US 3373864 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 19, 1968 Filed Aug. 2, 1966 FIGZ. FIG-3 0 m 44 46 i1!lmlnulmlllllllul R; w. BARTON ETAL 3,373,864
PRESTERILIZED NIPPLE PACKAGE 2 Sheets-Sheet l FIGS. 44 46 FlGB.
INVENTORSZ RAYMOND W. BARTON JOHN K. NEELY WWW AT TYS.
March 19, 1968 R. w. BARTON ETAL 3,373,864
PRESTERILI ZED NIPPLE PACKAGE Filed Aug. 2, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 F lC5.l l. 6 /60 Yl/I I7 I\\ I 2/6 2/2 INVENTORSI RAYMOND w. BARTON JOHN K. NEELY ATTYS.
United States Patent Ofiice Patented Mar. 19, 1968 3,373,864 PRESTERILIZED NIPPLE PACKAGE Raymond W. Barton, Evansville, Ind., and John K. Neely,
Williamsport, Pa., assignors to Mead Johnson & Company, Evansville, Ind., a corporation of Indiana Filed Aug. 2, 1966, Ser. No. 569,699 3 Claims. (Cl. 20646) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A sterile package for a nipple and retaining ring having an outer cover member and a removable closure seal. The outer cover is cup-like with a top portion and a cylindrical skirt which surrounds the nipple retaining ring. The retaining ring, and the nipple mounted in it, are held within the cover member and cannot fall out when the seal is removed. Ribs on the retaining ring lock with grooves on the outer cover member so that the retaining ring can be attached to a bottle before the cover member is removed.
This invention relates to nursing units for use in feeding infants and more particularly to a new and improved presterilized nipple package.
These nursing units generally comprise a bottle for holding milk or formula and a nipple detachably mounted in a retaining ring which is mounted over the open end of a bottle. In preparing these nursing units for infants, it has been customary to sterilize the bottles, nipples and retaining rings before use. In most instances this is done by the mother or nurse simply by placing the elements of the nursing unit in a container of boiling water for a predetermined length of time. This procedure is time consuming and results in a considerable amount of handling. Moreover, the mother or nurse has to exercise care in removing these elements from the container so that they do not become contaminated before they are used. Usually some type of instrument is needed to handle the elements of the nursing unit. However, it has been found that even if great care is exercised in the handling of these elements, often contamination of one of the elements of the unit, such as the nipple, ring or bottle, results, which, of course, is undesirable. Furthermore, it is very difficult to handle the elements of the nursing unit to prepare them for use after sterilization without contaminating them, for example, when filling the bottle and applying the nipple to the bottle. Another drawback of the presently used nursing units is that after each use the elements must again be sterilized.
Present nursing units of this type require time and equipment for sterilization and are not well adapted for use away from home. Sterile bottles of nursing formula are available, to which a nipple is attached at the. time of use. Nipples are also available in sterile packages, as a sealed plastic bag or cover. The present nipple packages are unsatisfactory as it is difiicult to open the package and mount the nipple on the bottle Without contamination of the nipple.
With the foregoing in mind, an object of the present invention is to provide a novel package assembly for sterilized nipples which greately simplifies the task of infant feeding and where the chance of contaminating the nursing unit is, as a practical matter, eliminated.
The assembly comprises an outer cover member of cuplike form which may be made of plastic having a generally cylindrical skirt and a cone-shaped top for projecting upwardly from the skirt defining a circumferentially extending shoulder at the'juncture of the skirt and top of the outer cover member. The skirt, in the present instance, is provided with an undulating surface defining a plurality of axially extending grooves on the inner periphery thereof and an inturned lip at its lower terminal edge. The retaining ring and nipple are adapted to be detachably housed in the outer cover member and the retaining ring is provided with a plurality of circumferentially spaced ribs on the outer periphery which engage in the axial grooves of the skirt thereby to prevent relative turning of the cover member and retaining ring. Further, the lower edge of the retaining ring is of a larger diameter than the opening defined by the lip at the lower edge of the skirt of the cover member so that the retaining ring is normally held against downward displacement inside the cover member, the shoulder limiting upward displacement of the retaining ring inside the cover member. In one form of nipple package in accordance with the present invention, the skirt terminates in an outwardly directed circumferentially extending flange and a disc-like sealing element is adapted to be detachably secured to the flange of the skirt by means of an adhesive to seal the nipple and retaining ring inside the cover member. Preferably an adhesive is used to secure the disc-like sealing element to the flange which cannot be rescaled once the disc is removed. This provides a tamperproof construction and insures the user that the contents are sterile. Now, when the mother or nurse desires to use the nipple and retaining ring, the top of the cover member is supported in one hand and the disc seal is peeled back. The lip on the lower portion of the skirt holds the nipple and retaining ring in place preventing them from accidentally falling out and becoming contaminated.
