BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to baby pillows and in particular relates to a baby crawling aid and pillow that safely enables a baby to learn to crawl.
2. Description of the Related Art
There are numerous types of pillows designed for use with a baby or which may be used to cushion or support a baby. Most such pillows are not attachable to a baby, and/or are used to support a baby on its back, such as in U.S. Pat. No. 2,281,629 of Snow and U.S. Pat. No. 2,495,482 of Rogatz.
One example of a baby pillow that is designed to hold a baby in a supine or prone position on its stomach to aid in developing muscles or relieve congestion is found in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2002/0133881 of Vrbas et al. This pillow has an angled concavity and raised security edges and side straps so that the baby is held at an angle in the concavity. The patent of Casassa (U.S. Pat. No. 5,483,714), while not being a pillow, is positionable beneath the baby's abdomen to permit limited rolling by the baby while preventing rolling over.
It is an object of the invention to provide a baby crawling aid and pillow that is sized so that a baby that is attempting to crawl is supported and cushioned while being securely held to the cushion.
Other objects and advantages will be more fully apparent from the following disclosure and appended claims.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The invention herein is a baby crawling aid that includes a flat, rectangular pillow having a removable, washable cover for the pillow. The cover has a top side and a bottom side, and two opposite edges. Two flat straps are attached to the cover, each strap having an attachment means located distal from the cover. When the cover is placed on the pillow, the cover fits closely around the pillow and the straps extend outward from the pillow from the two opposite edges and may be attached together with the attachment means around the mid-section of a baby positioned on the pillow.
Other objects and features of the inventions will be more fully apparent from the following disclosure and appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective front view of a baby that is crawling with an attached crawling aid of the invention herein.
FIG. 2 is a perspective side view of a baby that is crawling with the attached crawling aid of the invention herein.
FIG. 3 is a side perspective view of a foam piece that may be used to form the pillow of the invention herein.
FIG. 4 is a plan view of one side (either top or bottom) of the crawling aid of the invention.
FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of the crawling aid of the invention.
FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the crawling aid of the invention showing one strap brought over the pillow.
FIG. 7 is a side perspective view showing both straps brought upward in the position where they would be if a baby was positioned on the pillow of the crawling aid.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION AND PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS THEREOF
The present invention is a baby crawling aid that provides cushioning for the baby's midsection (abdominal area) when the baby is strapped to the pillow of the crawling aid in a face-down position. The structure of the crawling aid as shown in FIGS. 1-2 allows the baby to learn to crawl by pushing up with arms and legs, with the baby being cushioned by the pillow if it falls. The invention also allows the baby to rest on the pillow when not crawling. A pair of straps attached to the side of a cover for the pillow is attachable around a baby's midsection to hold the covered pillow on the front of the baby as shown in FIGS. 1-2.
As shown in the figures, the baby crawling aid 10, comprises a flat, rectangular pillow 12 (FIG. 3), preferably made of soft but sturdy foam as is typically used in foam pillows. Preferably the pillow 12 is about 3 inches in height H, and about 6-7½ inches long and about 6-7½ inches wide on the top and bottom rectangular sides. The pillow 12 may alternatively be square, but having a pillow that is wider from side to side S than it is long gives the baby more room to move its arms and legs when the crawling aid 10 is attached to the baby. Most preferably, pillow 12 is about 7½ inches from side to side S, with “sides” referring to the portions of the pillow 12 on the sides of the baby when the baby is positioned on the crawling aid 10, and about 6 inches long L (dimension perpendicular to the side-to-side dimension). The corners 18 and edges 20 of the foam pillow 12 are right angles as shown, and preferably not rounded, to reduce rolling of the pillow when positioned on a crawling surface.
In the invention herein, the pillow 12 is covered by a removable, washable cover 16 that generally is of the size and shape as known in the art to fit closely about the pillow 12 but to be removable for washing. The cover 16 has a top side 22 and a bottom side 24, which are preferably identical to each other and which are preferably rectangular in shape but large enough so that the top and bottom sides 22, 24 can be sewn together to form a pocket in which the pillow can be removably placed. The top and bottom sides 22, 24 of the cover 16 when sewn together thus each extend across one flat side (top or bottom) of the pillow and half way down toward the other side of the pillow 12 with a side seam 26 centrally placed between the top and bottom 22,24 and extending around the pillow as shown in FIGS. 5 and 7.
