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.
To keep yourself and your family safe in the tub and around the bathroom, there are some great ideas and products that help avoid falls, slips, and other incidents. From a nonslip matt 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 to improve your bathroom safety.
Keep You and Your Family Safe in the Bathroom with These Helpful Items
1. 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, for 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 terry cloth, cotton, fuzzy and other choices. The color can be matched to the rest of your bathroom décor, and it can add to the appearance as well as feeling soft on your feet and helping to 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, in houseware stores or 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 pushed 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. This is often used in places such as campers. The potential downside is that it can not be removed after application and alters the surface permanently.
2. Bathtub Chair
A bathtub chair is a stool with a small back on it, so no one slips off the back of the seat. These chairs have suction cups on the feet and span across the tub and even outside the tub. After installation, you can simply sit and lift your legs over the side of the tub. These chairs pair well with a handheld showerhead for seated showers.
3. Walk-In Tub
For a permanent change, where it is difficult to get in and out of the tub, a walk-in tub may be the solution. They 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. This is a more expensive solution but can be beneficial for those with disabilities or require easy access for bathing regularly. Once installed, it is cleaned as any other tub and can last the life of your home.
4. Grab Bars
Grab bars and handles can be installed throughout the bathroom and both inside and outside of the bath itself. Some attach to the side of the tub to help as you step into or out of the tub. Others will 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 be applied to other areas of the bathroom as well. Grab bars can be incredibly helpful in preventing injuries at the toilet and sink areas.
5. Utilize Proper Storage
In many bathrooms, there are soap and shampoo items that line the tub or the counters. If they fall, they create a tripping hazard. If they leak, the risk is even greater. It will cause 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.
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 is important to keep the floor clear, and all supplies put away and stored properly, and handles and bars can be added to help you in and out of the tub safely.