a wearer's awareness that urination has occurred by ensuring that the wearer feels an uncomfortable wetness sensation resulting from urination. It would also be desirable to visibly highlight the presence in the article of the feature that provides this wetness sensation to facilitate an opportunity for urinary toilet training. In addition, it would be desirable to provide a disposable absorbent article that provides the garment-like look of training pants and includes refastenable side seams to allow for easy inspection of the interior of the article without the necessity of pulling the article downward to gain access.
A disposable absorbent article including features facilitating toilet training of a wearer is provided. A wetness sensation member provides a wetness sensation on the wearer's skin upon urination. Highlighting that is visible when viewing a body-facing surface of the article may be associatively correlated with the concept of toilet training and indicates the presence of the wetness sensation member in the article while providing a visual reference and topic for conversation relevant to toilet training. Refastenable side seams enable the configuration, application, and removal of the article as a pair of training pants or as a diaper, while providing an appearance like training pants when the article is worn and allowing easy inspection of the interior of the article without the necessity of pulling the article downward. The synergistic effect of each feature in combination with one or more of the other features enhances the usefulness of the article in toilet training.
In the accompanying drawing figures, like reference numerals identify like elements, which may or may not be identical in the several exemplary embodiments that are depicted. Some of the figures may have been simplified by the omission of selected elements for the purpose of more clearly showing other elements. Such omissions of elements in some figures are not necessarily indicative of the presence or absence of particular elements in any of the exemplary embodiments, except as may be explicitly delineated in the corresponding written description.
As used herein, the following terms have the following meanings:
The term “absorbent article” refers to a device that absorbs and contains liquid, and more specifically, refers to a device that is placed against or in proximity to the body of the wearer to absorb and contain the various exudates discharged from the body.
The term “disposable” refers to absorbent articles that generally are not intended to be laundered or otherwise restored or reused as absorbent articles, i.e., they are intended to be discarded after a single use and, preferably, to be recycled, composted or otherwise disposed of in an environmentally compatible manner.
The term “unitary” refers to an absorbent article that is formed of separate parts united together to form a coordinated entity so as to not require separate manipulative parts like a separate holder and liner.
The term “diaper” refers to an absorbent article generally worn by infants and incontinent persons about the lower torso and having the general form of a sheet, different portions of which are fastened together to encircle the waist and the legs of the wearer.
The term “training pants” refers to an absorbent article generally worn by infants and incontinent persons about the lower torso and having the general form of a pair of short pants that can be applied or removed from the wearer without unfastening.
The term “refastenable” refers to the property of two elements being capable of releasable attachment, separation, and subsequent releasable reattachment without substantial permanent deformation or rupture.
The terms “releasably attached,” “releasably engaged”, and variations thereof refer to two elements being connected or connectable such that the elements tend to remain connected absent a separation force applied to one or both of the elements, and the elements being capable of separation without substantial permanent deformation or rupture. The required separation force is typically beyond that encountered while wearing the absorbent garment.
The term “toilet training” refers to the development of continence, which is the ability to voluntarily retain one's urine and feces. Individuals who are incontinent are unable to voluntarily retain their bodily discharges and, instead, urinate and defecate reflexively. For example, newborn babies are incontinent. Coincident with the development of continence, children typically develop the ability to voluntarily urinate and defecate, and cease reflexive elimination. This development of continence and of voluntary elimination, in place of reflexive elimination, may be accelerated and/or guided by caregivers through associative and conditioning techniques of training the child. For the purpose of the present invention, the term “toilet training” is used to denote training both for continence, itself, and for the voluntary elimination that is associated with continence. It is also noted that the term “toilet training” is synonymous with the term “potty training”.
The term “longitudinal” refers to a direction running parallel to the maximum linear dimension of the article and includes directions within ±45° of the longitudinal direction.
The term “lateral” or “transverse” refers to a direction running at a 90 degree angle to the longitudinal direction and includes directions within ±45° of the lateral direction.
The term “x-y plane” refers to the generally planar structure of a sheet material defined by its length and width and lies between the sheet material's two major surfaces regardless of whether or not the sheet material is flat or curved.
The term “z-direction” refers to the direction through the thickness of a sheet material and generally orthogonal to the x-y plane.
The term “disposed” refers to an element being attached and positioned in a particular place or position in a unitary structure with other elements.
