US 3694023 A
A motor home is converted for infant care by providing a plurality of longitudinally spaced partitions extending transversely of the body of the vehicle and only partially across the vehicle to define a plurality of infant care areas. Each care area includes a raised support platform with mattress at normal crib height; the floor space between the care areas defining a walkway for access to the care areas. The partitions are transparent and a safety belt and lowerable side are provided in each crib to restrain the infant. Each platform is pivotally supported to expose a work surface when raised; individual basins and water supply means being provided on each work surface. A stationary ledge is provided to accommodate the mattress on the platform in the raised position and a longitudinally extending vertical panel holds access side of the support platform above the work surface and provides an upwardly extending shoulder to maintain the mattress in position. Individualized storage subcompartments are located below each work surface. At least one of the care areas may include an isolation curtain and exhaust fan for preventing transfer of germs from a sick infant. A driver and attendant area is provided at the front of the vehicle body with the infant care areas extending from the rear of the vehicle forwardly. An open floor space provides extended crawl space for the infants to play. Hatch means is provided for covering the step wells for the doors. A chute is provided for receipt of soiled articles of clothing with a storage bin positioned at the bottom of the chute and having an access door opening from the outside of the vehicle.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
llniterl States Patent Burgess 1 Sept. 26, 1972 MOBILE NURSERY  Inventor: Linda C. Burgess, 3525 Davenport St. N.W., Washington, DC. 20008 22 Filed: Dec. 23, 1910 21 Appl.No.: 101,045
 US. Cl. ..296/24 R, 105/315  Int. Cl ..B60r 15/02  Field of Search ..296/1, 23, 22, 24; 105/314,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,743,955 5/1956 Willson ..296/23 R 3,484,131 12/1969 Shea ..296/23 R 2,570,837 10/1951 Murphy ..105/315 Primary Examiner-Philip Goodman Attorney-Lowe and King  ABSTRACT A motor home is converted for infant care by providing a plurality of longitudinally spaced partitions extending transversely of the body of the vehicle and only partially across the vehicle to define a plurality of infant care areas. Each care area includes a raised support platform with mattress at normal crib height; the floor space between the care areas defining a walkway for access to the care areas. The partitions are transparent and a safety belt and lowerable side are provided in each crib to restrain the infant. Each platform is pivotally supported to expose a work surface when raised; individual basins and water supply means being provided on each work surface. A stationary ledge is provided to accommodate the mattress on the platform in the raised position and a longitudinally extending vertical panel holds access side of the support platform above the work surface and provides an upwardly extending shoulder to maintain the mattress in position. lndividualized storage subcompartments are located below each work surface. At least one of the care areas may include an isolation curtain and exhaust fan for preventing transfer of germs from a sick infant. A driver and attendant area is provided at the front of the vehicle body with the inv fant care areas extending from the rear of the vehicle 15 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures mtmsnsivz 1912 3.694. 023
sum 2 or 3 m 477'0FA/EKS particularly, a van-type vehicle converted for care of infants.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In modern society, the demand for skilled workers is becoming more and more prevalent. A very important class of these workers is the working mother. Heretofore,.these members of the working force, that provide a vital part of many businesses and professional offices, from farm workers to secretaries, medical and dental technicians, administrators, and executives, have been denied a practical means of returning to work after giving birth to a child, at least until the child is several years old. One reason for this is that it is difficult and time consuming for the mother to transport the infant to and from a central day care location. Of perhaps more importance, the infant is highly susceptible to contracting illness during inclement weather resulting from getting in and out of an automobile or a public transportation unit in the early morning and late evening hours. Even if the infant remains free of serious illness and colds, its routine and eating and sleeping habits are disrupted by the periods of shuffling to and from a day care center, which can be as much as an hour and one-half to 2 hours each way. This inevitably has a deleterious effect on the general health of the infant, as well as making the infant generally irritable so as to reduce the chances for a congenial home life. Further inconveniences result from transporting of the child by the mother for these extended lengths of time each day since the infant, at times, demands full attention, and from time to time, needs care, such as changing of a diaper, which care is not readily attainable in an automobile or in a public transportation unit.
.Furthermore, the care of children of all ages is continually becoming a greater financial burden for the working mother. A prime reason for this, which is especially true in the inner city, is the high cost of real estate and housing that is necessary for a suitable child day care center, and which cost is passed on to the mother 'and her family. Operating expenses, utilities and real estate taxes attendant to the day care center owning a house further adds to the burgeoning costs of keeping children. This financial burden is suspected in more and more cases of being that factor which finally tips the scales in favor of the decision of the mother not to return to work. Not only is the increased income for the family lost, but society also suffers, and perhaps more, from the loss of a skilled and productive worker.
