US 3823428 A
An adjustable bed rail readily adaptable for beds of any type. A tubular cross brace is mounted to either end of the bed frame and T-couplings are removably and rotatably mounted to the brace. The bed rail is, in turn, adjustably mounted to the couplings on either side of the bed.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Whyt e [111 3,823,428 51 July 16,1974
[ ADJUSTABLE BED RAILS  Inventor: Albert J. Whyte, Springfield, Mass.
 Assignee: Standard International Corporation,
 Filed: Apr. 13, 1972  Appl. No.: 243,569
 US. Cl. 5/331  Int. Cl. A47c 21/08  Field of Search 5/331, 332
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,817,855 12/1957 Pratt 5/331 3,097,370 7/1963 Murcott 5/331 3,289,223 12/1966 Oja et a1. 5/331 8/1967 Taylor 5/331 3,336,609 3,419,922 1/1969 Malherbe 5/331 3,624,847 12/1971 Murcott et a1 5/331 Primary ExaminerBobby R. Gay
Assistant Examiner-Darrell Marquette Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Weingarten, Maxham & Schurgin [5 7] ABSTRACT An adjustable bed rail readily adaptable for beds of any type. A tubular cross brace is mounted to either end of the bed frame and T-couplings are removably and rotatably mounted to the brace. The bed rail is, in turn, adjustably mounted to the couplings on either side of the bed.
9 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures 1 ADJUSTABLE BED RAILS FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates in general to beds and, more particularly, to safety side rails for use in conjunction with beds and especially for hospital type beds having a flexible spring frame or gatch.
DISCUSSION OF THE PRIOR ART It is well known to use some type of safety side rail in conjunction with beds which may be intended for use by children, or in convalescent homes, hospitals and the like. Such rails often take the form of an independent assembly which is either clamped to the spring frame (gatch) of the bed or has a tube or bar which lies beneath the mattress and on top of the spring. Many other side rails are an independent assembly which may be fastened to the frame, head or foot of the bed. Such prior art safety side rails give rise to several difficulties.
Among the disadvantages of the side rails previously known is the fact that some of them are not easily lowered to a position where the bed occupant may comfortably sit on the side of the bed or get into and out of the bed easily without obstruction by the top of the rail. While many of the earlier side rails adapted for use with flexible gatches have lengthwise telescoping action, many of these tend to bind when one end of the gatch is raised with respect to the other, thereby changing the effective length of the bed. Binding in the sides results in such cases when the connection between the rail and the bed is not freely pivotable, thereby preventing straight linear motion of one end of the side rail with respect to the other.
Substantially all of the prior art side rails are merely attachments or appendages to the bed and are not an integral structural feature thereof. A disadvantage of such a non-integrated structure is that it may easily be misadjusted or moved from the desired position and must then be straightened by the occupant of the bed or by an attendant. Additionally, when the bed is adjusted after the side rail has moved from its intended position, damage may result to the rail because binding as described above is quite likely to occur. An obvious disadvantage of the type of side rail structure having a transverse connecting rod passing beneath the mattress is the resulting ridge created in the mattress. The likelihood of discomfort to the person using the bed is obvious. This same type of assembly has another problem in that it may slide all the way to one side, leaving one rail against the mattress but a substantial gap at the other side which might even permit the occupant to fall through.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Broadly speaking, this invention relates to a bed having a safety side rail structure as an integral but to some extent detachable part thereof. The structure of this invention includes a tubular cross brace mounted across either end of a gatch which is the spring frame which is normally hinged for adjustments to a non-horizontal position. The cross brace is mounted between two brackets which are appropriately secured to the gatch. In addition to connecting the cross brace to the frame, these brackets provide the function of leveling stops which would otherwise have to be provided by a separate appendage. A T-shaped coupling having annular grooves for longitudinal adjustment is inserted into either end of the tube mounted to the brackets and is held in place by spring-loaded pins. Vertical end members of the side rails are provided with holes which are engageable by a spring-loaded pin in the cross-tubular member of each T-coupling so that the rails may be raised or lowered and retained in any desired position.
