Patent application title: BUBBLE-WRAP CLOTHING FOR SENIOR CITIZENS AND ACTIVE PERSONS
Douglas Mccredy (Toms River, NJ, US)
IPC8 Class: AA41D13015FI
Class name: Apparel guard or protector shoulder protector
Publication date: 2012-11-15
Patent application number: 20120284908
An article of clothing wear for softening the impact resulting from a
wearer's fall to the ground includes an article of protective clothing
constructed in whole or in part with bubble-wrap composition at selected
elbow, hip, knee, ankle or shoulder denominated areas thereof, with the
article of protective clothing being sized to be worn under or over the
wearer's own fabric clothing.
1. An article of clothing wear for softening the impact resulting from a
wearer's fall to the ground comprising: an article of protective clothing
constructed with bubble-wrap composition at selected elbow, hip, knee,
ankle or shoulder denominated areas thereof, with the article of
protective clothing being sized to be worn either under or over the
wearer's own fabric clothing.
2. The article of clothing wear of claim 1 wherein the article of protective clothing is constructed substantially entirely of bubble-wrap composition in softening a resultant fall impact.
3. The article of clothing wear of claim 1 wherein the article of protective clothing is constructed with the bubble-wrap composition substantially only at the selected elbow, hip, knee, ankle or shoulder denominated areas in softening a resultant fall impact.
4. The article of clothing wear of claim 3 wherein the article of protective clothing is constructed with pockets at said denominated areas in which patches of bubble-wrap composition are selectively inserted.
5. The article of clothing wear of claim 3 wherein the article of protective clothing is constructed with pockets at said denominated areas in which patches of bubble-wrap composition are selectively removably inserted.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 A Provisional Patent Application covering the invention described herein was filed on May 13, 2011, and assigned Ser. No. 61/518,819.
REFERENCE TO A MICROFICHE APPENDIX
 NOT APPLICABLE
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 This invention relates to lessening the effects of slip and fall accidents, in general, and to a reduction in the high medical costs associated with the care and treatment of injuries that result to senior citizens and active persons who happen to be the victims of such accidents, in particular.
 2. Description of the Related Art
 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year approximately 1 in 3 senior citizens age 65 and above suffer from an accidental fall. Of these, 20 to 30 percent suffer injuries that are severe enough to impact their ability to lead active, independent lives. While slip and fall accidents can happen to just about anyone, these are more common in senior citizens who may have a variety of health issues that can increase the risk of fall. For example, seniors may struggle with proper balance and gait, may have vision problems, and may have a host of other issues that can impact their ability to prevent the fall to begin with. As will thus be understood, seniors have a much higher risk of being seriously injured in a slip and fall accident than young adults or children.
 Specifically, hip fractures from falls happen to a reported two hundred and fifty thousand seniors each year. Significant other falls lead to elbow, shoulder and knee fractures or derangements. And, as will be understood, all these numbers frequently result from the elderly being prone to osteoporosis which makes their bones brittle--making them more vulnerable to breaks or cracks. With vulnerable bones and tendons, a result oftentimes is that a tiny break can cripple the elderly individual, since it takes a longer period for those fractures to mend.
 Slip and fall accidents result in huge costs to the elderly. Being injured in a nonfatal fall can lead to extensive hospitalization expenses, doctor fees, medication costs, x-rays and diagnostic costs; physical therapy expenses and other related medical expenses frequently follow. For those who are still employed, loss of income usually follows because of days lost from employment while recuperating. Then, when the patient returns home, he/she frequently finds that enhancements are needed to the house or apartment to help them experience the mobility they once had.
 For these reasons and, additionally, because of increasing numbers of fatalities resulting from older adult falls--, many recommendations have been made to try to help reduce falling accidents for seniors when in the home or apartment. Among these are:
 a. Discarding area rugs or loose carpeting that might cause a fall;
 b. Installing solid hand rails around all staircases;
 c. Having grab bars installed around bathrooms, especially near showers and baths;
 d. Utilizing slip-proof flooring in the shielding of stairs;
 e. Utilizing night-lights and no-slip tiles;
 f. Drying wet floors immediately right after spills occur; and
 g. Keeping often-used materials on low shelves, so that there is no need to be climbing on chairs to retrieve things that are frequently kept on high shelves.
Besides wearing low heel, comfortable shoes equipped with rubberized soles for safe grip, avoiding household slippers and footwear with leather bottoms or high heel sandals, recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also include:
 a. Exercising, to strengthen bones and improving one's sense of balance;
 b. Making sure that medications needed are not placed at locations which put the individual at risk for dizziness or drowsiness when reaching for them; and
 c. Making sure that eye examinations occur regularly.
 Nevertheless, fall related death rates and fall injury rates continue to increase significantly--interestingly, at a rate higher for women than for men. In fact, almost 2.0 million older Americans per year go to the emergency room, or are taken to the emergency room, for fall related injuries sustained both indoors and outdoors, as well.
 While these fatal fall deaths and nonfatal fall fractures lead to these findings because of the brittleness of the bones and their being more prone to breaking with age, these occurrences really are not limited just to senior citizens. In particular, more and more of these reportings have noted the increased numbers of injuries to skateboarders, skiers, ice skaters, motorcycle riders, bicyclists and just about anyone who happens to suffer a fall whether from a slip or from a trip, or otherwise.
OBJECTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
 It is an object of the present invention to deal with these situations by reducing the medical aspects of an injury resulting from a slip-and-fall accident.
 It is an object of the invention, also, to provide a solution that will go far in reducing the required medical treatment--and therefor its costs--in those instances where the slip-and-fall occurrence continues to result in injury, but through a reduction in the intensity thereof.
