Many people consider their bathroom to be one of the most important and relaxing rooms in their house. However, it can also be the most dangerous. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that around 370 Americans are injured each day from bathroom-related injuries. These injuries affect people of all ages and are primarily related to incidents involving the bathtub and shower. For example, drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury deaths of children under 4 and the second leading cause of death for those 14 and under. On the opposite end of the age spectrum, older adults fall once every 18 seconds, and every 35 minutes someone in the US dies from these injuries.
As such, January is National Bath Safety Month. During this month, consumers are reminded to take extra precautions to make sure their bathroom is properly equipped for the young and old.
Follow these tips to make sure your bathroom is as safe as possible:
- Make sure your bathtub or shower has nonskid mats or strips on the standing area
- For seniors, consider replacing a bathtub with a comfortable shower that is easily accessible
- Safety glass or plastic should be installed on bathtub or shower doors
- Install safety grip handles in the shower or sloping safety bar brackets on the tub
- Keep electrical appliances away from water, such as the bathtub/shower or sink
- Consider installing toilet seat locks so children don’t fall into water or throw in your valuables (or other objects causing plumbing issues)
- Consider elevated toilet seats with armrests so seniors can get up from the toilet if they have problem with knees/legs
- In case of emergency such as sickness or a hard fall, consider installing a phone line in the bathroom that is easily accessible
- If your bathroom has carpet – get rid of it. The bathroom is the room with the most bacteria, and this one step will help you cut down significantly
- Make sure your bathroom cabinets are childproof – they could contain poisonous substances
- Keep Poison Control stickers in each bathroom in the event of accidental poisoning
- Never leave a baby unattended in the tub, even just for a minute
- Prevent water burns by turning the default max on the hot water heater to 120 degrees
- Space heaters in the bathroom could cause electrical shocks – avoid using them here
- Secure all sharp-edged objects. Razors in the wrong hands could hurt someone
- If you have a lock, remove it from the inside of the bathroom door for living situations with children or the elderly; you may be unable to assist in the event of an emergency
Keep your ability to live independently and care for those you love in check by abiding by these safety precautions!