these couplings are completely rotatable and permit the level of one end of the gatch to be raised with respect to the other end, thereby changing the distance between the ends of the side rails, without causing any binding of the telescoping sides of the rails. Furthermore, it is readily apparent that with this structure which is an integral part of the gatch or bed frame,
there is no possiblility of the side rail assembly sliding sideways as is likely with the under mattress attachment type.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The advantages, objects and features of this invention will become readily apparent from the following description when taken in conjunction with the drawing in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view in somewhat schematic fashion of a bed and side rail combination constructed in accordance with the principles of this invention; and
FIG. 2 is an enlarged broken-away perspective of one corner of the bed of FIG. 1 showing the details of the side rail attachment portion of the structure.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS With reference now to the drawing, bed 11 is shown with the bottom end 12 of gatch 13 in horizontal position and the top end 14 raised approximately 25 from horizontal. Beds of this type which are used in hospitals and convalescent homes are normally provided with swing-out cranks by means of which the adjustments to the gatch position are made. Since details of this type form no part of the invention, they are not shown in the drawing and will not be further discussed herein. The gatch 13 is shown schematically anchored to the main bed frame 15 by means of vertical :members 16 and 17. Again, these are for reference purposes only and do not necessarily represent any specific actual bed construction. It may be noted that with the central portion 18 of the gatch anchored to the main bed frame, the head 14 is pivotable about point 21, while the foot portion of the bed is pivotable about points 22 and 23 so that the bed may assume the familiar sitting position when properly adjusted.
The gatch frame 13 is normally formed of angle irons 24 which may either be bent to form a somewhat rounded 90 bend at either end as shown or may be constructed to form sharp 90 corners at the ends. Longitudinally displaced a short distance from either end of the gatch are brackets 25 which may be mounted in a suitable manner to side angle iron 24, such as by welding, riveting or by means of bolt 26. Rigid tubular member 27 is mounted by suitable means such as welding between two brackets 25 positioned on opposite sides of the gatch. The center of tube 27 is in alignment with openings 28 in each bracket.
Even though the gatch of a typical invalid bed is relatively rigid in the transverse direction, a certain amount of twisting of angle irons 24 is possible due to the various stresses and strains to which such a bed may be subjected. This is especially true of the sides of the gatch frame which are subject to substantial sresses when the bed occupant comes into forcible contact with one of the side rails. Such forces could actually cause the frame to be deformed because of the torque exerted upon the frame through the side rails. By mounting the cross brace assembly comprised of tubular member 27 and brackets 25 securely across the gatch near either end as an integral part thereof, an added strength member is provided which thereby substantially reduces the likelihood of any flexion or bending which may otherwise occur in frame members 24. Furthermore, when an end of the gatch is lowered to normal horizontal po- 7 sition, the bottom 29 of bracket 25 rests firmly upon the side rail of main frame 15. Thus brackets 25 also act as leveling stops for the gatch. The gatch normally does not rest flush upon the main frame so in the absence of brackets 25, separate leveling appendages or feet would be necessary.
With specific reference now to FIG. 2, it may be seen that T-coupling 30 is comprised of stem 31 and crossmember 32. The stem is preferably a solid metal rod provided with a plurality of annular grooves 33 spaced from inner tapered end 34 of the stem. Only two such grooves are shown, but it will be understood that any practical number may be formed on the coupling stem. At a point spaced inwardly from bracket 25 a springloaded pin 35 of conventional type having a button 36 is mounted to tubular member 27 and extends into the interior thereof. The distance between bracket 25 and pin 35 is substantially less than the length of stem 31, thereby permitting the stem to be adjustably inserted and retained within tube 27. The tapered end 34 of stem 31 permits the coupling to be forcibly inserted into the tube and to be locked in place by pin 35 as it engages the first or inner annular groove 33 on the stem. If it is desired to shorten the distance between two oppositely mounted couplings, button 36 is grasped and pulled outward against the force of a biasing spring 37 to thereby permit stem 31 to be further inserted into tube 27. When the desired transverse distance between couplings is attained, pins 35 are permitted to engage the appropriate groove in each coupling stem to thereby firmly retain the coupling within the tube and preventing longitudinal motion thereof. However, it will be noted that through the use of annular grooves 33, the coupling is freely rotatable after being mounted within tube 27.
