US 3093839 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 18, 1963 A. J. HIGGINS 3,093,839
GUARD ACCESSORY FOR BEDS Filed Feb. 12, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 June 18, 1963 A. J. HIGGINS GUARD ACCESSORY FOR BEDS 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Feb. 12, 1962 Unite This invention relates to safety guard devices for application to beds and more particularly to a collapsing guard accessory designed to be readily attached as a unit to the side rail of a bed and arranged to occupy a collapsed position below the surface of the bedding as well as an operating position projecting sufficiently above the bedding to prevent the occupant from rolling OK the bed.
The sick and the infirm have need for reliable and effective means safeguarding against rolling off the bed. Other persons sometimes need simple but reliable means for discouraging their attempts to leave the bed while recovering from an illness. To meet these and the like needs there have been proposed many types of restraints or safeguards some of which are designed as a part of the bed itself while others comprise devices adapted to be attached to an existing bed and to remain there temporarily so long as the need exists. The latter type of devices include various arrangements of belts extend ing across the bedding as well as side frames or guards attachable to the main frame of the bed and arranged closely along the side of the bed to the requisite height. These devices commonly depend on various expedients and arrangements for removing or lowering the guard barrier to permit access to the patient or to make it possible for the patient to transfer his feet and weight to the floor without hindrance from the guard device. However, these. various devices and prior proposals are subject to numerous disadvantages and shortcomings sought to be obviated by the present invention. For example, it has been proposed to pivot the guard rail about a horizontal axis in an arc about the side of the bed. This requires adequate free space along the entire side of the bed and oftentimes the moving of the bed itself or chairs, medicine stands or other equipment customarily present. Also this type of guard when lowered restricts or prohibits access to the space beneath the bed. Other types are mounted for vertical sliding movement parallel to the side of the bed and though avoiding certain objections of other types are subject to other disadvantages.
Other proposals relate to a great variety of designs for collapsing guard rails arranged to fold in some manner to an inactive position restricted as nearly as possible to the side of the mattress so as not to block access to the space beneath the bed. A particularly serious objection to these various designs is the risk of injury to the operator or to the occupant of the bed when attempts are made to operate the guard. This danger has been a particularly serious one during the collapsing movement because of the many opportunities presented for the fingers or hands to become jammed between the collapsing parts. Also it has been found that such devices are unnecessarily difficult to operate and are particularly subject to binding action making it difficult if not impossible to move them freely and easily bet-ween their extreme positions. Because of this, it is a common occurrence for nurses, attendants and other personnel to avoid using such devices or else to leave them extended, either of which courses is disadvantageous and hazardous.
Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide an improved unitary self-erecting but manually collapsible side guard accessory adapted to be detachably secured to the side of a bed to protect an occupant of the bed against falling or leaving the bed when it is unsafe to do so.
i The accessory is completely self-contained and includes States aten Patented June 18,. 1963 ice simple but rugged clamping devices by which it may be rigidly clamped to the side rail of a bed. Counterbalancing springs are arranged between the mounting or clamping assemblies and the folding guard in such manner as to urge the guard away from its fully collapsed position toward its extended operating position. The number of pivotally connected members is held to a minimum and the areas of connection of these are so designed and arranged as to minimize if not eliminate the risk of injury to the hand of the operator or of the bed occupant during the collapsing operation. This risk is further reduced by the resilient counterbalancing means which acts automatically to move the components farther apart instantly that collapsing pressure is relaxed. Another feature is the fact that the pivotal connections are so arranged as not to cause binding between the parts.
The spring counterbalance serves additionally to hold certain of the components assembled to one another thereby adding to the simplicity and economy of design.
Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present inven tion to provide an improved, simplified, highly-reliable folding bed guard accessory occupying, when collapsed, a minimum of vertical height restricted to a vertical zone above the side rail but below the top of the bedding.
Another object of the invention is the provision of a unitary side guard accessory for attachment to hospital and the like beds and featuring built-in resilient counterbalancing means for urging and lifting the components toward their fully extended position and wherein the angular relationships between the relatively movable components is such as to avoid risk of trapping or injuring the operator, his clothing or the bedding.
