When you think about remodeling or updating your bathroom, usually what comes to mind are things like new faucets, replacing your vanity, the need for extra storage space, and other matters related to aesthetics and convenience. However, many don’t think of installing any safety features in their bathroom.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 235,000 emergency room visits are the result of bathroom-related injuries. In addition:
- More than 1/3 of the injuries occurred in the tub or shower.
- More than 14% occurred while using the toilet.
- Throughout the U.S, more than 400 accidental drownings take place each year in household bathrooms.
- The vast majority of injuries happen to seniors and children.
Those are some pretty stunning statistics, and yet, most people don’t do much, if anything, to improve bathroom safety in their homes until after an injury or illness has already occurred.
Our advice? Be proactive and implement appropriate bathroom safety measures now before something happens.
- Equip showers with sturdy grab bars anchored to wall studs so they can support the full weight of an adult.
- A flexible handheld shower wand with an on/off button might be easier to use than a traditional shower head. These are especially useful in combination with shower chairs.
- Toilets can be replaced with ADA-approved raised-height models to lessen the chance of a harsh fall. Alternatively, raised-height seats can be installed on existing toilets.
- Get a medical alert system with an extra waterproof alert button to keep in the bathroom at all times.
- Make sure your water heater is set no higher than 120 degrees. For an added layer of protection, install a no-scald faucet or shower head valve.
- Some faucet handles are difficult for arthritic hands to grip and turn. These should be replaced with models that are easier for seniors to use.
- Replace your existing tub with a walk-in tub featuring a built-in bench. These facilitate easy access and exit and come with a seal-tight door that prevents water from escaping the tub. Available in many different styles, sizes, and colors.
For added bathroom safety, please also take heed of the following:
- Don’t let young children use the sink or tub without help.
- Install non-slip strips or mats in your tub or shower.
- Install non-slip flooring, such as rubber, cork, or non-glazed ceramic.
- Keep all medicines and cleaning products away from your children; even so, make sure they all have safety caps that are shut tightly.