Cross-member 32 is appropriately mounted as by welding to the outer end of stem 31. Another conventional spring-loaded pin 38 extends into the interior of cross-member 32 and is operably connected to button 41. The pin is biased inwardly, but the button may be easily pulled outwardly to permit longitudinal motion of a member within cross-member 32. Although it is preferable that pins 35 and 38 be spring biased, such structure is not essential to the invention.
With reference now to the side rails shown in FIG. I, normally vertical end member 42 are provided for support of normally horizontal telescoping members 43. Each end member is provided with several widely spaced holes 44 along its length which are adapted to be engaged by pin 38 in cross-member 32. If the rail is to be in its raised position, button 41 is grasped and pulled outward to disengage pin 38 from vertical member 42 and the side may be raised until the pin engages the last hole 44 at the bottom of member 42. It should be noted that it is not necessary to adjust the height of both ends of the rail simultaneously. With the telescoping ability of the side rails and the free rotatability of the T-couplings, the rails may easily adjust one end at a time. Similarly, it may be desired to have one end of the rail up and the other end down for some particular reason. This structure permits such operational flexibility without difficulty. To further facilitate telescoping of the sides and prevent binding, brace 45 is shown between the top two members 43. Other similar braces may be used if desired.
When it is desired to lower the rail to its lowermost possible position, pin 38 is disengaged from one of the holes 44 and vertical member 42 is permitted to pass through cross-member 32 until resilient bumper 46 engages the top ridges 47 of crossmember 32. Because coupling 30 is mounted below the bottom of the gatch,
the entire side rail is easily lowered at least to the level of the spring and completely below the mattress shown in phantom outlines in FIG. 1. This facilitates changing the bedding and also permits the patient to enter into and exit from the bed or to sit on the side thereof without any interference from the side rail while the rail remains attached to the bed and ready to be raised to operative position when desired. The spring-loaded pin 38 mounted to the cross-member of coupling 30 is positioned at a point longitudinally displaced from the point where stem 31 joins the cross-member so that there is further vertical adjustment available in the position of the side rails. That is, by rotating the T- coupling a difference of approximately Zinches in height may be achieved in addition to the adjustments permitted by the several holes 44 formed in the vertical end members 42 of the side rails.
It will also be appreciated that if it is desired to remove these side rails at any time, this may be done by removing vertical members 42 from the T-couplings or the couplings may be removed from tubular members 27. In either case the tubular members 27 and brackets 25 remain in place performing their strengthening and supporting functions as before. It is thus a very simple matter to operate and adjust these side rails or remove them from and attach them to the bed.
As an alternative embodiment, the majority of the length of tube 27 is not included. Short portions of tubing 27 are secured to each bracket 25 so that the structure is substantially identical to that shown and described above, except that the transverse bracing effect is not provided. Brackets 25 remain in place and act as leveling stops as before. Pin 35 is mounted in the same position on each short section of tubing and the invention is otherwise identical. This structure would permit the side rails of this invention to be removably attached to any gatch or bed frame by means of clamps or bolts if desired so that they could be provided for any type of bed and would not have to be integrally constructed therewith.
In view of the above description, itis likely that changes and improvements will occur to those skilled in this art which are within the scope of this invention. Although the invention has been described in conjunction with a flexible gatch, it will be recognized that safety side rails constructed in accordance with this invention may be mounted to nearly any bed frame, even those which support a box spring and mattress.
What is claimed is:
l. A bed comprising:
a first frame adapted for supporting a .mattress thereon;
a bracket rigidly affixed to the sides of said first frame adjacent either end thereof;
a unitary substantially rigid tubular member rigidly affixed to and extending between opposite ones of said brackets transversely of said bed beneath said first frame, said tubular member being thereby fixed to said first frame and functioning as a stiffener therefor;
a T-shaped coupling having a stem and a crossmember, said stem being removably inserted int one end of said tubular member; and
a side rail having vertical members at either end, said vertical end members being adjustably engaged by said cross-member of said couplings mounted at either end of said first frame on the same side thereof.
