How many times a day do you go to the bathroom? It is likely the first room you go into in the morning and the last one at night. But bathrooms are often the site of serious – and preventable accidents. In fact, about 230,000 people a year are injured in the bathroom, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seniors and young children are particularly at risk. Given that, here are some tips for keeping your bathroom safer.
First, some tips specifically for seniors.
1. Install a walk in tub or shower so you do not have to step up.
2. Put a seat in the shower.
3. Install a handheld or adjustable shower head that allows you to minimize movement in the shower. You can also use it while sitting.
4. Install grab bars in the shower and bathtub, and by the toilet.
5. Purchase toilets that are 17 inches to 19 inches high, or purchase toilet seat risers.
Here are some tips specifically for keeping children safe.
6. Always supervise. Do not leave young children alone in a bathtub. They can drown in a few inches of water, and in just seconds.
7. Keep all medicines in containers with safety caps. Store them (and cosmetics and cleaning supplies) high and out of reach in a locked cabinet.
8. Cover electrical outlets when not in use.
9. Place electric appliances such as hair dryers, electric razors and curling irons away from water. Unplug them and store them in a locked cabinet when not in use.
10. Install ground fault circuit interrupters for added safety.
11. Make sure all surfaces are skid-proof – especially the shower and bathtub.
12. Make sure the floor is ALWAYS dry.
13. Avoid throw rugs, as they can be the reason for trips and falls. If you have to have them, make sure they have a grip on the bottom.
14. Accidents are more likely to happen in the dark. Have a night light in the bathroom.
15. Set the water heater to a reasonable setting so you or your children do not get scalded.
16. Attach everything securely, from towel racks to toilet paper holders to grab bars.