The sealing element is preferably a two layer laminate comprising an outer paper layer and an inner foil layer. An adhesive secures the foil to the skirt of the cover. The inner foil layer is slit to permit permeation of the package by a sterilizing gas, after assembly is completed. An annular slit at least through the foil and preferably part way through the paper, around the inside of the flange, provides a tear-line so that the paper layer of the disc does not rip and block removal of the nipple when the disc is torn away. The mother places the cover member, retaining ring and nipple over the threaded open end of a nursing bottle and then turns the cover member, the interengagement of the ribs and grooves permitting rotation of the retaining ring to tighten the retaining ring and nipple on the top of the bottle. Thereafter, since the lip of the skirt is flexible, the cover member may be removed and discarded and the bottle is ready for use.
In another embodiment of the present invention which is generally similar to that described above in structure and arrangement, the skirt is provided with a frustoconical inwardly directed lower edge portion and a seal to cover the open end of the outer cover member is designed to snap in place over the open end of the outer cover member. The retaining ring and nipple are placed inside the cover member by the manufacturer, the sealing member is snapped to the lower edge of the skirt and sealed by means of an adhesive which cannot be resealed once the sealing element is removed. However, by reason of the snap-in arrangement, the user may resterilize the contents of the package after the nipple has once been used. This is done by simply washing the used assembly to remove formula and then placing the cleaned ring and nipple assembly into the cover cap. The unit is then placed in water for boiling a sufficient amount of time to render it sterile. The snap-in seal may be boiled simultaneously and then snapped into place subsequent to boiling if desired.
The overall construction of the presterilized nipple package is extremely simplified and may be manufactured cheaply so that when the nipple has been once used, it may be discarded, the idea being that a large supply of these packages is retained by the mother or nurse. Further, this arrangement insures against contamination of the retaining ring, nipple and bottle which is essential in the feeding of infants.
These and other objects of the present invention and the various features and details of the construction and use thereof are hereinafter more fully set forth with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary side elevational view, partly in section, of a conventional baby bottle with a cap thereon;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary side elevational view, partly in section, showing the presterilized nipple package of the present invention applied to the bottle;
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 with the cover member of the package removed;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged side elevational view of the presterilized nipple package in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken on lines 55 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 5a is an enlarged fragmentary section of a portion of FIG. 5;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken on lines 6-6 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken on line 77 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary sectional view taken on lines 88 of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the presterilized nipple package of the present invention with the lower sealing cover partially removed;
FIG. 9a is a top plan view of the lower sealing cover;
FIG. 10 is an enlarged side elevational view partly in section of another embodiment of nipple package in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 11 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view showing the lower edge configuration of the skirt and sealing member; and
FIG. 12 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view similar to FIG. 11 showing the sealing member in a partially removed position.
Referring now to the drawings, reference number 10 designates generally a presterilized nipple package made in accordance with the present invention. The nipple package 10 includes a retaining ring 12 and nipple 14 housed in an outer closure or cover member 16 having a lower sealing member 18 detachably secured over the open end of the outer cover member 16. The nipple 14 is of generally conventional construction including a body portion 20, a spherical feeding tip 22 at one end of the body portion and a pair of spaced apart flanges 24 and 26 at its lower end which define an annular groove 28 therebetween within which the annular top 30 of the retaining ring seats to support the nipple on the retaining ring as shown in FIG. 5. The side wall 31 of the retaining ring 12 is provided with internal locking means in the form of a spiral thread 33 so that it may be applied over the open end of a bottle 32 having a reduced neck portion 34 with a spiral thread 36 or other similar looking threads formed to support the nipple in place in the manner shown in FIG. 3.