OBJECTIVES OF THE INVENTION Thus, it is a principal object of the present invention to provide a novel arrangement in the form of a converted, self-contained van-type vehicle to serve as a mobile infant day care center that overcomes the above-mentioned objections and allows the working mother a practical way to return to work.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an arrangement for infant care whereby a number of infants may be accommodated in individualized care areas and each may be picked up and left off at the home without disruption of the child's routine and without compromise of the attention and care given to the child.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide an infant day care facility that requires no expensive real estate or housing and obviates the difficulties of caring for infants during transportation (even over extended periods of time, such as when caught in a traffic jam).
Still another object of the present invention is to provide the infants and their attendants with the incidental benefit of ready access to clean air away from the inner city and access to clean outdoors areas in good weather through visiting parks and other healthful surroundings on a daily basis.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Briefly stated, the present invention contemplates a van-type vehicle, such as a motor home, converted for infant'day care by the provision of a plurality of lon gitudinally spaced partitions extending transversely of but only-partially across the floor space to define a plurality of infant care areas. Each care area, in the preferred embodiment, is a crib with a platform and mattress at normal crib height for supporting the infants and in which the infants can sleep and be generally cared for. Means for retaining the infants in the cribs are provided in the form of a lowerable side and a safety belt, the latter being particularly for protecting the infants while the vehicle is underway. The care areas are aligned along the side walls of the vehicle body and the floor space between defines a walkway for easy access to all care areas.
The transverse partitions are transparent above so as to provide maximum lighting in each crib, to allow the infants to see each other and to allow the attendants to see each infant from any position within the vehicle. The support platform for each crib is pivotally supported at the side opposite the lowerable or access side (next to the wall) to expose a work surface immediately underneath that includes an individual basin and water supply means for each infant. The horizontal space between the platform when lowered and the work surface is a minimum and just sufficient to accommodate the water spigot for the basin and the infants daily supplies. Thus, the work surface is also substantially at normal crib height for ease of care care of the infants. Since each infant is provided with an individualized crib, work surface and wash basin, the transfer of germs or disease among the infants is minimized. Each infant may have its own separate supply of clothing, toiletries, and individual storage area in a subcompartment under the work surface, so that there is no chance of comingling the supplies of the infants.
In accordance with a specific construction feature of the invention, the platform is adapted to be held in the vertical, stowed position with the mattress resting on its edge on a stationary ledge when the work surface is being used. A longitudinally extending vertical panel serves to properly space the access side edge of the platfonn above the work surface when said platform is again lowered and an upwardly extending shoulder portion of the panel maintains the mattress in position.
An isolation crib or compartment is provided with a curtain and exhaust fan in the event that one of the infants has a communicable illness. The isolation crib is preferably positioned at the rear with the remainder of the cribs extending in two lines forwardly along the sides of the vehicle. Between the care or crib area and the forward driver and attendant area is provided an open floor space to provide extended crawl space for the infants to play. Hatch means is provided for covering the step well for the main doorway opening into the play area. An emergency door is-located at the rear and also includes a step well. A removable hatch over the well is provided to allow full use of the center walkway. A disposal chute receives dirty articles of clothing, such as diapers, for transfer to a storage bin having an outside access door to minimize transfer of germs and odors to the interior of the vehicle.
Still other objects and advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in this art from the following detailed description,
wherein I have shown and described only the preferred embodiment of the invention, simply by way of illustration of the best mode contemplated by me of carrying out my invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of other and different embodiments, and its several details are capable of modification in various obvious respects, all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not as restrictive.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the van-type vehicle constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention and having parts of the body cut away for clearer showing;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the .interior of the vehicle in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a partial view of one side of the interior of the vehicle shown in FIG. 1 and taken along line 33 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 44 of FIG. 2 and showing the rearmost cribs in.cross sec tion; and
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 55 of FIG. 2 and showing the construction of the clothing chute and storage bin.
