US 3323147 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 1967 R. F. VAN DEAN INFLATABLE BASSINBTS Filed 001;. 20, 1965 lNl/ENTOR R.F. VAN DEAN BY v \OOOOOOOOOO O-OOOOQOOOJO ATTORNEY United States Patent C) Filed Oct. 20, 1965, Ser. No. 498,617 2 Claims. (Cl. 5-98) This invention relates to sleeping enclosures for infants and, more particularly, to inflatable cribs or bassinets as portable infant sleeping accommodations.
Heretofore proposed portable cribs and bassinets have had the disadvantages of being relatively heavy, bulky and difficult to handle, even when in the folded or collapsed condition. This is mainly due to the rigid support members required to support the structure when in the erected condition. Moreover, the sharp, rigid members required for these articles sometimes become hazardous, not only to the infant in the bassinets, but also to others, adjacent to or attempting to manipulate the article.
It is an object of the present invention to increase the ease with which portable bassin-ets may be used and, at the same time, to reduce the hazards involved in such use.
It is another object of the invention to reduce the weight and bulk of portable infant enclosures while at the same time to simplify the erection and use of such enclosures.
In accordance with the present invention, these and other objects are achieved in a unitary, inflatable infant enclosure of a size and shape suitable to infant sleeping quarters. The sleeping enclosure in accordance with the invention includes at least a base or bottom panel, forming the mattress for the infant to lie on, and side panels suitable for completely or partially enclosing the bottom panel andthereby enclosing the sleeping infant. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the unitary structure also includes a sunshade or hood panel, together with supporting side panels, arranged to be supported above at least a portion of the bottom or mattress panel and thereby serving to block direct sunlight from the occupant of the enclosure.
In further accord with the present invention, the bottom or mattress panel and at least portionsof some of the side and end panels are constructed of at least two sheets of flexible, air-impervious material, secured together so as to define therebetween closed, air-retaining chambers. The bottom or mattress panel, when inflated with air under pressure, thereby forms a resilient surface for the occupant. The inflated portions of the side and end panels serve to support these panels and any sun hood in appropriate relationship to the mattress, thereby completing the enclosure.
A major feature of the present invention is the unitary structure of the inflatable bassinet which, when in the collapsed condition, can be folded into an extremely small and compact size for storage in pocket or purse, and when inflated, forms a comfortable, safe sleeping enclosure for infants without any hazardous sharp, rigid support elements. Moreover, the inflated bottom and side panels provide an extremely effective cushion against shock in the event of a catastrophe such as an automobile accident. Not only is the infant protected, but other persons near or adjacent to the inflated bassinet are also protected from harm inflicted by sharp or rigid structural members.
In one preferred embodiment of the invention, the unitary structure comprises a substantially flat bottom panel having substantially flat side and end panels permanently attached along the edges of the bottom panel and disposed to lie flat in the same plane as the bottom panel. Means are provided to fasten temporarily the adjacent edges of the side and end panels at right angles to the bottom panel. In the collapsed condition, this structure may be easily cleaned and easily folded into a neat, compact package. In the inflated condition, temporary fastenings such as zippers, snaps, buttons or ties are used to complete the erection of the bassinet.
In accordance with another feature of the present invention, the air chambers are divided into two or more sections, each separate and noncommunicating with the others in an air flow sense, but yet so closely and intimately arranged in a special sense that each separate chamber provides structural support for the entire bassinet. A puncture in any one of these chambers therefore does not result in the collapse of the bassinet since the remaining chamber or chambers are adequate by themselves to support the structure.
These and other objects and features, the nature of the present invention and its various advantages, will be more readily understood upon consideration of the attached drawings and of the following detailed description of the drawings.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of an inflatable bassinet in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the inflated and erected bassinet shown in plan View in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a plan View of another inflatable bassinet in accordance with the present invention; and
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the inflated and erected bassinet shown in plan view in FIG. 3.