The term “attached” refers to elements being connected or united by fastening, adhering, bonding, etc. by any method suitable for the elements being attached together and their constituent materials. Many suitable methods for attaching elements together are well-known, including adhesive bonding, pressure bonding, thermal bonding, mechanical fastening, etc. Such attachment methods may be used to attach elements together over a particular area either continuously or intermittently.
The term “cohesive” refers to the property of a material that sticks to itself but does not to any significant degree stick to other materials.
The terms “proximal” and “distal” refer respectively to the location of an element relatively near to or far from the center of a structure, e.g., the proximal edge of a longitudinally extending element is located nearer to the longitudinal axis than the distal edge of the same element is located relative to the same longitudinal axis.
The terms “interior” and “exterior” refer respectively to the location of an element that is intended to be placed against or toward the body of a wearer when an absorbent article is worn and the location of an element that is intended to be placed against or toward any clothing that is worn over the absorbent article. Synonyms for “interior” and “exterior” include, respectively, “inner” and “outer”, as well as “inside” and “outside”. Also, when the absorbent article is oriented such that its interior faces upward, e.g., when it is laid out in preparation for setting the wearer on top of it, synonyms include “upper” and “lower” and “top” and “bottom”, respectively.
The terms “water-permeable” and “water-impermeable” refer to the penetrability of materials in the context of the intended usage of disposable absorbent articles. Specifically, the term “water-permeable” refers to a layer or a layered structure having pores, openings, and/or interconnected void spaces that permit liquid water to pass through its thickness in the absence of a forcing pressure. Conversely, the term “water-impermeable” refers to a layer or a layered structure through the thickness of which liquid water cannot pass in the absence of a forcing pressure. A layer or a layered structure that is water-impermeable according to this definition may be permeable to water vapor, i.e., may be “water vapor-permeable”. Such a water vapor-permeable layer or layered structure is commonly known in the art as “breathable”. As is well known in the art, a common method for measuring the permeability to water of the materials typically used in absorbent articles is a hydrostatic pressure test, also called a hydrostatic head test or simply a “hydrohead” test. Suitable well known compendial methods for hydrohead testing are approved by INDA (formerly the International Nonwovens and Disposables Association, now The Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry) and EDANA (European Disposables And Nonwovens Association).
The term “retard” refers to the hindrance or the prevention of the flow of liquid water. In the context of the term “flow control layer”, both terms together refer to the fact that different layers in a layered structure may be water-permeable, yet differ in the respective flow rates at which they permit liquid water, and likewise bodily wastes that are aqueous in nature, to pass through their respective thicknesses. For example, a layer containing capillary channels and through whose thickness liquid water wicks in the absence of any forcing pressure is considered to be water-permeable. However, the flow rate at which liquid water can pass through the thickness of such a layer may be lower than the flow rate at which liquid water can pass through the thickness of a layer containing holes that are too large to act as capillary channels. Similarly, two layers both containing capillary channels and through whose thicknesses liquid water wicks in the absence of any forcing pressure are both considered to be water-permeable. However, the capillary channels in one of the layers may differ in size from those in the other layer or may be more numerous than those in the other layer, such that the wicking flow rate of liquid water through the one layer may be greater than that through the other layer. Thus, in a layered structure, one layer serving as a flow control layer may retard the passage of liquid water through the thickness of the layered structure, relative to the greater flow rate at which another of the layers would permit the passage of the liquid water through its thickness in the absence of the flow control layer. It is noted that when the flow control layer is water-impermeable, it effectively prevents the passage of liquid water through its thickness in the absence of a forcing pressure, i.e., the prevention of the passage of liquid water is included within the meaning of the term “retard”.
The term “visible” refers to the quality of being capable of being seen by the naked eye under conditions of normal room lighting or in natural light during the daytime. Becoming “more visible” or “less visible” means changing in visibility to a noticeable extent when viewed under a generally constant or equal lighting condition.
The term “visible highlighting” refers to the visible differentiation of an object such that it noticeably stands out from its surroundings, e.g., by differing in coloration, hue, or tint, by differing in lightness, darkness, or contrast, by differing due to the presence or absence of graphical or solid color forms, or by any other variation serving to create noticeable visible differentiation.
The term “coloring” refers to the effect produced by applying or combining colors in and/or on an object or a portion of an object.