Another object of the invention is the provision of collapsing side guard assembly for a bed wherein the horizontal components have compound joints with other components and are so arranged as to avoid binding action during operation of the guard and arising from various causes including variations in manufacturing tolerances and faulty assembly of the clamping devices to the bed side rail.
These and other more specific objects will appear upon reading the following specification and claims and upon considering in connection therewith the attached drawings to which they relate.
Referring now to the drawings in which a preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated,
FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view of a typical bedstead having the guard accessory of the present invention installed thereon and locked in its extended guarding position;
FIGURE 2 is a view similar to FIGURE 1 but showing the guard accessory locked in one of its substantially fully collapsed positions;
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary view on an enlarged scale taken along line 3--3 on FIGURE 1 and showing details of the mounting assembly for clamping the accessory to the bed;
FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary view taken along line 4-4 on FIGURE 3;
FIGURE 5 is a sectional view taken along line 55 on FIGURE 3;
FIGURE 6 is a fragmentary view with parts broken away taken along line 6-6 on FIGURE 1, and showing the second of the two mounting assemblies;
FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary view on an enlarged scale partly in section showing details of the compound joint between one of the end members and the horizontal connections;
FIGURE 8 is a View similar to FIGURE 3 but showing the lock device in unlocked position in opposition to the spring normally holding it in locking position; and
FIGURE 9 is a fragmentary view similar to FIGURE 4 but showing the guard assembly locked in the position illustrated in FIGURE 1.
Referring now more particularly to FIGURES 1 and 2, there is shown a preferred embodiment of the present side guard accessory, designated generally 10, attached to a conventional bedstead 11. As there shown by Way of example, bed 11 comprises a footboard 12 and a headboard 13 rigidly interconnected along the opposite sides by angular steel side rails 14. Suitably supported on these side rails is a typical resilient mattress-supporting structure. 15 supporting suitable bedding including the usual mattress indicated generally by the dot-and-dash lines 16. p The unitary guard accessory 10 includes a pair of similar but slightly different mounting assemblies 20, 21 and a collapsing guard assembly 22 pivotally secured thereto. Mounting assembly 20, best shown in FIG- URES 3 and 8, will be understood as including a wide rigid main body member 25 formed from strip metal. The jaw-shaped lower end 26 of member 25 is shaped to embrace and snugly clip over the lower lateral edge of the side flange of the angular side rail 14. Cooperating'with body member 25 to hold it rigidly clamped to the side rail are one and preferably two J-shaped clamping members 28 having threaded shanks 29 extending through openings in the center portion of main body 25. The latter holes are so positioned that shanks 29 rest directly against the upper flange of side rail 14 in a manner to hold jaw 26 of body member 25 substantially in the immovable position shown in FIGURE 3.
Although the present drawing does not so indicate, it will be understood that body member 25 may be and preferably is provided with a series of vertically spaced holes to receive the threaded shanks 29 as necessary to accommodate side rails 14 having flanges of differing widths. It will likewise be understood that although a side 'rail of angular design is shown, clamping assemblies 20, 21 may be suitably modified to permit securing them to side rails of other types and designs including wide wooden side rails. Nuts 30 threaded over the outer ends of clamping members 28 serve to clamp the assemblies rigidly and immovably to the side rails.
Securely fixed, as by welding, in an opening through the midportion or stem of member 25 is a tubular journal 32 open at its ends and pivotally seating therein a pivot pin 33. Journal 32 is sufliciently long to provide a wide based rigid support for the folding guard assembly to which the outer end of pin 33 is rigidly secured. A strong torsion spring 35 encircles the inner end of journal 32 with its innerend 36 bearing against clamping bolt 28 at the junction of the latter with body member 25, as best appears in FIGURE 4. The other end 37 of the spring encircles one end of a keeper pin 38 anchored in an opening passing through the end of pivot pin 33 as is shown in FIGURE 3. Keeper 38 may be detachably held in assembled position in any suitable manner, as by nut 40'. Desirably spring 35 is normally under axial compressive load in its assembled position so as to urge pivot pin 33 to the right as viewed in FIGURE 3. In this manner the end member of the folding guard is held firmly seated against the outer end of journal tube 32. A description of "the locking means forming part of mounting assembly will be'given presently and after the folding guard itself has been described.
