|Publication number||USRE38782 E1|
|Application number||US 10/317,674|
|Publication date||Aug 30, 2005|
|Filing date||Dec 12, 2002|
|Priority date||Dec 2, 1999|
|Also published as||US6427265, US20020095725|
|Publication number||10317674, 317674, US RE38782 E1, US RE38782E1, US-E1-RE38782, USRE38782 E1, USRE38782E1|
|Inventors||Julie M. Dix|
|Original Assignee||Taggies, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (31), Non-Patent Citations (39), Referenced by (12), Classifications (12), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims priority from a Provisional Application, Ser. No. 60/168,449, filed Dec. 2, 1999.
The present invention relates to child care devices, and, more particularly, to blankets or pillows for children.
It is well known that oftentimes a young child will become attached to a small, personal object as a means of coping with stress. Such a “security” item, which will typically be in the form of a favorite doll or a blanket, can actually provide substantial psychological and physiological benefits, especially when the child is out of the presence of a parent. For example, studies have found that if a child undergoes medical treatment without parents present, the child will be much calmer and more cooperative, and will actually have a reduced heart rate and blood pressure level, if the child has a security blanket or other item in his or her possession during the exam or treatment.
Typically, the chosen security blanket or item will be something with which the child is familiar and uses or plays with every day. Frequently, it will be a crib blanket or baby blanket also used for bedding during nap time or during the night. Although such blankets are functional, both as bedding and as security objects, they are typically disadvantageous for several reasons. The first of these is that the security blankets might not be conveniently portable. Because of the child's affection for the security blanket, it is usually taken along with the child wherever he or she goes. If the particular security blanket is relatively large, this may pose a problem for parents and the child, and the blanket may be dragged along the ground (thus getting dirty), or it may knock things over in stores. Another drawback to traditional blankets is that they may be less than ideally sturdy or appropriate for frequent use. For example, even if a hand-knit baby blanket given as a gift from a grandparent is occasionally used as bedding, parents may want to ensure it survives as a keepsake and is not “loved to death” as a security blanket.
Additionally, traditional blankets offer no other benefits besides being usable as blankets and as security items. Thus, in many situations (eg., if a child has to wait for a parent to do something or is traveling in a car), toys or other distractions may need to be given to the child in addition to ensuring the child has his or her security blanket. This may not always be convenient or possible. Finally, traditional blankets do not provide much, if any, sensory stimulation (either active or passive) for furthering a child's development.
More specifically, most blankets that are available today typically consist of one sheet of plain colored fabric, which at most may have a satin border around the perimeter of the blanket. Likewise, pillows that are available to children are either typical, plain sleeping pillows, or they have characters (cartoon/film characters) thereon which also do not provide any soothing activity at rest time.
Of course, a multitude of products are available for providing developmental stimulation for babies and young children. These include mobiles, wall hangings, toys, and stuffed animals. An example of the latter is a currently available product called a Taggly™, which is a stuffed animal which has multiple tabs attached to its head. The tabs on this toy crinkle, squeak, and have a velvet feel, but the Taggly™ is a toy, not a blanket or pillow, and cannot be used as such. Plus, it is typically not the type of object that is most frequently chosen by children as a security object.
Several blankets have been proposed over the years for providing various types of stimulation for young children. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,989,285 to Troncone et al. discloses a dual-layer blanket comprising two sheets of different fabrics connected only about their common peripheries, so that the interior areas of the sheets can slide over one another. This sliding effect, with appropriately chosen fabrics, simulates the tactile response of the amnion lining and amniotic fluid experienced by a fetus in utero. Additionally, U.S. Pat. No. 5,167,565 to Metcalf (“Metcalf”) relates to a standard blanket that is provided with a plurality of “attractors,” which are differently-patterned patches sewn onto the center area of the blanket. The attractors are attached to the blanket only via no more than two edges, so that they can be slightly lifted off the surface of the blanket. Although the attractors may provide some degree of stimulation via their different patterns, the design in Metcalf is disadvantageous in that the attractors cannot be very securely sewn onto the body of the blanket, making the blanket less than ideal for use with small children. More specifically, it is generally difficult to provide a secure stitching connection to the center of a fabric sheet, and it is nearly impossible to do so without leaving the stitching partially exposed. Furthermore, having a number of patches all over the surface of the blanket renders it less comfortable for use as a blanket.