The term “coloration” refers to the arrangement or degree of coloring especially when used to visibly differentiate an object or a portion of an object in order to visibly highlight it.
The term “solid coloring” refers to the unbroken, i.e., uninterrupted, coloring of an area as contrasted with the discrete line-like form of some graphics.
The term “graphic” refers to a product of graphic art or a graphic representation in a pictorial form.
The term “associative correlation” refers to establishing a mutual or reciprocal relation between the visible highlighting and that with which it is being associatively correlated so that an association, i.e. a mental connection or bond, is formed between the two. This term is used in the context of associatively correlating the respective visible forms of the visible highlighting and an externally visible marking in or on the absorbent article as well as in the context of associatively correlating the visible highlighting with the concept of urinary toilet training, For example, associatively correlated graphics may serve in concert to draw attention to an opportunity for urinary toilet training when an absorbent article is viewed prior to its being worn, to provide an externally visible reminder of the presence of the wetness sensation member in the interior of the absorbent article while it is being worn, etc. Similarly, visible highlighting that provides a visual reference to a topic related to urinary toilet training, such as dryness, wetness, or protection from wetness, may serve to associatively correlate the visible highlighting to the concept of urinary toilet training and thereby facilitate an opportunity for urinary toilet training.
The terms “interactively interrelated”, “interactively unrelated”, “related in subject matter”, “unrelated in subject matter”, and “related by a common story line” are intended to have the same meanings as in U.S. Pat. No. 6,297,424 issued to Olson et al. on 2 Oct. 2001, U.S. Pat. No. 6,635,797 issued to Olson, et al. on 21 Oct. 2003, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,307,119 issued to Cammarota et al. on 23 Oct. 2001.
The disposable absorbent article 20 preferably comprises a water-permeable topsheet 24, a water-impermeable backsheet 26, and an absorbent core 28 encased between the topsheet 24 and the backsheet 26. The topsheet 24 may be fully or partially elasticated or may be foreshortened so as to provide a void space between the topsheet 24 and the core 28 and/or to tend to draw the wetness sensation member 50 against the skin of the wearer. Exemplary structures including elasticized or foreshortened topsheets are described in more detail in U.S. Pat. No. 4,892,536 issued to DesMarais et al. on Jan. 9, 1990, U.S. Pat. No. 4,990,147 issued to Freeland on Feb. 5, 1991, U.S. Pat. No. 5,037,416 issued to Allen et al. on Aug. 6, 1991, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,269,775 issued to Freeland et al. on Dec. 14, 1993.
The disposable absorbent article 20 may include a variety of features known in the art, such as outer leg cuffs, barrier leg cuffs, front and rear ear panels, waist cap features, elastics, and the like to provide desired fit, containment, and aesthetic characteristics. Such additional features are well known in the art and are described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,860,003 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,151,092, among others.
The disposable absorbent article 20 includes refastenable side seams 40 that can be used to fasten the waist regions together at the sides to apply the article like a diaper and that can also be used to configure the article like a pair of pull-on training pants, as described in more detail below.
The disposable absorbent article 20 includes a wetness sensation member. Several suitable structures for a wetness sensation member are described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,627,786 issued on 30 Sep. 2003 in the name of Roe et al. An exemplary wetness sensation member is shown in
During insults of urine, the water-permeable layer allows urine to penetrate in the z-direction and also provides a medium for the flow of urine in the x-y plane via wicking. The flow control layer retards the passage of the urine through the wetness sensation member in the z-direction, thereby expanding the wetted area of the wetness sensation member, which preferably is held in contact with the wearer's skin. The combination of limited penetration in the z-direction and wicking in the x-y plane causes the urine to spread out and effectively wet a large area before being absorbed into the absorbent core, thereby maximizing the wetness signal experienced by the wearer.
Exemplary water-permeable layers suitable for use in the wetness sensation members of the present invention include nonwovens, foams, woven materials, etc. The water-permeable layer is preferably hydrophilic. Exemplary flow control layers suitable for use in the wetness sensation members of the present invention include polyolefinic films, microporous or breathable films, other films, and hydrophobic nonwovens. Suitable hydrophobic nonwovens include SM (spunbond meltblown), SMS (spunbond meltblown spunbond), and SMMS (spunbond meltblown meltblown spunbond) composites.