Guard assembly 22 includes a pair of generally similar elongated rigid end members 43, 44 (FIGURE 1) gen erally parallel to one another and having their lower ends welded or otherwise immovably secured to the headed outer ends 45 of pivot pins 33. As will be recognized, rigid attachment of the pivot pins to end members 43 and 44 is necessary to transmit the counterbalancing energy of the torsion springs to the end members. Pivotally interconnecting end members 43, 44 at spaced points therealongare a plurality. of parallel generally horizontal tubular members 47, 48, 49. Desirably, one end of at least two of these tubes is connected to one of the end members a compound joint assembly permitting both telescopic and pivotal movement with respect to the end members and effective to prevent binding and assuring free and effortless pivotal movement of the guard assembly components throughout their range of movement. The third tube 47 need not include the telescopic feature and is preferably located at the top of the guard assembly.
The adjacent edges of the two end members 43, 44 are preferably provided with tangs which tangs may be either integral with the end members or welded thereto, as is indicated in FIGURE 7. The outer free ends of tangs 50 are formed with openings pivotally seating the shorter end 51 of L-shaped round hinge members 52. The longer legs of the similar hinge members at the right hand end of tubes 48 and 49 are welded to these tubes since the telescopic action at one end of the two lower tubes 48, 49 sufiices. However, the longer leg 52 of the hinge members at the left hand end of tubes 48 and 49 have free telescopic sliding relationship within the tubes adequate to provide a long strong bearing connection and permitting relative telescopic movement over a considerable range. The significance of this important structural feature will be explained in greater detail below.
The means for holding the described guard accessory locked selectively in a number of different positions as desired will now be described with particular reference to FIGURES 3, 4, 5 and 8. As here shown, this locking device comprises an L-shaped operating member 60 normally occupying the inverted position best shown in FIG- URES 3 and 8 and extending along the forward face of and member 43. Looking member 60 is pivotally supported on a pin 61 mounted in ears 62 welded to the face of end member 43. The locking end comprises shorter leg 64 which extends through an elongated opening 65 (FIGURE 8) formed in member 43. Locking member 65 is normally urged to its upright locking position by a tension spring 66, one end of this spring being connected to latch member 64 by eye-bolt 68 and the other end being anchored to end members 43 by a similar eye-bolt 69.
Referring now to FIGURE 4, it is pointed out that the upper arcuate end 70 of clamping member 25 is formed with any desired number of detent notches 71, 72, 73 positioned to seat and interlock with latch member 64 depending upon the position in which it is desired to support guard assembly 22. Notch 71 receives latch 64 to lock guard assei lbly 22 in its fully erected guarding position as shown in FIGURE 1. Detent notch 72, on the other hand, locks the guard in an intermediate though substantially fully collapsed position, whereas notch 73 locks the components in their maximum position of collapse or retraction.
The second mounting or clamping assembly 21 is identical with the first described assembly 20 except for slight distinctions. In the first place, the single locking device 60 suiiices for all except extreme security applications. Accordingly, only a single locking device is shown in the present drawing and this is preferably and customarily located at the foot end of the bed where it is inaccessible to the occupant. However, it will be understood that the use of a single latch 60 does not necessarily prevent the occupant of the bed from operating the guard. In certain applications this is undesirable. In such cases identical latching devices are provided, there being one on each mounting assembly 20, 21, thereby making it necessary for an attendant to use his two outstretched hands to operate the locking devices simultaneously and making it extremely ditficult if not impossiblefor the bed occupant to release and lower the guard. The second difference in assembly 21 is the provision of a stop tab 75 integral with and projecting outwardly from the right hand edge of member 25, as shown in FIGURES 1 and 6. This stop engages the adjacent edge of end member 44 to limit clockwise pivotal movement of the guard assembly 22. A similar stop may be provided on mounting assembly 20 if desired.