 It is a further object of the invention to effectively tailor the solution to those senior citizens and active persons who are more susceptible to slip-and-fall accident injuries than others may be.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 Understanding that as people age, they begin to lose mineral density in their bones, that a greater risk of bone fracture is presented when a senior adult who suffers from this condition falls, and that these fractures may take a longer time to heal because of the senior's advanced years (separate and apart from other medical complications that may be exacerbated by the fall) the present invention comprises a composite of articles of clothing with "impact softeners" of bubble-wrap composition as protective components.
 In one aspect of the invention, the impact softeners would be essentially patched at those areas of the body where experience has shown the most common types of injuries result from the slip or fall. In a second aspect of the invention, the entire area of clothing would be manufactured of such bubble-wrap composition. Both arrangements, however, will allow for the incorporation of different gauge thicknesses for the bubble-wrap for different types of activity applications.
 As will become clear from the following description, a preferred embodiment of the invention would entail the wearing of an entire article of impact softening bubble-wrap clothing under the user's own fabric clothes, to be eventually discarded and disposed of after one or several wearings dependent upon the quality and integrity of its individual manufacture. One advantage of such an arrangement would be that the user would just have to pay for the bubble-wrap article of wear instead of having to join with it the costs of whatever cloth fabric might have to be co-joined with the impact protector for those manufactures where the impact softener were provided only in the susceptible areas where injury might be caused. Also, as will be seen from this preferred arrangement, the bubble-wrap composition could also serve as a heat insulator within the user's own clothing, effective in the cooler climates in differing geographical areas, during different times of the year. And, further, if selected to be worn not under a portion of the user's clothing, the bubble-wrap composition could alternatively be worn over and outside of it, giving rise to an ability to have the bubble-wrap clothing not only of different gauge thicknesses, but with different colorations and designs in providing user selected fashion statements. An inexpensive manner of protection results with either arrangement and simply with the selection of size being determinant of whether the bubble-wrap is worn under or over the wearer's fabric clothing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 These and other features of the invention will be more fully understood from a consideration of the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
 FIGS. 1a-1c illustrate first embodiments of the invention to be worn as a unitary protective garment under a user's normal clothing wear; and
 FIGS. 2a-2c are illustrations of comparable articles of clothing embodying the invention, showing how an impact-softening cushion barrier can be provided only at selected areas to overlie different injury susceptible points on a user's body.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 Recognizing that the most susceptible areas of injury possible from a fall are the elbows, hips, knees, shoulders and tailbone, the present invention envisions the wearing of articles of clothing with "impact softeners" of bubble-wrap composition. The bubble wrap would serve as a protective barrier overlying the most susceptible areas of the body where an injury or fracture might occur--be it at an elbow area, a hip area, a knee area or a shoulder area of the wearer. Different gauge thicknesses of bubble-wrap will be understood as being available for selection based upon the activity level of the wearer, their body makeup, and the susceptibility to injury due to their advancing age. Thicker bubble-wrap might be a matter of choice, for example, for skateboarders, skiers, ice skaters, motorcycle riders, and bicyclists where the momentum built up during the activity usually leads to a "harder" impact with the ground as compared to a person who slips, trips and falls while just walking along a sidewalk and who just falls from dizziness. While children and younger adults are able to recover much faster from these recreation related injuries and with less discomfort, the protective clothing of the invention still can be considered to be a type of "armor shield" protector. In fact, athletes might consider the wearing of a full body version of the bubble-wrap material protector, especially when worn beneath their usual clothing attire. In either event, just the softening of the impact could well give rise to reducing the high medical costs associated with the care and treatment of such injury causes.
 Three utilizations of the invention are initially envisioned: a) a full length long-sleeve bubble-wrap shirt to be worn over a conventional undershirt to protect the upper-body, with a shirt or blouse then being worn over the bubble shirt; b) bubble-wrap shorts or diapers to be worn over fabric undershorts or panties to protect the hip area and tail-bone areas, with the bubble shorts or panties being worn under full length trousers, skirts or dresses; and c) bubble wrap capris worn under trousers, skirts, or pants that extend the impact protection to below the knee cap. Such utilizations are shown in FIG. 1A-1c, respectively, where the impact fall softening results from constructing the goods substantially entirely of bubble-wrap composition.
 And, as will be appreciated, existing articles of clothing could also be altered by the sewing of these bubble-wraps of impact-lessening protectors in the form of patches, at the elbows, the hips, the knees, the shoulders--and even the ankles--to provide an armor shielding type of protection where only the area to be protected follows the location of the bubble-wrap composition construction. This realization will be understood to be particularly useful in other instances where a wearer's actual impact with the ground might cause a bubble-wrap area to "pop". There, it would be desirable to just slide a replacement bubble-wrap into the "popped" area to continue the protection--available especially when the patches are initially inserted into receiving-type pockets on the garments in question. This utilization is shown in the comparable views of FIGS. 2a-2c where the receiving-type pocket is depicted at 12, to receive the bubble-wrap protector 10 in those instances where the bubble-wrap protector does not comprise the entire manufacture to begin with.
 A form of safety protection then results with the invention even in the event of a disquieting fall.
 While there have been described what are considered to be preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art that modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the teachings herein--for example, including appropriately sized aperture openings between; individual bubbles of the wrap as a means of promoting air circulation within the garment being worn in allowing it to breathe for added comfort. For at least such reason, therefore, resort should be had to the claims appended hereto for a true understanding of the invention.
Patent applications in class Shoulder protector
Patent applications in all subclasses Shoulder protector