In the absorbent articles of the present invention, visible highlighting may be provided in the interior of the article to indicate the presence of the wetness sensation member or members and thereby facilitate an opportunity for the urinary toilet training of the wearer of the article. Such visible highlighting is described in co-pending and commonly assigned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/697,225 filed on 30 Oct. 2003 in the name of Davis et al. Although a wetness sensation member lacking this visible highlighting is fully functional in terms of providing a noticeable wetness signal to the wearer, the caregiver might overlook or forget the possibility of capitalizing on each opportunity for urinary toilet training if the body-facing portion of the absorbent article presents a generally uniform appearance, such as in absorbent articles that present a generally uniform white appearance on their body-facing surfaces.
Furthermore, once the caregiver decides to mention urinary toilet training to the wearer, the visible highlighting can serve to draw the wearer's interest or can be pointed out by the caregiver and incorporated into an explanation of the upcoming opportunity. Thus, the visible highlighting can provide a topic for conversation between the caregiver and the wearer on the subject of urinary toilet training and can likewise provide a nameable object for reference by the wearer, greatly simplifying the mental task required of the wearer who desires to communicate his or her need to go to the toilet or to communicate his or her improving recognition of the wetness signal provided by the wetness sensation member.
Even a simple solid coloring form of visible highlighting can serve to facilitate an opportunity for urinary toilet training, especially when used with wearers possessing some recognition of colors or colored forms. In addition, visible highlighting in the form of a color or colors may facilitate the teaching of recognition of colors and differences between colors, and the associated learning may enhance the urinary toilet training process in turn.
Because it is located in what may be generally termed the laterally central region of the absorbent article, visibly highlighting the wetness sensation member may provide additional benefits related to the learning achieved by the wearer. For example, a visibly highlighted wetness sensation member may provide a line of reference for the visual separation of the two leg openings, including their differentiation into right and left leg openings for the respective feet to be inserted into the corresponding leg openings. Similarly, a longitudinally oriented visible highlighting may serve as a visual reference for the front to back direction, both for orienting the article prior to applying it, if done by the caregiver, or prior to donning it, if done by the wearer. This longitudinally oriented visual reference may also aid in the teaching of such skills as wiping one's self clean after using the toilet by using a longitudinal motion. The concept of something being central or “in the middle” may be taught and learned by visual reference to the visible highlighting and this concept may then be applied to related subjects, such as the anatomical location of the source of urine and the corresponding proper position in which to sit on the toilet. Thus, in the above and similar ways, the wearer can be made more aware of his or her own body, which may tend to enhance and facilitate the urinary toilet training experience.
In addition, the visible highlighting can serve to enhance the self-esteem of the wearer through a reminder that he or she is mature enough to be engaged in urinary toilet training. This effect can be compounded when the wearer succeeds in recognizing the need to go to the toilet and then sees the dry condition of the visibly highlighted wetness sensation member inside the article after pulling it down.
The visible highlighting may be provided by means of printing onto a surface of the wetness sensation member or one of its layers. For example, solid coloring or a graphic may be printed onto a surface of the flow control layer underlying the water-permeable layer. As another example, an adhesive or a gel may be printed onto a surface of either of the two layers. Such an adhesive or gel may be colored differently from the surrounding area. Alternatively, the adhesive or gel may be uncolored or may have the same color as the surrounding area, but may still provide visible highlighting by forming a distinctive raised area or pattern and/or by surrounding a distinctive recessed area or pattern.
The visible highlighting may also be provided by forming one or more layers of the wetness sensation member of a colored material, for example, a fibrous layer containing colored fibers, a monolithic layer containing a dispersed or imbedded colorant, a layer of an unbleached material that is colored in its virgin state, and so on.
In some embodiments, the visible highlighting may be provided by impressing or embossing the wetness sensation member or one of it layers. The impressed, embossed, or bonded portions of the wetness sensation member may provide a tactile sensation in addition to visibly highlighting the presence and location of the wetness sensation member. For instance, a raised area or a recessed area or the combination of raised and recessed areas adjacent to each other may be felt by the hand and, in some embodiments, may be felt by the wearer while wearing the article. Similarly, the raised area or pattern formed by a printed adhesive or gel, as mentioned above, may provide such a tactile sensation. Just as with the visible highlighting alone, the combination of visible highlighting and this tactile sensation can serve to draw the wearer's interest or can be pointed out by the caregiver and incorporated into an explanation of the upcoming opportunity for urinary toilet training.