2. The bed described in claim l and further comprisa main frame supporting said first frame;
wherein said brackets each extend below said first frame and make contact with said main frame to thereby support said first frame in spaced relation to said main frame and to provide leveling of the ends thereof.
3. The bed described in claim 1 and further comprising a first locking pin mounted to said tubular member adjacent either end thereof, said pin extending into the interior of said tubular member and being longitudi nally movable for engaging said stem of said coupling.
4. The bed described in claim 3 wherein said stem of said coupling is formed with a plurality of annular grooves longitudinally spaced from the inner end thereof and adapted to be selectively engaged by said locking pin, thereby preventing longitudinal motion of said coupling while permitting free rotation thereof.
5. The bed described in claim 1 and further comprismg: i
a second locking pin mounted to said cross-member of said coupling; wherein said cross-member is tubular and said locking pin is longitudinally movable and extends into the interior thereof;
and wherein said vertical end member has a plurality of longitudinally spaced holes which are selectively engageable by said locking pin.
6. The bed described in claim 5 wherein said locking pin is longitudinally offset along said cross-member 6 from the point of attachment of said stem thereto.
7. A bed comprising:
a first frame adapted for supporting av mattress thereon;
a main frame supporting said first frame;
a bracket rigidly affixed to the sides of said first frame adjacent either end thereof, said bracket extending below said first frame and making contact with said main frame for supporting the ends of said first frame in spaced relation to said main frame;
a unitary substantially rigid tubular member rigidly affixed to and extending between opposite ones of said brackets transversely of said bed beneath said first frame, said tubular member being thereby fixed to said first frame and functioning as a stiffener therefor a T-shaped coupling having a stem with a plurality of annular grooves longitudinally spaced from the inner end thereof, and a tubular cross-member;
a side rail having a plurality of spaced normally horizontal members supported between normally vertical end members, said end members having a plurality of longitudinally spaced holes;
a first spring-loaded pin mounted to said tubular member adjacent each end thereof, said pin extending into said tubular member and selectively engaging one of said annular grooves in said stem to permit free rotation and prevent longitudinal movement of said stem; and
a second spring-loaded pin mounted to said crossmember and extending thereinto for selectively engaging one of said holes in one of said end members.
8. A safety side rail assembly for use with a bed having a frame for supporting a mattress, said assembly comprising:
a side rail having spaced longitudinal members sup ported between normally vertical end members;
a bracket mounted to the side of said frame adjacent either end thereof;
a tubular member secured to each of said brackets and extending inwardly from the edge of said bed frame a distance less than half the width of said frame;
a T-shaped member removably coupling each vertical end member to one of said brackets, said coupling member having a stern removably inserted into one of said tubular members, and a tubular cross-member adjustably engaging one of said vertical end members;
a first spring-loaded locking pin mounted to said tubular member and spaced inwardly from said bracket; and
a second spring-loaded locking pin mounted to said cross-member and extending into the interior thereof;
wherein said stem of said coupling is formed with a plurality of annular grooves longitudinally spaced from the inner end thereof, said first locking pin extends into said tubular member for selective engagement with one of said grooves, and said vertical end members are formed with a plurality of longitudinally spaced holes selectively engageable by said second locking pin in said cross-member.
9. A safety side rail coupling'assembly-for mounting a safety side rail having spaced normally horizontal members supported between normally vertical end members to a bed frame, said assembly comprising;
a bracket adapted to be mounted to the sides of said frame adjacent the ends thereof;
a tubular member secured to said bracket and projecting in one direction therefrom a distance less than half the width of said bed frame;
a T-shaped coupling member having a stem removably inserted into said tubular member and a tubular cross-member adapted to receive one of said vertical end members of said side rail;
a first locking pin mounted for longitudinal movement to said tubular member and extending thereinto; and
a second locking pin mounted for longitudinal movestem with respect to said tubular member, and said vertical end members are formed with a plurality of longitudinally spaced holes selectively engageable by said second locking pin.