Other blankets on the market contain actual toys or stuffed animals affixed to the blanket, which makes the blanket bulky and therefore not very “snuggly” or compact. One such blanket is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,208,934 to Bachnick et al. Another, commonly available security blanket, is called a Lovie™. This product is a stuffed animal head which has a plain blanket with a satin bottom edge attached to it. The animal head can act as a toy, but has no other developmental, stimulation or interaction features. As such, its appeal and usefulness are limited.
Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide an interactive security blanket or pillow that is easily portable, that is sturdy, that still serves as a functional blanket or pillow, and that includes advantageously “low-tech” features with which a child can interact so as to receive sensory and developmental stimulation.
The present invention discloses security blankets that provide a comforting, stimulating experience for young children. Each security blanket preferably comprises two sheets of 100% polyester fleece sewn together to provide a blanket body that is machine washable. The front piece of fleece preferably has a colorful children's pattern or design, while the back is a complimentary solid color. Additionally, a plurality of spaced-apart ribbon loops, or “tags,” are attached to the four edges of the blanket body, and extend “radially” out therefrom. The ribbon loops are provided in a variety of colors, patterns, and textures, e.g., they may be wide, thin, silky, textured, bright-colored, pastel, shiny, solid, and/or provided with fabric prints suitable for children. The ribbon is looped from and back into the seam between the pieces of fleece, and are firmly attached at that seam. The present invention may also be embodied in a pillow by inserting a standard pillow or cushion between two appropriately dimensioned fleece sheets.
The present invention provides children with a soft, warm security blanket, wherein the opposing portions of the tags can be rubbed together for comfort, much as the satin edge of a typical blanket might be rubbed for comfort. This provides the child with a sense of comfort and relaxation so as to sooth or calm the child. At the same time, the tags are colorful and enticing to children of all ages. The attractiveness of the individual ribbons encourages young children to reach into their environment. This develops basic skills in a manner that builds self-confidence while also providing entertainment for the child.
The tags, besides being visually and texturally enticing, also provide a series of mini-handles for children to grab and play with. In this sense, besides providing further entertainment and stimulation, the tags also help children in developing motor skills and coordination, especially in newborns and infants. For example, babies and children practice very complex fine motor skills, typically with much energy and excitement, when they attempt to touch and feel the tags, for example by trying (and succeeding) to place the soft fabric of the tags between their fingers, or by trying to put their finger through the tag loops. Furthermore, infants and newborns who can not yet grasp the blanket will try to reach for it and will intently study the individual patterns on the various tags when the blanket is “propped” up for them. This helps to develop eye/hand coordination in the young or developmentally delayed. Babies often select a “favorite” tag, which is often the busiest of patterns, because it is visually stimulating. Also, children may obtain developmental stimulation from hearing the sounds produced when the ribbon loops are rubbed together.
The unique design and concept of the interactive blanket of the present invention is extremely attractive to young children because it incorporates a tactile and stimulating activity into a soothing, comforting object. Babies and children are drawn to clothing labels and satin ribbons on stuffed animals because they enjoy the feel of rubbing the labels or ribbons together, and therefore find the generous offering of several assorted ribbon loops of different textures, prints and colors in the interactive blanket or pillow to be interesting and fun. At the same time, the soft fleece blanket body that holds their favorite tags is warm, cuddly and snuggly. The combination of these factors and the ability of the child to tote the blanket around (as opposed to other blankets, which are typically larger) makes the interactive blanket or pillow an ideal child companion. Additionally, children enjoy using the blanket for multiple purposes and for rest time and for play. For example, children may use the interactive blanket of the present invention as an imaginary blanket for a doll.
The interactive blankets of the present invention are also very attractive to adults purchasing the blankets for children, for several reasons. First, the interactive blankets are preferably constructed so as to be safe for young children, thereby making excellent security items that can be used in a safe and conventional manner as blankets and that are easily transported (children with security blankets or other security items often wish to bring their items with them to new environments such as school, the doctor's office, or a new babysitter's house). In addition, adults also find the interactive blanket and pillow design, and the assorted patterns that are available, to be inviting and fun. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, the blankets are intended to promote both visual and fine motor skills in children, as discussed above, even while keeping things simple for young children, who are often bombarded with items that provide an excess of activities.