In addition, the visible highlighting may be provided by incorporating distinctive fibers or filaments in one or both layers of the wetness sensation member or by distinctively orienting fibers or filaments in one of these layers. For example, a fiber or a filament of a distinctive color may be incorporated into the flow control material to visibly highlight its presence and its location in the article. Similarly, a distinctively thicker fiber or filament may be embedded in one of the two layers and thereby form a distinctive raised area or pattern.
If the portions of the structure of the absorbent article surrounding the wetness sensation member are of one color, the visible highlighting can be provided by the use of another color, by the use of contrast, by the use of a different pattern in the same or a similar color, or by any other method that visibly differentiates the wetness sensation member from the surrounding structural elements.
In some embodiments, the visible highlighting may include more than one color, more than one difference in contrast, more than one pattern, more than one graphic; more than one area of solid coloring, and so on, such that all portions of this description referring to the singular of a form of visible highlighting are meant to include the plural, and vice versa.
The visible highlighting may include open or closed geometric figures, a two dimensional representation of a three dimensional object, a representation of a commonly named or nameable shape or object, a representation of a recognizable object used in play, and/or a representation of a character that may be known to the wearer, such as a teddy bear, a character appearing on a television show for children, a character appearing in a game or a storybook for children, etc. In embodiments in which the visible highlighting includes a variety of figures, objects, and/or characters, the various elements of the visible highlighting may be interactively interrelated, related by subject matter, and/or related by a common story line. Conversely, the various elements may be interactively unrelated, unrelated by subject matter, and/or not related by a common story line.
When solid coloring is used, it may partially or completely fill the area bounded by a graphic outline, appear as shading inside or outside such a graphic outline, itself form a “filled-in” graphic, or simply uninterruptedly occupy an area, e.g., occupy the entire width of a layer of the wetness sensation member over all or a portion of the corresponding length.
In some embodiments, the visible highlighting may become more or less visible when the wetness sensation member is wetted. In addition, the visible highlighting may change color when the wetness sensation member is wetted. Any of these effects may be created by the use of inks or dyes or other agents that undergo chemical reactions or are dispersed or concentrated when wetted by urine. In general, any of the wetness indicating compositions commonly used in externally visible wetness indicators, such as so-called “appearing” or “disappearing” wetness indicators that may become more or less visible when wetted and in wetness indicators that may change color when wetted, may be used for these versions of visible highlighting.
It is important to note that rather than being structurally disposed in such a way as to provide a wetness indication that is visible from the outside of the absorbent article, any wetness indicating compositions used for the visible highlighting of the wetness sensation member must be visible from the body-facing surface of the absorbent article. This different disposition enables the caregiver to apply different techniques to the task of urinary toilet training when using an absorbent article of the present invention, as compared to using an absorbent article having only a wetness indicator visible from the outside of the article. For example, while the change in an exterior wetness indicator is visible for all to see, any change in the visible highlighting of an interior wetness sensation member remains “private” until either the caregiver or the wearer peers into the absorbent article or it is removed. Therefore, whether or not any wetting of the absorbent article has occurred can, itself, become the focus of a playful activity resembling a game, with the “secret” being revealed only when the caregiver and the wearer agree to conclude the game. If the wearer notices a sensation of wetness or merely desires to check the condition of the “private” indication, he or she can simply look inside the absorbent article. If the appearance of the visible highlighting has changed, the wearer can then choose to bring this to the attention of the caregiver in the context of asking to go to the bathroom. In addition, because the visible highlighting serves as a “private” indication, the wearer might be able to detect a change in its appearance before the appearance of any externally visible wetness indicator changes and thereby be the first person to mention the subject of going to the toilet. Furthermore, the provision of both visual and tactile sensations to the wearer may serve to reinforce the tactile sensation of wetness and thereby enhance the training effect of the wetness sensation member. An absorbent article in which the wetting is indicated by both a wetness sensation and a visible change in the appearance of the visible highlighting may thus facilitate faster learning on the part of the wearer.