Referring more particularly to FIG. 1, there is shown a plan view of an inflatable bassinet 10, partially assembled, in accordance with the present invention. The bassinet 10 comprises a base or mattress panel 11, side panels 12 and 13 and end panels 14 and 15. The bassinet 10 is formed of two sheets of nonporous, flexible material such as rubber or plastic having seams 16 and 17 formed by vulcanizing, heat sealing, adhesives, or any other sealing process. Seams 16 and 17 define compartments or chambers 11% and 19 therebetween which can be filled with air or other gases under pressure by means of inlet valves 20 and 21.
The panels 11 through 15 of the bassinet 10 of FIG. 1 may advantageously be formed of two flat sheets of material cut and seamed in the manner shown in FIG. 1. It will be noted that the side panels 12 and 13, and the end panels 14 and 15, are each joined along one edge to a respective one edge of the base or mattress panel 11. In this way, the inflatable bassinet, when deflated, lies flat and in a single plane and thus may be easily cleaned and folded for storage.
A plurality of holes 22 are provided in enlarged portions of the seam 17 along the common edges of the various panels. These holes provide ventilation for the bassinet when erected and, moreover, facilitate the folding of the side and end panels at right angles to -the bottom panel 11. A substantial cross section of the air chambers, however, are left continuous through the bottom panel 11 and into the side panels 12 and 13 so that, when the bassinet 10 is inflated, the chambers 18 and 19 have substantial resistance to deformation. As a result, the side panels 12 and 13 exert a force tending to return them to the flat position shown in FIG. 1. As can be seen more clearly in FIG. 2, this force is utilized to maintain the side and end panels in their vertical position when the bassinet 10 is fully assembled.
The chambers 18 and 19 are completely separated by the seam 17 in order to provide two separate and completely independent non-communicating air chambers. Moreover, air chambers 18 and 19 are each distributed over substantial portions of all of the panels 11 through 15 by means of the serpentine convolutions of seam 17. Should a leak develop in either of air chambers 18 or 19,
the other chamber continues to hold air and hence continues to support the bassinet in its erected position.
The inlet valves and 21 are shown in FIG. 1 as simple mouth-inflating tubes having stoppers attached thereto. It is clear, however, that any other form of valve could be used. In particular, valves suitable for use with compressed carbon dioxide in commercially available cylinders or for use wit-h automobile air pumps could also be provided.
A hood or sunshade 23 is provided in end panel 14 to fully enclose a portion of the erected bassinet. This can be more easily seen in FIG. 2.
In FIG. 2 there is shown a perspective view of the inflatable bassinet of FIG. 1 in its inflated and fully assembled condition. In FIG. 2, the common edges 24, 25, 26 and 27 are shown joined together. This may be accomplished by means of zippers, snaps, ties or any other temporary joining means, or may be permanently joined by vulcanizing, heat-treating, adhesives, or any other permanent joining means. Preferably, of course, these edges are joined by temporary fastening means so that the bassinet 10 can be returned to its flat condition as shown in FIG. 1 when deflated. This flat condition sub stantially simplifies cleaning and storing.
The sunshade 23 is shown in FIG. 2 in one possible position. Temporary joining means along edges 24 and can, in the preferred embodiment, be partially opened to provide adjustable positioning of sunshade 23. Thus, when it is desired to place an infant in the bassinet 10 or remove the infant therefrom, sunshade 23 may be turned back to expose substantially the entire length of the bassinet. It may thereafter be adjusted as desired to provide the required shading effect.
As previously noted, the chambers 1% and 19 are continuous through the bottom panel 1-1 and into the side panels 12 and 13. When the bassinet is fully assembled as shown in FIG. 2, the restoring force exerted by these continuous air chambers tends to spread the side panels 12 and 13 away from each other. The joining of the corners 24, 25, 2 6 and 27, of course, prevents the actual movement of these side panels. The spreading force, however, prevents the side panels from collapsing inwardly and therefore maintains the erected bassinet in the desired erected form.
It will be appreciated that it may be desirable to provide a soft absorbent layer of material on the inside surfaces of the bassinet 10 for the comfort of the occupant. Such a layer may be bonded to the top sheet of the rubber or plastic material prior to forming the seams in accordance with well known techniques.
