Your bathroom may not be as safe as you think. Studies by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention found that approximately 285,000 people every year make a visit to an emergency room due to bathroom injuries.
Everyone is vulnerable to bathroom injuries, but the injuries are more frequent with the young and the old. Though senior citizens stand the greatest chance of severe injury, you should take precautionary measures to make your bathrooms safe for everyone. The good news is that there are very easy ways to protect yourself, and your family. Here are a few of the simplest and least expensive preventive measures:
- Place non-slip rubber mats in front of lavatories, toilets, and showers/baths.
- Install grab bars inside and outside of the shower/bath and on either side of toilets. Without grab bars many people try steadying themselves on towel racks, which aren’t meant to support weight.
- Make sure the bathroom has easily accessible, bright lights. Motion-sensor night lights are also a great for acclimating yourself to the bathroom and preventing missteps in the dark.
- Hand-held shower heads attached to a flexible hose are easy to use and discourage contorting bodies for hard-to-reach areas while showering. Most are no more expensive than fixed shower heads. Plus, they are handy for cleaning the tub or shower.
- Check the temperature of your water heater. Approximately 21,000 children every year are treated for scald burns. Make sure your water heater is set no higher than 120°F (49°C) to prevent scalding in the shower. Or, have us install a mixing valve for you.
- Sit-down showers are available with a built-in chair; flexible hose shower head, grab bars, curbless step-in, and other senior-friendly features. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of installing a new shower, some existing shower stalls are big enough to accommodate a folding waterproof shower seat that attaches to the wall.
- Toilet seat risers are a great investment. This places your toilet height a couple of inches higher than the standard 14-15 inches. This accessory allows you to gain full balance and composure without slipping or sliding. Toilet seat risers are also removable, and will not hinder small children from having easy toilet access.
- Keep water off the floor. The best way to attack a problem is from the source, water splashes from the sink or shower are the primary suspects in bathroom falls. Rubber and sponged mops are a great option for getting water off of tiled surfaces. Also, weighted curtains can help ensure that there are no water leaks while bathing.
None of these accommodations detract from accessibility or attractiveness. In fact, they are part of a bathroom trend known as “universal design,” which has come into prominence because of our aging population. The universal design is not only safer; it looks great and allows a lot of creativity. If you have any questions or concerns about our bathroom safety suggestions, just give us a call.