These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with respect to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings, in which:
Turning now to
The fabric sheets 12, 14 are preferably polyester fleece, which, besides being sturdy and machine washable, provides a very soft and welcoming texture. One sheet 12 may be provided with a pattern, as indicated in
As mentioned above, and as shown in
As indicated in
As discussed above, the tags 18 provide a number of functions. The multiple, varied colors and patterns provide visual stimulation for children, and make the blanket 10 generally uniquely attractive. Additionally, since the tags 18 have different textures, different tactile sensations are conferred when the tags 18 are touched. Furthermore, because of the loop-like nature of the tags, children are able to rub the opposed sides of the tags together between their fingers. This provides a further, different range of tactual sensation, since rubbing the opposed sides of the tags together between the fingers creates a different sensation than just rubbing or stroking the fabric of the tags by itself. The loop-like tags 18 also help children develop basic motor skills, since babies and young children are drawn to inserting their fingers through the tag loops. Also, the tags 18 can be used by children as a series of “mini-handles,” further increasing the attractiveness and usefulness of the blanket 10.
As should be appreciated, the blanket or pillow 10 can be provided in any size as desired. However, it has been found that certain sizes are well suited for certain uses. For example, a small interactive blanket 10 for general use, but particularly portable, is preferably about twelve inches by twelve inches (about 30 cm by 30 cm), with five tags 18 along each edge of the blanket 10. A larger, but still easily portable blanket 10, is preferably about eighteen inches by eighteen inches (about 46 cm by 46 cm), and has six tags 18 along each edge of the larger interactive blanket 10, while a blanket 10 suitable for use in a crib or playpen is preferably about thirty-four inches by forty-five inches (about 86 cm by 114 cm), with approximately eleven ribbon loops along the thirty-four inch edge and sixteen along the forty-five inch edge.
The interactive pillow 10 according to the present invention is preferably about ten inches by twenty inches (25 cm by 50 cm), with four tags 18 along the ten inch edge and seven tags 18 along the twenty inch edge. The interactive pillow 10 is stuffed with a new travel-sized pillow and then sewn closed, or, alternatively, is stuffed with some other type of padding, preferably in its own casing. As should be appreciated, the sheets 12, 14 for the pillow will necessarily be larger (e.g., twelve inches by twenty-two inches in the case of a ten inch by twenty inch pillow) than the finished dimensions of the pillow 10, to accommodate the inner travel pillow or padding.
Optionally, knots of embroidery floss (not shown) complimentary in color to the colors of the sheets 12, 14 may be provided on the body of the blanket 10. Additionally, the blankets 10 may be provided with polyester batting (e.g., the blanket 10 suitable for cribs is preferably stuffed with a half inch (1.3 cm) layer of batting).
Except at set forth above, the patterns, colors and textures of the ribbon or material for the tags 18 may be of any type as desired, although preferably they are chosen for their potential attractiveness or interest to children. Therefore, a variety of bright colors (blues, greens, yellows, reds, oranges, etc.), textures (silky, satiny, coarse, ridged (corduroy), etc.) and patterns (alternating lines, stripes, paisleys, polka-dots, etc.) are appropriate, keeping in mind that the interactive blanket or pillow 10 should remain sturdy and functional.
Since the interactive blanket sand pillows 10 are used by children, child- and fire-proofing features are paramount. Every attempt should be made to ensure that the interactive blankets and pillows 10 are safe for children to enjoy. Preferably, each tag 18 is “backtacked” as it is sewn between the sheets 12, 14 for added strength. Additionally, the blankets and pillows 10 are preferably constructed inside out, on industrial sewing machines, with the fleece sheets 12, 14 being sewn together one inch (2.5 cm) in from their edges, and the tags 18 being placed such that they are secured to the sheets 12, 14 at least one-quarter of an inch (0.6 cm) away from the ribbons' ends.