In FIG. 3 there is shown a plan view of another embodiment of the present invention comprising a partially assembled bassinet 50 having a base or mattress panel 51, side panels 52 and 53 and end panels 54 and 55. As in the case of FIG. 1, the bassinet 50 may be formed of two sheets of nonporous, flexible material such as rubber or plastic having seams 56 and 57 formed by vulcanizing, heat sealing, adhesives, or any other form of sealing process. Seams 56 and 57 define compartments or chambers 58 and 59 therebetween which can be filled with air or other gases under pressure by means of inlet valve 60. Interior seams 61 divide mattress panel 51 into a series of interior communicating chambers 62 for better form and greater stability.
As in FIG. 1, the panels 51 through 5 5 of FIG. 3 may advantageously be formed of two flat sheets of material cut and seamed in the manner shown in FIG. 3. Side panels 52 and '53 and end panels 54 and 55 are each joined along one edge to a respective one edge of base or mattress panel 51. As before, this allows the deflated bassinet 50 to be flat for easy folding and storage.
A plurality of ventilation holes 63 are provided in side panels 52 and 53.
At the point where chambers 18 and 19 pass from the bottom panel 51 to the side panels 52 and 53, constrictions 64 are provided to facilitate the folding of the side panels at right angles to the bottom panel 51. A substantial cross section of the air chambers, however, is left continuous through the bottom panel 11 and into the side panels 52 and 53 so that, when the bassinet 50 is inflated the chambers 58 and 59 have substantial resistance to such folding. In this way, the side panels are maintained in their erected position when the bassinet 50 is completely inflated and assembled.
The inlet valve is shown in FIG. 3 as a simple mouth-inflating tube having a stopper attached thereto. Other means of inflation could be used equally well, and appropriate valve means provided.
The end panel 54 is sulficiently long to form a partial sunshade or hood when the bassinet is assembled as shown in FIG. 4.
In FIG. 4 there is shown a perspective view of the inflatable bassinet of FIG. 3 in its fully inflated and assembled condition. The edges 65, 66, 67 and 68 are shown joined together, preferably by means of zippers, snaps, ties or other temporary fastening means. The sunshade 54, at least, is attached to the side panels 52 and 53 by temporary fastening means so that it can be folded back out of the way when placing an infant in or taking an infant from the bassinet.
Although only two embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed in detail, it will be appreciated that many other specific arrangements would serve equally well for the purpose intended. It is to be understood that the arrangements specifically described are merely illustrative of the numerous and varied other arrangements which may form applications of the principles of the invention. Such other arrangements may readily be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit or scope of this invention.
What is claimed is:
1. An inflatable bassinet comprising two sheets of nonporous, flexible material cut and seamed to form a base panel and four side panels permanently joined to each other along the edges of said base panel, said seams forming inflatable chambers in said base panel and at least some of said side panels, means for temporarily joining said side panels to each other at their common edges so as to define an enclosure surrounding said base panel, at least one of said side panels including a hood portion, means for temporarily joining said hood portion to at least one other of said side panels so as to extend over at least a portion of said base panel, and means for introducing gas under pressures into said chambers, the chambers in said base and side panels being in at least partial air communication whereby said gas under pressure in said chambers prevents said side panels from collapsing inwardly onto said base panel.
2. The inflatable bassinet according to claim 1 wherein said air chambers are separated into at least two mutually exclusive air communicating groups, the members of said groups chosen such that each group includes chambers from all of said panels, whereby said panels remain partially inflated despite a puncture in one of said groups.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 573,625 12/1896 Ruffner 5-98 X 2,231,108 2/1941 Brady 5'93 X 2,672,628 3/1954 Spanel 5348 3,049,728 8/1962 Lund 5--98 X 3,112,956 12/1963 Schick et al 297-219 3,253,861 5/1966 Howard -1 297453 CASMIR A, NUNBERG, Primary Examiner.