Although the appearance of the visible highlighting remains “private” until either the caregiver or the wearer peers into the absorbent article or it is removed, the visible highlighting may be associatively correlated in visible form with marking that is located elsewhere in or on the absorbent article and is visible from the outside of the absorbent article. This externally visible marking may be permanent or may change in appearance while the absorbent article is being worn. For example, the externally visible marking may be an externally visible wetness indicator. By giving the visible highlighting of the wetness sensation member a visible form that is similar to the visible form of an externally visible marking, an opportunity for urinary toilet training may be enhanced. For instance, the caregiver can point out the similarity between the externally visible marking and the “private” visible highlighting of the wetness sensation member and ask the wearer to remember the hidden visible highlighting every time he or she notices the externally visible marking.
Even in embodiments in which the appearance of the visible highlighting is not affected by its being wetted, the associative correlation of the respective visible forms of an externally visible marking and the visible highlighting may serve to facilitate an opportunity for urinary toilet training. For example, if both the externally visible marking and the visible highlighting have the visible form of similar graphics, the externally visible marking can serve to draw the wearer's interest or can be pointed out by the caregiver and incorporated into an explanation of the ongoing opportunity for urinary toilet training.
Such associative correlation of the respective visible forms of an externally visible marking and the visible highlighting can be achieved without the respective visible forms being similar, so long as the respective visible forms are mutually related in a recognizable way. For example, the visible forms may be related in subject matter and/or may be related by a common story line and/or be interactively interrelated. Even an associative correlation of a simple solid coloring form of an externally visible marking with a similar solid coloring form of visible highlighting can serve to facilitate an opportunity for urinary toilet training, especially when used with wearers possessing some recognition of colors or colored forms.
Alternatively, the visible highlighting may be associatively uncorrelated with any externally visible marking. The lack of associative correlation may be complete or may be specific, e.g., the respective visible forms of the visible highlighting and the externally visible marking may be unrelated in subject matter, not related by a common story line, and/or interactively unrelated, while still being associatively correlated in another way.
The visible form of the visible highlighting of the wetness sensation member need not be associatively correlated with the concept of urinary toilet training. However, in some embodiments, the visible form of the visible highlighting may be associatively correlated with the concept of urinary toilet training by, for example, providing a visual reference to the liquid-related nature of urinary toilet training, such as wetness, dryness, protection from wetness, the flow of a liquid, water, et cetera, and thus may serve to facilitate an opportunity for urinary toilet training.
The visible highlighting may emphasize dryness by depicting the sun, fair weather clouds, a sunny day, etc., while wetness may be referenced by a depiction of a water puddle, a cloud with falling rain, etc. A visual reference to protection from wetness may be provided by a depiction of an umbrella, a raincoat, a rain hat, galoshes, a submarine, or some other object that may be associated by the wearer with the concept of staying dry in a wet environment.
In any of these visible forms of visible highlighting that are associatively correlated with the concept of urinary toilet training, a human form and/or a recognizable character may be depicted in the visible highlighting. For example, a child may be shown in conjunction with inanimate objects, a child may be shown sitting on a potty chair, and/or a character from a children's storybook or a children's television program may be shown in similar poses, etc.
The wetness sensation member according to the present invention may be arranged in an absorbent article in a variety of configurations. In addition, absorbent articles may include a single wetness sensation member or a plurality of wetness sensation members. In any event, the wetness sensation member(s) are preferably a part of, or attached to, an element or web, such as a topsheet, which is reliably held against the skin of the wearer. The wetness sensation member may extend over a portion of the disposable absorbent article spanning less than one half of the length of the article or else extend over a substantial part of the article spanning more than one half the length of the article. In addition, the wetness sensation member(s) are preferably positioned within the absorbent article to enhance the likelihood of being wetted with urine.
An exemplary embodiment of a disposable absorbent article 20 including a wetness sensation member 50 disposed with the topsheet 24 is illustrated in
In an embodiment illustrated in
In an alternate embodiment shown in
Absorbent articles according to the present invention may include a plurality of wetness sensation members disposed on the body-facing surface of the article. An example of an embodiment providing a plurality of wetness sensation members is shown in
As shown in
In another alternate embodiment shown in
In order to prevent the portion of the topsheet between the Z-folds from being forced into the gluteal groove and from interfering with the barrier leg cuffs, which are not shown in
As an alternative to a portion of the topsheet serving as a layer of a wetness sensation member, other components of the disposable absorbent article such as the barrier leg cuffs may serve as such a layer. The barrier leg cuffs may be made from either water-permeable or water-impermeable material. In either case, the barrier leg cuff material may serve as one of the layers of the wetness sensation member. In such exemplary embodiments, the structure of the barrier leg cuffs preferably holds the wetness sensation members in contact with the skin of the wearer to provide the sensation of wetness against the wearer's legs and/or crotch crease.