7 DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the accompanying drawings for a detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the invention, reference numeral 10 designates a vehicle having a conventional'rnotor home body or shell 11 and which is supported on a plurality of wheels 12 for mobility in a known manner. The vehicle 10 is completely self-contained including a motor and vehicle chasis (not shown in the drawings), and other vital equipment. For example, an electrical generator for lights and heat may be positioned under a housing 13. A drivers seat 14 is located in the forwardmost lefthand corner of the vehicle 10 adjacentthe controls of the vehicle. An attendants seat 15 is provided on the 'righthand side of the vehicle and a table 16 is positioned in the center, if desired. A 22 foot model, Islander Motor Home manufactured by Islander Motor Homes, Inc., Santa Ana, California, has been found to have the basic equipment and interior spaciousness that particularly adapts it for conversion to a mobile nursery in accordance with my invention.
' THe forward floor area 17 for the driver and attendant is raised to give an unobstructed view of the interior of the vehicle. Just to the rear of the driver and attendant section and as will be more fully explained later I have left an extended open play area or crawl space so that the infants may be taken from the cribs and allowed to move about under close supervision of the attendant and the driver when the vehicle is not underway. This play area, generally designated by the reference numeral 18, leads to a longitudinally extending center walkway 19 running to the rear of the body 11 that allows access to a plurality of individual care areas or cribs 20, as will now be described.
A plurality of longitudinally spaced partitions 21 extend transversely of and partially across the body 11 of the vehicle 10. Preferably, the partitions 21 are ar ranged in abutting relationship to sidewalls 22, 23, as
can be clearly seen in FIG. 2. In this manner the sidewalls 22, 23 form one side of each crib with the partitions 21 forming the ends of the crib so as to enclose the same on a total of three sides. The partitions include an upper portion 24 1) FIG. 1.) of transparent material, such as plexiglass, to permit maximum lighting of the cribs 20 and to permit the attendants stationed in any position in the vehicle to observe each of the infants. An incidental benefit is to allow the infants themselves to see their neighbor which, at waking times, aids in pacifying them.
Each crib is, in accordance with the present invention, an individualized care area for the infants. With such an arrangement each infant is separated from the other to minimize the transfer of germs and to thus maintain maximum health conditions within the vehicle 10. At the same time, access to each infant is accomplished with ease since the attendant walking along the aisle or walkway 19 can reach all of the cribs 20.
In each instance, the crib comprises a mattress 27 upon which the infant lies to sleep and to be cared for by the attendants. In order to maintain the infant in the compartment 20, a lowerable side 28 is suitably mounted between the free edges of the partitions 21 as clearly shown in the drawings. As a further restraining means, and one which is utilized in all instances for the safety of the infant when the vehicle is underway, a safety belt 29 is permanently attached at the sides of the crib and adapted to fit across the mattress and fasten around the torso of the infant. Of importance is the fact that the attendant who normally occupies the right seat 15 is free to move to the care areas along the walkway 19 at any time, including when the vehicle is underway, in order to care for the infants as to any need that might arise.
The mattresses 27 are advantageously positioned at normal crib height so that the attendant can conveniently care for each infant without bending over or reaching above. This feature is of importance to assure that the infants are cared for with maximum efficiency and ease.
As best shown in FIG. 4, each mattress 27 is advantageously positioned in the crib on a pivotal platform 29 to allow the crib to be readily converted to an individualized work surface or area immediately below and generally designated by the reference numeral 30. Pivot-means or hinge 31 is spaced inwardly from the side wall 22 (or 23) to provide a stationary ledge 32 upon which the edge of the mattress 27 may rest when the platform 29 is pivoted to the vertical stowed position, as shown on the righthand side of FIG. 4. The outside edge of the platform that is normally adjacent the access side of the crib (see left-hand side of FIG. 4 and FIG. 1), has a longitudinally extending vertical panel 33 that forms a downwardly extending leg to support said platform above the work surface 30. The panel 33 includes an upwardly extending shoulder 33a, to maintain the mattress 27 in position in the crib. A handle 34 mounted on the panel 33 engages a hook 35 on the wall to hold the platform in the substantially vertical stowed position so as to give unobstructed access to the work surface 30.
Each work surface 30 includes an individual basin 40 so that each infant may be washed and thoroughly cared for within his own care area (see FIGS. 1 and 4). This means that each child is not subjected to possible germs of another and makes it possible for more than one child to be bathed at a time. As shown in FIG. 4, the height of the panel 33 and the ledge 32 above the surface 30 is sufficient to allow the accommodation of spigot 37 and the storage of articles of clothing and toiletries on the work surface 30. This means that the work surface 30 is also substantially at normal crib height so that the care of the infant is further performed with ease.
