US 20060236461 A1
An inflatable playpen has a base with shaped welds, an inflatable wall, and optionally a cover. At least one of the shaped welds has an interior portion removed. The inflatable wall has a plurality of rings. The rings are oriented so that their centers are substantially collinear. Each ring in the wall may be an air chamber. The cover has a securing means to keep it secured snugly to the base and wall of the inflatable playpen.
1. An inflatable child containment device comprising:
a base, the base having at least one inflatable chamber and a plurality of shaped welds, at least one shaped weld having an interior portion removed; and
an inflatable wall connected to the base.
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20. An inflatable child containment device comprising a base, the base having at least one inflatable chamber, a plurality of shaped welds, at least one shaped weld having an interior portion removed, and openings for straps to pass through; an inflatable wall connected to the base, the wall having a plurality of contiguous rings, each ring having a plurality of air chambers, the rings oriented so that their centers are substantially collinear; and a cover, the cover having an edge, a drawstring movably affixed to the edge to change the size of the perimeter of the edge, straps connected to the cover, and Velcro tabs connected to the cover and connectable to the straps.
The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provision Application No. 60/653,774, Filed Feb. 17, 2005.
The present invention generally relates to a playpen. More particularly, the present invention relates to an inflatable playpen.
Playpens are used by parents and childcare providers to confine and monitor children in a safe and enclosed location that insulates the children from undesired or dangerous environments. Playpens also restrict objects children have access to so that potentially harmful objects are avoided.
Traditional playpens have walls, a frame, and a base primarily made of wood, metal, or plastic. These play pens have the problems of being heavy, immobile, difficult and time consuming to assemble, and rigid.
Playpens made from wood, metal, or rigid plastic can be very heavy. A parent or childcare provider wishing to relocate such a playpen is typically unable to do so because it is too heavy. Playpens made out of wood, metal, or plastic are also rigid and have a fixed shape. A parent or childcare provider wishing to relocate such a playpen is typically unable to do so because the rigid shape of the playpen often does not allow it to fit through doors or other relatively small openings.
Current playpens made out of wood, metal, or rigid plastic are also difficult and time-consuming to assemble. A parent or childcare provider may not have the time, tools, or necessary technical skills to disassemble and later reassemble the playpen. Difficult and time-consuming assembly requires the attention of the person assembling the playpen, causing the parent or childcare provider to stop paying attention to the child, who is no longer confined to a playpen. Leaving a child unattended and unconfined is potentially dangerous for the child.
Playpens made out of wood, metal, or rigid plastic contain hard walls, posts, or bases. Very young children often have limited ability to maintain their balance and stand upright, causing them to fall frequently. If a child falls into a hard wood, metal, or plastic wall, post, or base of a playpen, the child could be injured.
Other types of playpens include inflatable playpens. Current inflatable playpens are susceptible to being punctured or otherwise developing holes that allow air to escape and the playpen to deflate. This is dangerous because a deflated playpen will no longer confine the child. The unconfined child is free to leave the playpen and encounter dangerous objects and environments.
Current inflatable playpens have components such as a base and walls made out of single air chambers. These playpens have the problem of completely deflating when any portion of the air chamber is punctured or deflates. This is dangerous because a single puncture would deflate the entire play pen.
Present inflatable playpens have bases that do not allow air to pass through them. Instead, air pockets can become trapped beneath the base of a current inflatable playpen. These air pockets can cause the playpen to become unstable and potentially tip over. This is problematic because if the playpen tips over it could injure the child or allow the child to leave the playpen and get hurt.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,104,750 to Kelter et. al. discloses an inflatable crib with four separate and distinct walls and an inflatable base without any way for air to pass through the base.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,815,153 to Bleser et. al. discloses an inflatable playpen with an inflatable mattress and columns constituting a single air chamber.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,819,284 to Brown discloses an inflatable crib formed by an inflatable base, independently inflatable side walls and a screen-like webbing connecting each side wall to the base portion.
All these patents suffer from the same defect. If any one of the walls becomes deflated a child can leave the crib and encounter danger. Even a single wall deflating could make the crib unstable, allowing the child to tip it over, potentially injuring the child. Without any way for air to pass through the base air pockets are trapped underneath the base, potentially causing the crib to become unstable and dangerous.
Current playpens get dirty easily and are difficult to clean. At times children may eat or drink in a playpen. This can cause the playpen to get dirty and sticky. Additionally, when a playpen is located outdoors where there is dirt and other debris that can cause the playpen to get dirty. Currently it is necessary to clean playpens by hand, which is difficult and time-consuming.
A preferred embodiment of the present invention provides an inflatable playpen with an inflatable base, the base having shaped welds, at least one of the shaped welds having an interior portion removed. This preferred embodiment also has an inflatable wall made up of a number of connected rings that each have a separate air chamber. The base of the playpen is connected to the ring closest to it. The inflatable playpen in this preferred embodiment also has a cover with an opening that can fit snugly around the base and the walls. The multiple air chambers in the rings making up the wall prevents any one leak of hole from causing the wall to deflate. If the wall deflated, it would be problematic because a child put in the playpen would no longer be confined to the playpen. The cover can be removed and easily washed. This is beneficial because playpens get dirty frequently.