Considering now more specifically the structural details of elements of the nipple package and particularly the embodiment shown in FIGS. 2-5 inclusive, the outer cover member 16 which is generally of cup-like form comprises a horn-shaped top portion 40 consisting of a generally frustoconical side wall 42 closed at its upper end by a top portion 44 and a generally cylindrical skirt 46 depending from and formed integrally with the lower edge of the side wall 42. There is defined a circumferentially extending shoulder 48 at the juncture of the side wall 42 and skirt 46 as illustrated in FIG. 5 which overlies the annular top 30 of the retaining ring 12 to limit upward movement of the retaining ring and nipple in the outer cover member 16. An offset annular groove or channel 50 is provided adjacent the lower edge of the skirt 46 which terminates in an inwardly directed circumferentially extending lip 52 of a slightly smaller diameter than the circumferential bead 54 at the lower edge of the side wall 31 of the retaining ring. By this arrangement, when the retaining ring 12 is placed inside the outer cover member, the annular bead 54 snugly seats in the annular groove 50 to limit downward displacement of the nipple and retaining ring. The outer cover member 16 is preferably made of a thin, pliable material such as plastic, to permit displacement or flexing of the lip 52 at the lower edge of the skirt thereby facilitating insertion of the retaining ring into the outer cover member.
As best illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, the retaining ring 12 and skirt 46 of the outer cover member 16 are provided with cooperating means to prevent relative rotation between the retaining ring and the outer cover 16 while permitting axial movement of the retaining ring relative to the outer cover to facilitate assembly of the retaining ring and nipple assembly on a bottle. To this end the skirt 46 of the cover member 16 is formed with an undulating surface defining a plurality of axially extending grooves 60 entirely about the circumference of the skirt with a uniform spacing between the axes of adjacent grooves so that when the retaining ring is positioned in the outer cover member 16, axially extending ribs 62 on the outer face of the side wall of the retaining ring engage in the grooves '60. As best illustrated in FIG. 4, the grooves 60 extend between the shoulder 48 at the juncture of the skirt 46 and top portion 42 and the annular groove 50. In the present instance, the ribs 62 are circumferentially equispaced and are spaced a circumferential distance apart greater than the spacing of the grooves 60 in the skirt of the outer cover member so that they engage in the manner shown in FIG. 7. By this arrangement, there is no need to index the retaining ring relative to the outer cover member on assembly and, as long as the retaining ring and cover member are in substantial axial alignment during insertion of the retaining ring, the ribs 62 readily engage in the annular grooves 60 in the skirt to prevent relative rotation of the retaining ring and the outer cover member.
The bottom of the outer closure member is sealed by the disc-like closure member 18 and is adhered to a radially outwardly projecting flange 68 at the lower terminal end of the skirt 46 by means of a suitable adhesive. The disc-like closure 18 may comprise a laminated arrangement consisting of an outer layer 18a made, for example, of paper and an inner layer 1812 confronting the inside of the package made, for example of aluminum foil. The adhesive is one chosen so that once the disc-like closure is removed or detached, it cannot be replaced. This arrangement provides a truly tamperproof construction as explained in more detail hereinafter. As illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 9, the closure disc 66 has an enlarged offset gripping flap portion 74 overlying the flange 68 and extending outwardly beyond the flange 68 to facilitate gripping and removal of the cover disc by the user. The foil layer 18b of closure disc 18 has therein an annular slit 180, immediately inside the portion of the disc surface which is in engagement with flange 68. (See FIGS. 5a and 9a.) This slit extends all the way through the foil and preferably partially through the paper 1851. The slit serves both to permit gas sterilization of the nipple and to facilitate removal of the sealing disc. After the sealing disc is applied, the nipple container is sterilized, preferably in a batch operation with a large number of similar nipple packages. The packages are placed in a sealed evacuated chamber to which a sterilizing gas is admitted. The gas passes through the paper and the slit in the foil, permeating the interior of the cover and sterilizing the nipple and the retaining ring. The function of the slit on removal of the disc will be described below.