The mode of use of the described guard accessory will be obvious from the foregoing detailed description and the mode of operation of the several components. To attach the accessory to a bed, clamping members 28 are loosened sufficiently to permit the clamps to seat over the edges of bed side rail 14. Before tightening clamping nuts 30, only ordinary care is necessary with respect to the spacing of mounting assemblies 20, 21 along rail 14. Desirably, guard assembly 22 is first released to its extended position and reasonable care is taken to have end members 43, 44 generally parallel and vertical to one another. This simple check having been made, assemblies 20, 21 are so spaced and arranged along rail 14 that legs 52' forming part of the hinge connection between tubes 48, 49 and the end members are in an intermediate posi tion wherein they may telescope into and out of tubes 48, 49. After making a rough check of this condition, the assembler tightens nuts 3i) of the clamping devices until accessory is firmly and rigidly clamped to the side rail. This completes the assembly operation and the accessory may be collapsed or extended simply by first releasing latch member 60, 64 out of engagement with notches 71, 72, 73.
Thus, placing the hand on upper tube 47 and pressing downwardly to the left as viewed in FIGURE 1 while latch 60 is held in release position is effective to collapse the guard to the position shown in FIGURE 2 whereupon latch end 64 enters notch 72 to lock the parts in this position. At this time all components lie in a compact vertical plane opposite the side of the bed and substantially in the position shown in FIGURE 2. At other times and particularly when changing the bedding, the guard assembly is latched in its fully collapsed position with latch 64- locked in notch 73. At this time the upper tube 47 and the two end members 43, 44 will be positioned below the top level of the mattress supporting structure thereby permitting the bedding, including the mattress, to be freely manipulated without hindrance from the guard assembly.
Extension of the guard is accomplished simply by pulling latch handle 60 outwardly whereupon torsion springs 35 automatically elevate and extend guard assembly 22 without need for the operator applying any lifting force to any part. Desirably, the torsion springs become substantially fully extended and ineffective as the parts reach their fully extended position so that there is no risk of the guard being extended forcibly or coming to rest abruptly against stop 75. If the assembly fails to reach its fully extended position, the attendant merely applies the slight necessary force, whereupon latch 64 closes into notch 71 to lock the parts in position.
While the particular guard accessory for beds herein shown and disclosed in detail is fully capable of attaining the objects and providing the advantages hereinbefore stated, it is to be understood that it is merely illustrative of the presently preferred embodiments of the invention and that no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown other than as defined in the appended claims.
1. A side guard accessory adapted to be detachably mounted along the side of a bed to prevent an occupant falling from the bed when the accessory is in the extended guarding position thereof, said guard accessory comprising a pair of clamp assemblies securable to the side frame of a bed near the opposite ends thereof, a collapsing guard assembly having generally parallel rigid end members pivotally interconnected by a plurality of generally parallel rigid members, means pivotally connecting the lower ends of said end members to a respective one of said clamp assemblies, said guard assembly being shiftable in the plane of said end and said connecting members between an upright extended position and a compactly folded collapsed position close to the side frame of a bed on which said accessory is mounted, counterbalance means eflective to urge said guard assembly away from said collapsed and toward the said upright extended position thereof, and means for rigidly and positively locking said guard assembly selectively in different positions including said extended and said collapsed positions.
2. A guard accessory as defined in claim 1 characterized in that said counterbalance means includes spring means connected between one of said end members and a stationary anchor therefor and effective to urge said guard assembly to pivot upwardly away from said collapsed position toward the extending position thereof in opposition to gravity forces tending to collapse the guard assembly, thereby rendering the assembly self-erecting and eliminating the risk of injury to any person close to the assembly.
3. A guard accessory as defined in claim 1 characterized in that said counterbalance means comprises torsion spring means encircling the pivot connection between said end member and the associated one of said clamp assemblies and having the opposite ends thereof bearing re spectively against said end member and said one clamp assembly.
4. A guard as defined in claim 3 characterized in that said counterbalance means includes a pair of said torsion spring means each similarly connected between a different one of said end members and an associated one of said clamp assemblies and cooperating to counterbalance said guard assembly substantially to the said extended upright position thereof.