An exemplary embodiment in which barrier leg cuffs serve as layers of the wetness sensation members is shown in
Another exemplary embodiment in which barrier leg cuffs serve as layers of the wetness sensation members is shown in
The embodiments of wetness sensation members disclosed hereunder perform most effectively when held in contact with the skin of the wearer. In order to ensure that contact is made with the wearer's skin during use, the body-facing portion of the wetness sensation members may include a body-adhering composition, such as a topical adhesive, which acts to hold the wetness sensation member in place during use. The body-adhering composition may be applied to at least a portion of the body-facing surface of the wetness sensation member. However, the body-adhering composition may also be integral with the material making up the body-facing layer of the wetness sensation member. Further, the body-adhering composition may be disposed on any portion of the wetness sensation member contacting the skin of the wearer in any pattern or configuration including, but not limited to lines, stripes, dots, and the like. Such a body-adhering composition may include any of one or more substances capable of releasably adhering to the skin of the wearer, such as those disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,231,369, 4,593,053, 4,699,146, 4,738,257, 5,726,250, 4,078,568, 4,140,115, 4,192,785, 4,393,080, 4,505,976, 4,551,490, 4,768,503, 5,614,586, and 5,674,275, and in the PCT Application published as WO 94/13235A1.
As previously mentioned, the disposable absorbent article 20 includes refastenable side seams that can be used to fasten the waist regions together at the sides to apply the article like a diaper onto the body of the wearer and that can also be used to configure the article like a pair of pull-on training pants. These refastenable side seams provide several benefits including the significant synergistic benefits related to the article's use in toilet training that are described above. The refastenable side seams can be fastened by the user before the article is applied onto the body of the wearer and the article can then be applied like a pair of pull-on training pants. The refastenable side seams can be opened and refastened after the article is applied onto the body of the wearer in order to gain access for the inspection of the interior of the article and/or to adjust its configuration while being worn. Of course, the side seams can also be opened for the ultimate removal of the article for disposal, as an alternative to leaving the article in the form of a pair of training pants and pulling it downward over the legs and feet for removal.
The refastenable side seams also facilitate the pre-configuration of the article in the form of a pair of training pants prior to the point of sale to the consumer, if such a pre-fastened presentation is desired by the manufacturer, distributor, and/or retailer, while still providing the user with the alternative of opening the side seams in preparation for applying the article like a diaper. For example, several like disposable absorbent articles of the present invention may be pre-configured by fastening their side seams and then packaged together for shipment and subsequent sale. The packaging may take any desired form, e.g., a stack of folded articles contained inside a sealed film bag, a stack of folded articles inside a closed carton, or any other form of a number of articles contained inside a closed container. When the user removes each pre-fastened article from the package and prepares to use it, he or she can decide whether to apply it while the side seam is still fastened, i.e., while remaining configured as a pair of training pants, or to open the side seams and apply the article as a diaper by refastening the side seams after properly positioning the article relative to the wearer's body. Thus, regardless of whether or not the articles inside the package are pre-fastened, the user is provided with the option of applying each article having refastenable side seams as a pair of training pants or as an open diaper that must then be fastened at the side seams.
Some existing disposable absorbent articles have refastenable side seams. However, some older children, such as those of toilet training age, may be able to open conventional refastenable side seams and thereby remove a disposable absorbent article. A child may intentionally attempt to remove the article or may simply manipulate the refastenable side seams and inadvertently remove the article. Therefore, it may be desirable to include elements that restrict access to the refastenable side seams and/or that make the opening of the side seams relatively more difficult than the opening of conventional refastenable side seams in order to help protect against the opening of the side seams by the child while allowing an adult caregiver to open and refasten the side seams at will.
An example of refastenable side seams 40 is shown in
The primary fastening component may be formed of any material and in any form that will releasably attach to the mating surface of the opposing waist region when pressed against it. For example, the primary fastening component may be a mechanical fastener that releasably engages with the mating surface, such as by means of a plurality of hooks engaging with loops formed by fibers in a nonwoven sheet. Alternatively, the primary fastening component may be an adhesive that releasably adheres to the mating surface.
