Is Your Bathroom a Safe Haven or a Minefield?



By Michael Masson

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A bathroom should be a safe place. It should be warm, cozy, and inviting, a place for revitalization andreflection. Of all of the rooms in your house, it should be the safest, but unfortunately it also hides many dangers. We may overlook these dangers believing that such an intimate space would inherently be safe. It can be, but attention must be paid to the risks that every bathroom poses.

I'm going to go through some simple, effective methods to make your bathroom as safe and welcoming as possible.  The greatest danger in any bathroom is the possibility of slipping, falling, and harming oneself. The water in the bathroom can easily splash on the floor, causing a slip hazard. There are close to 200,000 bathroom accidents every year. This accounts for a full 70% of all household accidents. These dangerous situations can easily be avoided.

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First, keep the floor free from water as much as possible. Ensure there are no leaks in the sink or toilet, andif using a shower obtain a lined shower curtain to keep the water from spraying out. Some people have young children or pets and often find the floor wet. If this is the case, it's a good idea to keep something handy like a mop or spare towel to clean away the water immediately.

Second, remove any loose throw rugs and replace them with non-slip bathroom rugs. Most slips occur when transferring between the shower and the bathroom floor. A non-slip rug will help alleviate this risk. Hardware and bathroom stores also have adhesive non-slip strips that can be attached to any rug for more stability.

One of the best safety additions to any bathroom is a handrail for the shower, tub, and toilet. Most stair risers have a 6-8″ clearance between steps and most stairs are built with handrails. The average tub has a 13″ clearance, yet most tubs and showers are built without them. Be careful not to mistake towel racks for handrails. Towel racks are not meant to bear all that much weight. Secure handrails will ensure safe transitions through the entire bathroom.

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One of the best safety additions to your shower is also the simplest. A shower seat or bench will allow the occupant of the shower to leisurely wash themselves without fear of falling. This will be especially important for those with weak legs, or trouble standing for long periods of time, or after a major surgical procedure. It's also important to keep the bottom of the tub clean and free from soap residue, as this increases the chance of slippage.

One aspect of shower safety that is often overlooked is the shower fixture. There is a greater chance for an accident when an occupant has to move, bend, or stretch to adjust the temperature or the water flow. Some fixtures are difficult to maneuver for people with arthritis. Install the fixtures within reach of the occupant and test them to make sure they are easy to use.

The tub and shower are not the only areas that can compromise safety. Some senior citizens have difficulty sitting down and standing up from the toilet because the seat is often installed low to the ground. A seat extension can be added to make the process much easier. Adding handrails around the toilet would also ensure its safety.

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Make sure that there is sufficient lighting in the bathroom, and the light switch should be placed near the doorwhere it is easy to find. Also, keep the tub and sink area free of electrical devices such as radios or blow dryers. These can prove very dangerous if they should slip into the water while they are plugged in.

Most of these safety precautions can be addressed by installing a Walk-in Tub in your bathroom. A Walk-in Tub provides the convenience and luxury of a bathtub. It also provides something even more important when speaking of bathroom safety: peace of mind. A Walk-in Tub eliminates many of the dangers inherent in tubs and showers, while addressing many of the safety concerns already mentioned.

As previously stated, most tubs have a 13″ clearance to negotiate.  Walk-in Tubs have a six-inch clearance for easy access. This lowered entry height means you no longer have to worry about handrails or making that big step. Just open the door, enter, and sit down. Inside the tub are additional handrails for sitting and standing in the tub.

Photo credit: tubking.com
One tip I mentioned earlier was to install a seat or bench in your shower. The Walk-in Tub has anADA-compliant, slip-resistant safety seat installed for your convenience. The door of the tub has a patented locking system with a watertight seal to insure less water spillage on the bathroom floor. Our tubs come from the factory with a slip-resistant floor so there is no need to install non-slip adhesive strips.

Another safety tip I mentioned was the importance of easy-to-reach fixtures. All of the fixtures installed in our Walk-in Tubs are perfectly positioned so that the seated occupant can reach them with ease. They're ADA-compliant and customizable to your individual tastes.

At the end of a long day, you don’t want to see your bathroom as an obstacle course. It shouldn’t be a series of challenges to be overcome. Your bathroom should be a welcome refuge designed to eliminate the stresses of the world. The last thing you want to worry about in the bathroom is coping with the possibility of being injured.  You want your bathroom to be a safe haven, not a minefield.


 Walk-in Tub Buyer's Guide

In this article, I discussed the potential dangers that exist in any bathroom, especially for seniors. I also shared ways to eliminate these dangers to make your bathroom a safer environment.  If you enjoyed reading this article, please leave a comment in the Comments section below. Feel free to share this with your family, friends and colleagues as well. 

Michael Masson is a guest blogger for Tub King, Inc., and SeniorBathtub.com in Jacksonville, Florida. Tub King is a Walk-in tub distributer with many years of experience in the senior bathtub industry. This company not only provides superior products, it is also as multi-award-winner, having received the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” three years running. To contact Tub King, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231 or email alan@tubking.com. 

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