Before commercial production, the blankets and/or pillows 10, as available for purchase from the assignee of this invention, Taggies, Inc., were tested by a laboratory certified by the Consumer Safety Products Commission (e.g., to test the ribbons against the small-parts regulations for choking hazards). Also, the interactive blankets and pillows 10 were tested to determine that they meet the flammability standards as set forth by the ASTM. If any parties seek to utilize the teachings set forth herein to commercially manufacture their own blankets, pillows, or otherwise, e.g., under a license or subsequent expiration, it is recommended that they do so as well. Also, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) concerns or precautions should be considered with respect to the interactive pillows. For example, it may be necessary to only use the interactive pillows with children older than twelve months. Also, the blankets and pillows may be labeled with precautionary information so that parents are aware (or can become educated) of the potential risks (if any) involved in using the interactive blankets and pillows with children of various age groups (as they should for all products for children).
Other embodiments of the present invention may include full crib sets (bumper pads), sleeping bags, pillow cases, activity blankets, and other types of bedding articles. In each instance, the particular children's product will be provided with a plurality of tags 18 acting as features for child stimulation and interaction.
Although the interactive blankets and pillows have been illustrated as being made from particular fabrics or materials, one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that certain changes could be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, other materials or fabrics could be used, and non-rectangular blanket or pillow shapes (e.g., circular, oblong, triangular, pentagonal, hexagonal) could be used.
Additionally, although the ribbon-loop tags have been illustrated as being attached to the periphery of the blanket, they could also be attached to the central area of the blanket, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Furthermore, although the tags have been shown as comprising ribbon loops, one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the tags attached to the periphery of the blanket could also be in other forms, such as strips. However, that would defeat the purpose of having loops for little fingers to be inserted to grasp the item, and would make the tags potentially less tactually stimulating, since it would be less easy to rub the tags against themselves.
Also, although the blanket or pillow body of the present invention has been illustrated as comprising two fleece sheets attached to one another, one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the blanket or pillow bodies could be more “complex” structures comprising various types of fabric sewn together, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, the fabric sheets could be quilt-like, or the fleece sheets could be provided with a satin border, to which the tags are attached.
Since certain changes (including those listed above) may be made in the above described interactive blanket and pillow for children, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention herein involved, it is intended that all of the subject matter of the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted merely as examples illustrating the inventive concept herein and shall not be construed as limiting the invention.
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|1||16 CFR 1500.50-1500.53-Test Methods for simulating use and abuse of toys and other articles intended for use by children.|
|2||16 CFR 1501-Choking Hazards / 16 CFR 1508-Full Size Crib Design.|
|3||16 CFR 1610-Standard for the Flammability of Clothing Textiles.|
|4||1992 Photograph (color and black & white) Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blanket-square shape, 16 fabric loops.|
|5||1994 Photograph (color and black & white) Samples of Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blankets-longer fabric loops.|
|6||1994 Photograph (color and black & white) Samples of Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blankets-shorter fabric loops.|
|7||1994 Photograph (color and black & white) Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blanket-circular shape, 16 fabric loops, "furry" fabric.|
|8||1994 Photograph (color and black & white) Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blanket-square shape, 16 fabric loops.|
|9||1994 Tag Along Tag Kit assembly instructions.|
|10||1995 Form 1040, Schedule C showing sale of Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blankets.|
|11||1995 Photograph (color and black & white) Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blanket-circular shape, 8 fabric loops.|
|12||1995 Photograph (color and black & white) Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blanket-square shape, 16 fabric loops.|
|13||Affidavit of Cynthia Stern-purchase of Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blanket in 1998.|