Below the work surface 30 is an enclosed subcompartment 38 with front panel 39 being provided with access doors 39a where additional individual supplies of each child may be stored. With this arrangement, no comingling of the supplies of the infants is possible and thus the efficiency of the operation and satisfaction of the parents is enhanced. It will be noted in FIGS. 1 and 3 that the panels 33 and 39 fit together so as to provide an attractive vanity-type unit. In order to accommodate an infant that becomes ill during the day or is suspected by the attendants of having a communicable disease, at least one of the cribs or compartments, preferably one of the larger, rearmost compartments, as designated by'the reference numeral 45 in FIGS. 1 and 4, is provided with a folding door 46 and an overhead exhaust fan unit 47. When the infant in the isolation crib 45 is not being attended, the door 46 is closed to prevent the escape of germs and the exhaust fan unit 47 is run constantly to remove any such germs to the exterior of the vehicle.
Another health precaution is provided by the provision of a diaper disposal chute 50, preferably within a storage closet area (see FIGS. 1 and 2). The used articles of clothing, and particularly the diapers of the infants, preferably in sealed plastic bags, are deposited into the chute 50 and stored during the day in a bin 51 at the bottom of the chute, as shown in FIG. 5. A suitable pivotal lid 52 is provided to cover the chute 50 when not in use. An access door 53 opens from the outside of the body 11 so that the transfer of germs and odor to the interior of the vehicle is prevented.
As the infants being cared for reach crawler age (about 56 months) it is desirable to have a safe place where the infants may be placed out of their crib for brief periods during the day. In accordance with the arrangement of the present invention, this need is provided for by the open crawl space or play area 18 situated between the driver and attendant area 17 and the crib area along the walkway 19. As shown in FIG. 2, this space extends the full width of the vehicle between the walls 22, 23 to provide maximum play area and to provide space for play equipment, such as suspended swing 60 (FIG. 2).
The main door 65'to the vehicle 10 opens into the play area 18 immediately behind the driver and attendant area 17, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. A step well 66 is necessitated by the design of the vehicle 10. To assure the safety of the infants in the crawl area 18, a pivotal hatch 67 is provided that is adapted to be lowered from an upright, out-of-the-way position to an operative position in which the well 66 is completely covered. A suitable latch means, preferably in the form of a conventional slide bolt 68, is provided to positively lock the hatch 67 in the up position when the infants are confined to their cribs 20.
In accordance with a similar safety feature and so as to maximize the use of the walkway 19, a removable hatch 70 in the form of an L-shaped member, as shown in FIG. 1, is utilized at the rear or emergency door 71 (see FIG. 2). From FIG. I, it can be seen that one leg 70a of the hatch 70 extends in a vertical direction to give support to the horizontal cover member 70b. Side blocks 72 within step well 73 assist in the supporting of the hatch 70. In addition to serving as an emergency exit, the door 71 may be used for opening up the vehicle 10 when visiting in parks or other recreational areas during the course of the day in good weather. Opening of both doors 65, 71 allows for cross ventilation through the vehicle with clean air for the health and added comfort of the occupants.
From the foregoing, it can be seen that the vehicle constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention offers a unique approach to the problem of caring for a number of infants in a most efficient manner. Each infant has its own individualized compartment wherein the attendant can care for the child, including giving of sponge baths in the basin 40 when the crib platform 29 is raised. With the platform 29 in the lowered position, the infant may rest substantially undisturbed by the others. Each crib mattress 27 is at normal crib height, and the work surface 30 is spaced a minimum distance below so that it too is substantially at normal crib height, to allow maximum ease of working for the attendants. The provision of auxiliary features, such as transparent panels 24 in the dividing partitions, the extended crawl area 18, and the center walkway 19 between the cribs, add considerably to the efficiency of the arrangement. Removable hatches 67, 70 are provided for the step wells 67, 73 in the doorways to assure the safety of all. Provision for the health of the children confined within the space of the vehicle is not compromised in any way by an infant suspected of having a contagious disease since that particular infant may be placed in the isolation crib 45 with the folding door 46 and exhaust fan unit 47. Finally, the neatness of the vehicle is maintained and the health of the occupants further assured, by provision of the diaper disposal chute 50 and storage bin 51 with outside access door 53.
In this disclosure, there is shown and described only the preferred embodiment of the invention, but, as aforementioned, it is to be understood that the invention is capable of use in various other combinations and environment and is capable of changes and modifications within the scope of the inventive concept as expressed herein.