At two opposite edges 28 of the cover 16 are attached two flat straps 14. For a rectangular pillow 12, these opposite sides 28 are the sides of the cover 16 that are over the shorter sides of the pillow 12. The strap portions 14 are preferably each made of two pieces of fabric sewn together as known in the art and are shaped to have a base portion 30 and a distal portion 32. Each strap 14 is sewn at its base portion 30 to the cover 16 (FIG. 4). The base portion 30 of each strap 14 is preferably the same width (e.g., 6 inches) as the side of the pillow 12 or slightly less wide (e.g., about 5¾ inches) to provide a wide area along the baby's side that is more comfortable to the baby than would be a narrow strap. Each of the straps 14 preferably tapers gently in width from the strap base portion 30 to a central area 34 of the strap 14 and then is generally linear, with the distal portion 32 being rounded and preferably slightly expanded in width as shown (FIG. 4) for ease of handling and attachment together. The straps 14 preferably are about 14 inches long before being attached to cover 16 and extend for a length of about 12½ inches from the pillow, when the pillow is positioned within cover 16, which is sufficient for the straps 14 to be fastened together and to completely surround a baby positioned on the baby crawling aid 10.
While each strap 14 could be attached in a variety of positions on an opposite side 28 without departing from the invention herein, it is preferably centrally attached on the portion of the cover that extends between the corners 18 of one of the opposite sides 28 as shown, as well as being positioned centrally from top to bottom of the pillow 12 as shown in FIG. 5, so that about half of the pillow 12 is above the attachment site 36 and about half of the pillow 12 is below the attachment site 36 as shown. This allows the crawling aid 10 to be used with either side downward so that either side of the pillow 12 may be placed beneath the baby.
Each strap 14 has an attachment means 38 located toward or at the strap distal portion 30 or between the central area 34 and the distal portion 30 of the strap. 14. While this attachment means 38 could be other such means known in the art, preferably the attachment means 38 comprises hook and loop fastening material, providing a flat, non-protruding joining of the distal portions 32 of the straps 14. To assist in adjusting the straps 14 about different size babies, the attachment means 38 can be made adjustable, for example, by lengthening the hook and loop fastening material on one or both straps 14 so that the circumference provided by the pillow width and the attached straps 14 may be adjusted to be smaller or larger. As shown in FIG. 6, each strap 14 has one piece of the hook and loop fastening material on one side of it, so that the distal portions 32 of the straps 14 can be brought together above whichever side of the pillow the baby is positioned on, and attached together above the baby.
Thus, when the cover 16 is placed on the pillow 12, the cover 16 fits closely around the pillow 12, and the straps 14 extend outward from the pillow 12 from the two opposite sides 28 and may be attached together at their distal portions 32, using the attachment means 38, around a baby mid-section of a baby positioned on the pillow 12.
Preferably the cover 16 has an openable side 40 along one of the sideseams 26 of the cover 16 to which no strap 14 is attached and which is perpendicular to the opposite sides 28 where the straps 14 are attached as shown (FIG. 5). At the openable side 40 there is preferably is a closing means 42. The closing means 42 may be a zipper or hook and loop fastening material or other means as known in the art. Use of the closing means 40 keeps the pillow 12 within the cover 16 while in use, and reduces the likelihood of the baby pulling the pillow 12 out of the cover 16.
Preferably the cover 16, straps 14 and pillow 12 are made of flame-retardant material as known in the art. The cover and straps are preferably made of soft, washable fabric, and may be a fabric decorated for use with babies. This material is preferably at least somewhat stretchy, for example, of a flannel material, so that the pillow 12 is more easily inserted in the cover 16, and so that the straps 14 can be snug but not stiff against and around the baby.
The crawling aid 10 of the invention herein is used by placing the covered pillow 12 on a flat surface with the straps 14 extended outward from the pillow 12 as shown in FIG. 4. The baby is placed face downward on the covered pillow with the baby's midsection centered on the pillow and the straps protruding out perpendicular to the baby's torso. The straps are pulled upward over the baby's back and overlapped firmly but gently over the baby's back so that the hook and loop fastening material mates as known in the art and holds the crawling aid firmly on the baby's abdomen area as shown in FIGS. 1-2. The shape, size and firmness of the foam pillow keep the baby from easily tipping over and hold the baby in place to begin experimenting with, and then succeeding in, crawling.
While the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, it will be appreciated that numerous variations, modifications, and embodiments are possible; and accordingly, all such variations, modifications, and embodiments are to be regarded as being within the spirit and scope of the invention.