5. A side guard accessory as defined in claim 1 characterized in that said pivotal connections between said end members and said generally horizontal connecting members includes at least one telescopic joint structure and at least one nontelescoping joint structure thereby permitting the parts of said guard assembly to be collapsed together more compactly in a vertical sense.
6. A unitary self-erecting manually collapsible bed guard accessory adapted to be detachably clamped to the side frame of a bed to safeguard invalids and the like from rolling out of bed, said accessory comprising a pair of main supports adapted to be placed against the vertical face of a bed side rail near the opposite ends thereof with one end of said support embracing a lateral edge of the side rail, adjustable clamping means carried by each of said main supports and engageable firmly about the other lateral edge of the side rail for clamping said main supports rigidly to the ide rail, a pair of elongated rigid end members having their lower ends pivotally connected one to each of said main supports and including counterbalancing spring means urging said end members away from a substantially horizontal collapsed position to an upright extended position, a plurality of parallel-arranged rigid guard members pivotally connected at their ends to spaced-apart points along said end members, and manually actuated latch means operably connected between one end member and one of said main supports for positively locking said end and guard members selectively in any one of a plurality of position-s including the collapsed and upright positions thereof.
7. A bed guard accessory as defined in claim 6 characterized in that the pivotal connection between said end members and said guard members is offset from one lateral edge of the main body portion of said end members to facilitate more compact collapse of said accessory and to minimize risk of pinching the operators or the pat-ients fingers during folding of the accessory toward its collapsed position.
8. A bed guard accessory as defined in claim 7 characterized in that said pivotal connection between said end members and said main supports includes tubular journal means fixed to and extending thnough said main support on an axis normal thereto, said end members having a pin fixed thereto and journaled in said journal means, said counterbalancing spring means comprising a torsion spring encircling said journal means with one end anchored to said main support and its other end anchored to said pin.
9. A bed guard accessory as defined in claim 8 characterized in that said torsion spring is connected to the end of said pin remote from the end thereof fixed to said end member and serving additionally to lock the end member assembled .to said main support and to urge said pin and the end member fixed thereto axially of said journal means and into bearing contact With one end of the journal means.
10. A bed guard accessory as defined in claim 61 characterized in that said guard members include a plurality of tubes at least a plurality of which include a pair of telescopic sections near one end thereof with the remotely spaced ends of said pair of telescopic sections pivotally connected to a different one of said rigid end members.
11. A bed guard accessory as defined in claim 6' characterized in that said latch means comprises an elongated member pivoted transversely thereof to one of said end members and having a portion [thereof movable into and out of positive locking engagement with any of a plurality of detent recesses formed in the associated one of said rnain supports.
12. Ina unitary self-erecting manually collapsible guard accessory adapted to be detachably clamped to an angleiron type bed side rail, said accessory including a folding guard assembly having a pair of rigid parallel end members pivotally connected by a plurality of rigid parallel members extending lengthWise of one side of a bed, said accessory including an improved pair of mounting assemblies pivotally attached one to the lower end of each of said end members, said mounting assemblies each comprising a pair of J-shaped members adjustably connected together in their stem portions and with the jaw portions thereof snugly adapted to embrace the opposite lateral edges of a bed side rail, one of said J-shaped members having a plate-like stem adapted to be disposed vertically against the corresponding face of the side rail and having a long horizontally disposed tubular journal fixed thereto intermediate the ends of said journal, a pivot pin fixed to and projecting from the lower portion of one of said guard assembly end members and extending through said journal, torsion spring means encircling said journal with one end seated against one of said Jr-shaped members and its other end anchored to the free end of said pivot pin and effective to resiliently counterbalance said guard assembly away from the collapsed and toward the extended operating position thereof, and manually operable positivelyacting latch means movably mounted on one of said mounting assemblies and eficctive to lock said guard assembly selectively in different positions.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,817,855 Pratt Dec. 31, 1957 2,817,856 De Witt et a1 Dec. 31, 1957 2,823,087 Zimmer Feb. 11, 1958