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How Dangerous Is Your Bathroom? 12 Safety Tips
Many of the injuries that occur every day happen in the home. Of these, a large portion occurs in the bathroom, where the water and clutter add to the risk of every day. As reported by the CDC, in 2008, approximately 235,000 people in the U.S. ages 15+ sustained nonfatal, unintentional injuries in bathrooms that resulted in treatment from emergency departments.
There are some great ideas and products that help avoid falls, slips, and other incidents to keep yourself and your family safe in the tub and around the bathroom. From a nonslip mat in the tub to a well-suited bath mat outside the tub, handles for help getting in and out of a tub, and walk-in tubs for those who are older or have mobility limitations, there are many ways to help improve your bathroom safety.
Keep You and Your Family Safe in the Bathroom with These Helpful Items
Put a Bath Mat Outside the Tub and Inside
The bathroom is the area of the home that has the highest risk of a wet and slippery floor. Water can splash from the sink or shower, and soap and shampoos can spill, making slippery surfaces. To add traction and reduce the risk of falling, a bath mat outside the tub can make getting in and out of the tub easier. In addition, inside the tub, several items offer increased grip and safety, including bars and safety mats.
When selecting a bath mat for outside the tub, choose one with a rubber backing to keep it from sliding on the floor. The top of the mat can be any type you prefer, which helps you feel confident in your step. There are memory foam versions, as well as terry cloth, cotton, fuzzy, and other choices. The color can be matched to the rest of your bathroom decor, and it can add to the appearance, feel soft on your feet, and help avoid slip-and-fall accidents when getting out of the tub.
For inside the tub, there are several options again, including small stickers in assorted shapes and sizes, full nonslip mats, or adding a texture to the bottom of the tub or shower itself. The stickers are easily found in many dollar stores, houseware stores, hardware stores, or even some grocery stores and are readily available to order online. They can be in shapes and colors that are great for children or adults, and there are even clear ones for those who prefer to be almost invisible.
Alternatives include a nonslip mat. These often have suction cups on the bottom that hold them steady in the bottom of the tub and tops that offer some cushion or texture for the feet. These are also widely available and installed quickly by simply unrolling and pushing down lightly to adhere to the tub floor. The last alternative is to spray a textured material directly onto the bottom of the tub or the shower to add texture and reduce the risk of slipping. The potential downside is that it can not be removed after application and alters the surface permanently.
Install a Bathtub Chair or Bench
Another valuable bathroom safety item is a shower bench or stool. A bathtub chair is a stool with a small back so no one slips off the back of the seat. These chairs have suction cups on the feet and span across and even outside the tub. After installation, you can simply sit and lift your legs over the side of the tub. These seating options provide comfort and stability while showering, making bathing a safer and more enjoyable experience.
A shower bench or stool can be an excellent choice for individuals with mobility issues or those who simply prefer a seated shower. They are designed to fit securely in the shower or bathtub and often come with non-slip features for added safety.
Pairing a shower bench or stool with a handheld showerhead allows for seated showers, providing independence and convenience for users. It's a practical solution for anyone looking to enhance their bathroom's safety and accessibility.
Consider a Walk-In Tub
A walk-in tub may be the perfect permanent solution to make it easy to get in and out of the tub. Walk-in tubs are created to have a seat and a door that swings open. Simply sit in the tub and close the door well, then fill the tub for your bath or use the shower head as preferred. While walk-in tubs are a more expensive solution, they can benefit those with disabilities or who require easy access to bathe regularly. Once installed, it is cleaned as any other tub and can last the life of your home. Click here to learn more about walk-in tubs vs. showers!
Install Grab Bars
Grab bars and handles can be installed throughout the bathroom and inside and outside the bath. Some attach to the side of the tub to help as you step into or out. Others attach to the wall inside the tub to lower yourself down and then raise yourself back up to get out of the tub. There is a selection of bars and handles for permanent installation that can be screwed into the walls. Those who rent or need help after an injury or surgery can install grab bars with suction cups that can be easily removed when you no longer need them.
The same idea can also be applied to other areas of the bathroom. Grab bars can be incredibly helpful in preventing injuries near the toilet and sink areas.
