Did you know the bathroom, along with the kitchen, have the potential to be one of the most dangerous rooms in the house?* According to the National Safety Council, research shows that nearly 200,000 accidents occur each year in the bathroom. In order to take precautions so that there are less falls, slips and scaldings, below are 5 safety basics that can child and senior proof your bathroom.
1. Simplify the shower/tub entry: Less clutter is always a good start to clear your shower entry. Try installing dispensers so that there will be less shampoo and shower gel bottles. Also, there are now walk-in shower areas that don’t require climbing. However, avoid choosing sunken tubs with steps, because steps are a slipping hazard. A level platform area around the shower or tub is much better. It is also a good idea to avoid curbs at the point of the walk-in entrance.
2. Do not lock the door: This might be a simple idea, but with most people preferring privacy, it can lead to complications when there is a medical crisis. This problem can happen to anyone of any age – not just children or seniors.
3. A good grip: Installing a grab bar next to the toilet and near the shower is an easy and inexpensive way to give anyone added support. However, many visible bars are poorly anchored to the wall, and a slipping adult who reaches for it will exert a lot more weight. A simple solution is to install a grab bar that solidly connects to the structure of the walls.
4. Choosing the right size does matter: Accommodating both a child and a senior can be difficult when it comes to picking the right toilet. Older adults tend to have mobility issues and stooping too low to sit on a standard 15 inch toilet can be very difficult. There are two simple solutions for this problem – molded plastic or adjustable seats that attach to an existing toilet. For families with children living in a household with the elderly, it’s best to have removable molded plastic seats –ensure it’s securely attached while in use so that there won’t be any slips!
5. A hot shower? Think again: A hot shower is a luxury – but for children and seniors, hot water can burn their skin easily. Many tend to look at the tap colors to differentiate between hot and cold. Knob-style fixtures definitely add to scalding dangers. It’s better to use lever-style fixtures and the National Kitchen & Bath Association recommends installing temperature controlled valves in the bath and shower to prevent injuries.