These and other features of the present invention are discussed or apparent in the following detailed description.
To construct inflatable playpen 100, an outer edge of base 110 is connected to inflatable wall 120. In base 110, upper sheet 402 and lower sheet 404 (as shown in
In operation, welds 114 help base 110 maintain its shape. Welds 114 also help stabilize base 110 and maintain a substantially uniform distribution of air in inflatable chamber 112. This cushion of air in base 110 helps protect children in playpen 100 from injury when playpen 100 is placed on a hard surface. At least one shaped weld has its interior portion 116 removed, allowing air to move from beneath playpen 100 through base 110. Preferably a plurality of shaped welds have their interior portions removed 116, and are configured in a grid formation. This prevents pockets of air from getting trapped under playpen 100 causing it to become unstable. Inflatable wall 120 confines a child placed in playpen 100. The multiple rings 122 of wall 120 create a barrier that keeps the child in playpen 100.
Several alternatives exist to the embodiment of the invention described above and shown in
In one embodiment, an outer edge of base 310 is connected to inflatable wall 320, and cover 330 is constructed to formfit around base 310 and wall 320. In base 310, upper sheet 402 and lower sheet 404 are connected by welds 314. This creates inflatable chamber 312. In one embodiment, holes through the upper sheet 402 and lower sheet 404 of base 310 in interior portions of welds create shaped welds having an interior portion removed 316. In one embodiment, holes through the upper and lower sheets of base 310 create openings 318 for securing means 334. In one embodiment, openings 318 for securing means 334 are located on base 310 near wall 320. Rings 322 are connected together forming and inflatable wall, and base 310 is connected to the ring 322 closest to it. In cover 330, drawstrings 332, securing means 334, and Velcro™ tabs 336 are connected to cover 330. Securing means 334 are oriented so that they can pass through openings 318 and partially connect to Velcro™ tabs 336.
In one embodiment, playpen 300, base 310, inflatable chamber 312, welds 314, shaped welds having an interior portion removed 316, inflatable wall 320, and rings 322 operate as described above with reference to
In another embodiment shaped welds having an interior portion removed 316 let air pass out of the enclosure formed between base 310, wall 320 and cover 330. This prevents air from getting trapped between base 310, wall 320 and cover 330, and makes cover 330 formfitting to wall 320 and base 310. Drawstrings 332, securing means 334, and Velcro™ tabs 336 also make cover 330 formfitting. Drawstrings 332 can be tightened to make the opening 338 in cover 330 smaller than base 310, thereby securing cover 330 snugly to base 310 and wall 320. Securing means 334 can pass through openings 318 and attach to Velcro™ tabs 336 to secure cover 330 to base 310 and wall 320. This also makes cover 330 formfitting to base 310 and wall 320. Cover 330 is easily removed and cleaned by, for example, washing it in a washing machine. This makes playpen 300 easy to keep clean and sanitary.
In one embodiment, the shape and placement of welds 314 and welds having an interior portion removed 316 are different. In one embodiment, welds 314 and welds having an interior portion removed 316 are shapes other than circles, such as ovals, squares, diamonds, rectangles, or starts. In another embodiment, welds 314 and welds having an interior portion removed 316 are arranged differently. The number of rings 322 in inflatable wall 320 may also vary. In one embodiment, each ring 322 is an air chamber distinct from each other ring 322. In another embodiment, rings 322 each have multiple air chambers. The number of air chambers in base 310 may vary. In one embodiment, base 310 has multiple air chambers. In one embodiment, base 310 has parallel inflatable chambers 312. In another embodiment base 310 has inflatable chambers 312 that are concentric circles.
There are numerous ways cover 330 can be secured to base 310 and wall 320. Cover 330 may also be secured to base 310 or wall 320 using ties, buttons, snaps, hooks, clamps, zippers, or the like. Openings 318 for securing means 334 may also be in different locations on either base 310 or wall 320. In one embodiment, Velcro™ tabs 336 are replaced by other fastening devices such as buttons, snaps, hooks, clamps, or the like. In another embodiment, the securing means 334 are ties, and the ends of the ties are tied together after they pass through openings 318 or other holes.
In one embodiment, the shape and placement of welds 414 and welds having an interior portion removed 416 are different. In another embodiment welds 414 and welds having an interior portion removed 416 are shapes other than circles, such as squares, ovals, diamonds, rectangles, stars, hexagons, octagons, polygons, or the like. In one embodiment, welds 414 and welds having an interior portion removed 416 are arranged in different patterns.
While particular elements, embodiments and applications of the present invention have been shown and described, it is understood that the invention is not limited thereto since modifications may be made by those skilled in the art, particularly in light of the foregoing teaching. It is therefore contemplated by the appended claims to cover such modifications and incorporate those features which come within the spirit and scope of the invention.