Considering now the assembly of the presterilized nipple package, the nipple 14 is first assembled to the retaining ring 12 by engaging the tip portion through the central opening in the retaining ring 12 and pressing it in place whereby the lowermost flange 26 of the nipple 14 overlies the inner face of the top 30 of the retaining ring 12 and the uppermost flange 24 engages over the top edge of the retaining ring 12. Thereafter, the nipple and retaining ring assemblies are positioned interiorly of the outer cover member 16 in the position shown in FIG. 5 wherein the ribs 62 on the exterior of the side wall 31 of the retaining ring 12 engage in the grooves 60 in the skirt 46 of the outer cover member to prevent rotational movement therebetween. The enlarged head 54 at the bottom of the retaining ring 12 engages in the annular groove 50 at the bottom of the skirt 46 to locate the retaining ring and the outer cover member and prevent axial downward displacement of the retaining ring. The assembly is then autoclaved to sterilize the nipple 14 and retaining ring 12. Suitable adhesive, as a thermoplastic film, is then applied to the foil surface of the disc 18 and this is activated by heat and pressure to seal the disc to the flange 68 with the flap 74 in overlying relation to the flange 68 as shown in FIG. 4. This package is now ready for shipment to the retailer and for subsequent purchase and use. It is noted that the structural arrangement of the package is comparatively simplified and that the cost of making and assembling the package is relatively small so that the entire unit is a very economical one and, therefore, suitable or adapted for a single-use application.
Considering now the use of the presterilized nipple package, the nipple package is basically designed for a one-use application by the mother or in hospital nursing applications. In these uses, the formula or milk is stored in conventional bottles 32 of the type shown in FIG. 1 having a closure cap 80 with a liner or gasket 81 which seals the open end of the bottle. Now when the mother wants to prepare one of the bottles for feeding, the nipple package is held in one hand in an inverted position and the flap 74 of the disc 18 is peeled back to remove the same. Once the disc 18 is removed, it cannot be replaced, thereby providing a tamperproof unit; that is, if the disc 18 is peeled back partially, it is readily apparent that the package has been opened and that the contents may no longer be sterile.
The user then removes the conventional cap 80 from the bottle and positions the nipple package over the open end of the bottle. It is noted that in this position the engagement of the head 54 of the retaining ring in the annular channel 50 of the skirt prevents the retaining ring and nipple from falling out, thus obviating the necessity for holding the retaining ring and nipple in place which might contaminate the retaining ring and/ or nipple. Now by simply holding the top of the outer cover member in one hand and the bottle 32 in the other hand, the package is rotated to secure the retaining ring and nipple to the bottle as shown in FIG. 2. During this rotation of the outer cover, the interengagement of the ribs 62 on the retaining ring in the groove 60 in the skirt of the outer cover prevents relative rotation of the same, thus permitting the retaining ring and nipple to be applied to the bottle. When the retaining ring has been tightly secured, the outer cover member 16 is raised to remove it from the bottle as shown in FIG. 3, the flexibility of the lip 52 of the skirt permitting it to be displaced or flexed over the bead 54 on the skirt. The nursing bottle is now ready for use. During this entire operation the hands of the user do not come in contact with the interior or exterior of the retaining ring or nipple, thus avoiding contamination and maintaining sterility. The outer cover member may then be discarded and after use the nipple and retaining ring may likewise be discarded.
The annular slit 18c directs the tearing of the paper layer 18a of the sealing disc as it is removed. In the absence of a slit of this configuration, it has been found that the paper sometimes rips across the mouth of the cover leaving a layer which obstructs removal of the nipple and retaining ring. With the annular slit the paper is removed cleanly and uniformly, leaving at most a layer on the flange 68 of the cover.
There is illustrated in FIGS. 10-12 another embodiment of nipple package in accordance with the present invention generally designated by the numeral 100. This embodiment is generally similar in overall arrangement and configuration to that described above and includes a retaining ring 112-and a nipple 114 housed in an outer cover member 116 having a sealing member 118 detachably secured over the open end of the outer cover member to hold the retaining ringand nipple interiorly thereof as illustrated.
The outer cover member 116 is generally of cup-like form comprising a horn-shaped top portion consisting of a generally fr-ust-o-conical side Wall 142- closed at its upper end by a generally circular top 144 and a gen erally cylindrical skirt 146 depending from and formed integrally with the lower edge of the side Wall 142. As illustrated in FIG. 10, the juncture of the side wall 142 and skirt 146 defines a circumferentially extending shoulder.148 overlying the annular top of the retaining ring to limit upward movement of the retaining ring and nipple assembly in the outer cover member.
vIn accordance with this embodiment of the invention, the retaining ring 112 and skirt 146 of the outer cover member are provided with means to prevent relative rota: tion therebetween to facilitate assembly of the retaining ring and nipple to a bottle. To this end the skirt 146 is formed with an undulating surface defining a plurality of axially extending grooves and the outer peripheral surface of the retaining ring 112 has a plurality of axially extending ribs 162 to engage in the grooves 160. By this arrangement, as noted above, when the assembly is positioned on a bottle, the outer cover member may be turned to secure the retaining ring on to the open end of the bottle simply by turning the outer cover member, the interengagement of the ribs and grooves transferring rotational movement of the cover member to the retaining ring.