1. In a van-type vehicle the combination of a vehicle body, wheels on said body for supporting the same, said body having opposed side walls defining a floor space between, a plurality of longitudinally spaced partitions extending transversely of said body, said partitions extending only partially across the floor space and defining a plurality of infant care areas along said side walls, a raised support platform at normal crib height for said infants in each care area, each support platform including a mattress to form a crib, means for restraining said infants on said support platform, said floor space defining a substantially unobstructed central walkway for direct access to said care areas and contiguous thereto for this purpose, whereby individualized care may be given to infants by attendants of normal adult size at all times standing in such walkway.
2. The vehicle of claim 1 wherein is provided a chute for receipt of dirty articles of clothing used by the infants, a storage bin at the bottom of said chute, and an access door for said bin opening from the outside of said body, whereby the transfer of germs and odor therefrom to the interior of the vehicle is minimized.
3. The vehicle of claim 1 wherein is further provided an emergency door at the rear of said vehicle at the end of said walkway, a step well for said door and a removable hatch to extend the usable walkway, said hatch including an L-shaped member, one leg of said L extending horizontally to form a portion of said walkway and the other leg of said L extending vertically for support, and support blocks positioned at the sides of said step well to assist in support of said-hatch.
4. The vehicle of claim 1 wherein is provided pivot means for each platform, a work surface disposed immediately beneath said platform and therefore at substantially normal crib height, and latch eans for retaining said platfor in an upwardly pivoted position for access to said work surface.
5. he vehicle of claim 4 wherein each work surface includes an individual basin and ater supply eans for use only by the infant cared for in that particular care area.
6. he vehicle of clai 4 wherein each of said pivrt means is spaced inwardly fro the side of each care area oppcsite the access side by a stationary ledge substa ntially equal to the attress thickness and cooperable with the edge of the attress tosupport the sa e in the stored position.
7. he vehicle of clai 6 wherein the side of each platfor adjacent the. access side is provided ith a longitudinally extending vertical panel to for a down ardly extending leg tospace said platfor above the work surface, said panel further including an upwardly extending shoulder to aintain the mattress in position when said support is in the lowered position.
8. he vehicle of claim 7 wherein each of said care areas include an individualized storage subcompartment disp osed beneath said wa'k surface.
9. The vehicle of claim 1 wherein at least one of said care areas includes an isolation curtain extending between said partiticns to form an isolation compartment to prevent transfer of germs from an infant therein 10. he vehicle of claim 9 wherein 18 further provided an exhaust fan in said isolation compartment to remove the germs to the exterior of the vehicle.
11. The vehicle of claim 1 wherein is furtherprovided a driver and attendant area at the front of the vehicle body said infant care areas extending from the rear of the vehicle forwardly, and open floor space between said care areas and the driver and attendant area to provide free crawl space for said infants to play.
12. The vehicle of claim 11 wherein is further provided a doorway in said body opening into the vehicle at the crawl space, the floor of the vehicle being raised above the lower edge of the door at said crawl space necessitating a step well, and hatch means for covering said step well to provide continuous and safe crawl space.
13. The vehicle of claim 12 wherein said hatch means is pivotally mounted adjacent one edge of said step well and latch means for holding said hatch means in an upward, out-of-the-way position to allow use of the step well.
14. In a van-type vehicle the combination of a vehicle body, wheels on said body for supporting the same, said body having opposed side walls defining a floor space between, a plurality of longitudinally spaced partitions extending transversely of said body, said partitions extending only partially across the floor space and defining a plurality of infant care areas, a raised support platform at normal crib height for said infants in each care area, means for restraining said infants on said support platform, said floor space defining a walkway for access to said care areas, whereby individualized care may be given to infants by attendants at all times, said partitions including a transparent portion above the level of said platform to permit transfer of light and viewing of the infants by each other and by the attendants at all times.
15. In a van-type vehicle the combination of a vehicle body, wheels on said body for supporting the same, said body having opposed side walls defining a floor space between, a plurality of longitudinally spaced partitions extending only partially across the floor space and defining a plurality of infant care areas, a raised support platform at normal crib height for said infants in each care area, means for restraining said infants on said support platform, said floor space defining a walkway for access to said care areas, whereby individualized care may be given to infants by attendants at all times, each support platform including a mattress to form a crib, and a lowerable side disposed between said partitions, said side in the raised position being of sufficient height to form said infant restraining means.