As described in more detail below, the primary fastening component may also interact with a discrete mating fastening component. For example, a mechanical primary fastening component containing hooks may engage with a discrete mating fastening component containing loops. Similarly, an adhesive primary fastening component may adhere to a discrete mating fastening sheet that is specifically selected for good adhesion. Also similarly, a cohesive primary fastening component may cohere to a mating cohesive fastening component. Each of the fastening components may have any suitable shape, such as rectangular, circular, ovaloid, undulating, etc. The shape may be chosen according to various criteria, such as to maximize or minimize the area of the fastening component, to impart a particular appearance to the fastening component, to distribute the stresses and forces to which the fastening component is subjected when the article is worn in a particular way, etc.
Another example of refastenable side seams is shown in
When both primary fastening components and discrete mating fastening components are present, their disposition relative to the interior and exterior of the disposable absorbent article is generally interchangeable, i.e., they may be disposed as shown in
In the exemplary embodiment shown in
Alternatively or in addition, a secondary fastening component may be disposed between the primary fastening component and the adjacent waist edge and/or between the primary fastening component and the crotch region. Such a longitudinally adjacent disposition of the secondary fastening component relative to the primary fastener in the fastened side seam may more effectively restrict the access to the primary fastener than only a laterally adjacent disposition. Also, the secondary fastening component may be disposed both laterally adjacent and longitudinally adjacent to the primary fastener. For example, the secondary fastening component 46 shown in
The secondary fastening component may be formed of any material that is suitable for the primary fastening component. In some embodiments, the secondary fastening components may be formed of a different material from the primary fastening component in order to take advantage of the unique properties of different materials. For example, a mechanical fastener may be used for the primary fastening component in order to provide sufficient shear strength when fastened to resist the hoop forces to which the waist regions are subjected when the disposable absorbent article is worn. An adhesive may be used for the corresponding secondary fastening component because the mechanical fastener resists substantially all of the shear forces and the only force exerted on the secondary fastening component is a peel force that is applied when the caregiver desires to gain access to the primary fastening component. The secondary fastening component is preferably refastenable after being opened, so that it can continue to be used to restrict access to the primary fastening component after the latter has been opened and refastened.
Another example of refastenable side seams is shown in
As shown in
As can be understood by reference to
As noted above, the secondary fastening components may be formed of any material that is suitable for the primary fastening components and/or may be formed of a different material from the primary fastening components in order to take advantage of the unique properties of different materials. In addition, in at least the embodiment shown in
Several forms of refastenable side seams, the fastening components forming them, and the materials that are suitable for forming them are described in U.S. Patent Application Publication U.S. 2003/0060794 published on 27 Mar. 2003 in the name of Olson. Processes for forming refastenable side fasteners and for protecting them during manufacturing and packaging are described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,428,526 issued on 6 Aug. 2002 in the name of Heindel et al. Among several alternatives, such side seams, fastening components, materials, and processes may be used to produce the disposable absorbent articles of the present invention.
The disclosures of all patents, patent applications, and any patents which issue thereon, as well as any corresponding published foreign patent applications, and all publications listed and/or referenced in this application, are hereby incorporated herein by reference. It is expressly not admitted, however, that any of the documents or any combination of the documents incorporated herein by reference teaches or discloses the present invention.
While particular embodiments and/or individual features of the present invention have been illustrated and described, it would be obvious to those skilled in the art that various other changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Further, it should be apparent that all combinations of such embodiments and features are possible and can result in preferred executions of the invention. Therefore, the appended claims are intended to cover all such changes and modifications that are within the scope of this invention.
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|U.S. Classification||604/361, 604/391|
|International Classification||A61F13/56, A61F13/42, A61F13/15|
|Cooperative Classification||A61F13/15, A61F13/53704, A61F13/42, A61F13/5622, A61F13/53717, A61F13/551, A61F2013/8497|
|European Classification||A61F13/551, A61F13/15, A61F13/537A, A61F13/537B4, A61F13/56C, A61F13/42|
|Apr 28, 2004||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY, THE, OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:VARGO, DEBORAH ANN;PATEL, KEN K.;REEL/FRAME:014575/0789;SIGNING DATES FROM 20040416 TO 20040423