|14||Affidavit of Hermione Mickle-purchase of Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blanket in 1995, on consignment sale in 1994.|
|15||Affidavit of Kathy Hayes-purchase of Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blanket in 1994.|
|16||Affidavit of Pamela D. Crosby-purchase of Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blankets in 1995.|
|17||Affidavit of Patricia Loew-obtained Tag Along Tags(TM) portable security blankets on consignment, on-sale in 1994 and 1995 at craft shows.|
|18||Affidavit of Stella M. DeCarli-purchase of Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blankets in 1996.|
|19||Affidavit of Teresa Drummond, inventor of Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blankets.|
|20||Affidavit of Wendy Smith Clark-purchase of Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blankets in 1994.|
|21||Affidavit of-June Downing purchase of Tag Along Tags(TM) portable security blankets and on sale in the Something Special Gift Shop beginning in 1994.|
|22||Attachment to Letter of Sep. 16, 2003 (U.S. Pat. No. 6,427,265).|
|23||Letter from Wendy Smith (now Wendy Smith Clark) dated Jan. 28, 1994.|
|24||Letter of Sep. 16, 2003 from Attorney for assignee Taggies, Inc.|
|25||Mar. 13, 1995 Purchase Order-sale of 144 Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blankets in various colors and designs.|
|26||Photograph (black & white) Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blanket purchased by Kathy Hayes in 1994.|
|27||Photograph (black & white) Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blanket purchased by Stella M. DeCarli in 1996.|
|28||Photograph (black & white) Tag Along Tags(TM) portable security blanket similar to the one purchased by Cynthia Stern in 1998.|
|29||Photograph (black & white) Tag Along Tags(TM) portable security blankets on sale by Patricia Loew in1994 and 1995.|
|30||Photograph (color and black & white) Samples of Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blankets purhased by and on sale by Hermione Mickle in1994.|
|31||Photograph (color and black & white) Samples of Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blankets similar to those purchased by Pamela D. Crosby.|
|32||Photograph (color and black & white) Tag Along Tags(tm) Pocket Size Security Blanket.|
|33||Photograph (color and black & white) Tag Along Tags(TM) portable security blankets on sale in the Something Special Gift Shop in 1994.|
|34||Photograph (color and black & white) Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blankets purhased by Wendy Smith Clark in1994.|
|35||Sketch of Tag Along Tags(tm) portable security blankets purchased by Pamela D. Crosby in 1995.|
|36||U.S. Appl. No. 29/028,845, filed Sep. 23, 1994, Teresa Drummond, inventor.|
|37||U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, "Small Parts Regulations-Toys and Products Intended for Use By Children Under 3 Years Old".|
|38||*||Web Site-"Perfect-Baby-Gift.com," http://www.Perfect-baby-gift.com.|
|39||*||Web Site-"Washables Toys from the First Years are Good, Clean Fun," Oct. 24, 1998, http://www.thefirstyears.com/s_whats_new press_98_10_24a.html.|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US8312565||Mar 22, 2012||Nov 20, 2012||Mindy Alperin||Baby sleep and comfort aid|
|US8381334 *||Aug 29, 2011||Feb 26, 2013||Cheri Ballard||Travel quilt with retainment means|
|US8763181||Apr 4, 2011||Jul 1, 2014||Michael Penfold||Multipurpose mat|
|US8793812 *||Sep 15, 2011||Aug 5, 2014||Olivia Bada||Multi-use accessory pad for infant caregiver|
|US8966683||Feb 2, 2012||Mar 3, 2015||Crucs Holdings, Llc||Devices and implements for deterring monsters, specters, demons, and the like|
|US8973182||Apr 13, 2010||Mar 10, 2015||Crucs Holdings, Llc||Devices and implements for deterring monsters, specters, demons, and the like|
|US20080235870 *||Mar 28, 2008||Oct 2, 2008||Warmy Toasty Llc||Blanket With Tie Straps|
|US20110154572 *||Jun 30, 2011||The Boppy Company, Llc||Pillow with toy attachment system|
|US20110209261 *||Sep 1, 2011||Francine Lyle||baby toy|
|US20120037284 *||Aug 11, 2010||Feb 16, 2012||Ellen Korbonski||Protective sleeve for baby carrier|
|US20120073048 *||Aug 29, 2011||Mar 29, 2012||Cheri Ballard||Travel Quilt with Retainment Means|
|US20120276805 *||Apr 29, 2011||Nov 1, 2012||Maria Muscarella||Child Activity Wrap|
|U.S. Classification||5/482, D06/601, 5/502, 5/655|
|International Classification||A47D15/00, A47G9/02|
|Cooperative Classification||A47G9/0253, A47G9/0223, A47D15/00|
|European Classification||A47D15/00, A47G9/02B2, A47G9/02A4|
|Sep 22, 2005||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Oct 28, 2008||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Feb 2, 2010||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Mar 8, 2011||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: GOT II, LLC, GEORGIA
Effective date: 20110113
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:TAGGIES, INC;REEL/FRAME:025915/0922
|Dec 11, 2013||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: REGIONS BANK, AS AGENT, GEORGIA
Effective date: 20131210
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:GOT II, LLC;REEL/FRAME:031795/0855
|Feb 6, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12