Store Items Properly
In many bathrooms, soap bottles line the tub or the counters. If they fall, they create a tripping hazard. If they leak, the risk is even greater, causing a slippery floor, and it can increase the likelihood of falls. Have only necessary items out and ensure they are closed and sealed well after each use. Also, keep the towels and other supplies in cupboards or shelves and place dirty towels directly in the hamper to avoid tripping hazards.
Temperature regulators are an essential addition to any bathroom, especially for those concerned about scalding accidents. These devices offer peace of mind by ensuring that the water temperature remains at a safe level. They are simple to install and provide added safety for all users.
These small yet effective devices can help prevent burns and scalds, particularly for children or seniors who may have difficulty regulating water temperature.
Bathroom safety is not just about preventing slips and falls during the day; nighttime visits to the bathroom can also pose risks. Motion-activated nightlights automatically illuminate the bathroom when motion is detected, providing essential visibility during those late-night trips.
Installing motion-activated nightlights in your bathroom is a simple yet effective way to enhance safety. By strategically placing motion-activated nightlights in key areas of the bathroom, such as near the toilet and along the path to the sink or shower, you can significantly reduce the risk of tripping or stumbling in the dark.
Raised Toilet Seat
A raised toilet seat can make a world of difference in the bathroom for individuals with mobility challenges or those recovering from surgery. These specialized seats fit securely on top of your existing toilet bowl, increasing its height. This elevation makes it easier to sit down on and stand up from the toilet, reducing strain on the knees and hips.
It's a simple yet impactful modification that can significantly enhance comfort and accessibility. Plus, it's a cost-effective alternative to replacing the entire toilet with an elevated model.
Raised toilet seats typically come with secure locking mechanisms to ensure stability during use. They're an excellent addition to any bathroom and are especially helpful for those with mobility limitations or who are temporarily recovering from injuries.
Shower Curtain Liner with Magnets
Ensuring bathroom safety goes beyond the obvious measures, and even seemingly minor details can make a significant difference. One often-overlooked element that can enhance bathroom safety is a shower curtain liner with magnets.
These innovative liners have magnets strategically placed along the bottom hem. When paired with a metal shower or bathtub, the magnets create a secure seal that keeps the liner in place. The result? A curtain that won't billow inward during your shower, preventing water from escaping and causing slippery bathroom floors.
A shower curtain liner with magnets is an excellent investment for maintaining a dry and safe bathroom environment. It minimizes the risk of water spilling onto the floor, reducing the chances of slipping accidents.
A fundamental aspect of bathroom safety that often goes unnoticed is proper lighting. Adequate lighting is essential for preventing accidents, especially during nighttime visits or in dimly lit bathrooms.
Ensure that your bathroom is well-lit, both during the day and at night. Well-placed light fixtures, including ceiling lights, wall sconces, or vanity lights, can significantly improve visibility and reduce the risk of tripping or stumbling.
Consider installing motion-activated nightlights, as mentioned earlier, to provide subtle illumination during nighttime bathroom trips. These lights activate when they sense motion, instantly brightening the space and ensuring you can navigate safely.
Bathroom safety isn't just about preventing everyday accidents; it's also about being prepared for unexpected situations. That's where emergency communication comes into play.
Consider installing an emergency communication device within reach in your bathroom, such as a waterproof phone, a panic button, or even a voice-activated device like a smart speaker with a voice assistant. In the event of an accident or sudden health issue, having a quick and easy way to call for help can be a lifesaver.
Emergency communication devices provide peace of mind, especially for those living alone or individuals with medical conditions that may require immediate assistance. It's a proactive safety measure that ensures you're never too far from help, even when you're in the bathroom.
Maintaining a safe bathroom environment isn't a one-time task; it's an ongoing commitment to safety. Regular maintenance is critical to ensuring that all safety features and fixtures in your bathroom remain effective.
Periodically check for loose tiles, fixtures, or plumbing issues that could create hazards. Promptly address any needed repairs or maintenance, including tightening grab bars, checking for leaks, and ensuring that non-slip surfaces remain functional.
Additionally, make it a habit to inspect and clean your bathroom regularly. Remove any clutter or items that may create tripping hazards. Ensure that towels, bath mats, and rugs are in good condition and not frayed or slippery when wet.
The bathroom can be a dangerous area in the home, but there are ways to make it safer and avoid slip-and-fall accidents. It’s essential to keep the floor clear, all supplies put away and stored properly, and handles and bars can be added to help you safely in and out of the tub.