In the present instance, the lower end of the skirt 146 is formed with an inwardly directed frusto-conical extension 200 which has a radially outwardly directed circumferentially extending flange 202 at its lower end. Further, as best illustrated in FIG. 10, the area of the skirt between the undulations and the frusto-conical extension is offset to define an annular groove 204 within which an enlarged bead 206 of the retaining ring seats to limit axial downward displacement of the retaining ring and nipple assembly in the outer cover. Further, in accordance with this embodiment, the closure seal 118 which may be made of plastic comprises a central generally circular disc portion 210, an inwardly directed frusto-conical annular portion 212 depending from the central circular disc portion 210 and a radially outwardly directed peripheral flange 214 which underlies and is adapted to be detachably secured to the flange 202 of the skirt. The frust-o-conical extension 200 of the skirt and the ifnusto-conical depending annular portion 212 of the sealing member complement one another so that the sealing member may be snapped into place to cover the lower end of the cover member. The sealing member has an enlarged tab portion 216 to facilitate detachment of the sealing member from the outer cover when it is desired to apply the retaining ring and nipple to a bottle.
The elements of this presterilized nipple package are assembled in much the same way as the package described above. Thus, the retaining ring 112' and nipple 114 are positioned interiorly of the outer cover member and then the sealing disc is applied. In the first instance, the sealing disc 118 is secured to the flange of the skirt by means of a suitable adhesive.
Now when the mother or nurse desires to prepare a bottle for feeding, the presterilized nipple package is supported in one hand and the sealing disc is removed by the other. This arrangement is also tamperproof by reason of the fact that once the seal provided by the adhesive has been broken, it may not be replaced. In accordance With this embodiment of the invention, however, the package may be re-used, that is, after the nipple has once been removed from the outer cover member and used. This is done by simply washing the used assembly to remove formula and then placing the cleaned ring and nipple assembly into the cover cap. The unit is then placed in water for boiling a sufficient amount of time to render it sterile. The snap-in seal may be boiled simultaneously and then snapped into place subsequent to boiling if desired.
While particular embodiments of the presentinvention have been illustrated and described herein, it is not'intended to limit the invention, and changes and modifications may be made therein within the scope of the following claims.
1. A sterilized nipple package for housing a nipple and a retaining ring adapted to support the nipple on the open end of a container such as a bottle, comprising an outer cover member of cup-like form and including a top portion and a generally cylindrical skirt depending therefrom with an annular outwardly directed channel adjacent the lower edge of the skirt, the retaining ring having an annular outwardly projecting ibead nested in the channel, the skirt having an inwardly directed lip below the channel defining an opening smaller than said head, a closure seal closing the lower end of the outer cover member to seal the retaining ring and nipple inside the package and means detachably securing the closure seal to the lower terminal edge of said skirt.
2. The nipple package of claim 1 wherein the closure seal is of a laminated construction comprising an outer layer of paper and an inner layer of aluminum confronting the inside of the cover, with a continuous annular slit through the aluminum inside the lower terminal edge of the skirt.
3. The nipple package of claim 2 wherein said slit extends partially through the outer paper layer.
" References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,262,299 4/1918 Beling. 2,027,296 1/1936 Stuart et al. 161113 2,384,720 9/1945 Babcock et al. 2,833,324 5/1958 Burroughs 220 X 2,931,493 4/1960 Pfohl 20678 3,038,811 6/1962 Reading 161113 X 3,248,231 4/1966 Wilson et al 215-11.3 X 3,273,703 9/1966 Stribley 20646 FOREIGN PATENTS 493,134 5/ 1950 Belgium. 810,970 3/1959 Great Britain.
JOSEPH R. LECLAIR, Primary Examiner.
THERON E. CONDON, Examiner.
J. M. CAKSIE, Assistant Examiner.