You might be surprised by the number of bathroom injuries that occur annually. Between wet, slippery floors and rugs that won’t stay put, thousands of nonfatal bathroom accidents occur every single year. A bathtub or shower can be especially dangerous, and most problems occur when we’re getting in and out of them. These tips are designed to help you stay safe the next time you or a loved one is using the shower or bathtub.
Don’t clutch doors for balance. Some people rely on their shower door to help stabilize them as they get in or out of the shower. However, these doors are not meant to bear our weight and can easily bend or break under the pressure. Instead of relying on your shower door for balance, install a railing near your shower entrance and another on the walls inside your shower.
Toss unsafe features. In addition to using the shower door for balance, some people rely on towel racks or shelving to help them get in and out of the tub or shower. Don’t do this. Again, it’s important to install features in your bathroom that are meant to bear your weight, such as a grab bar. If you’re tempted to grab onto anything else as you enter or exit the bath, remove it and replace it with a grab bar to stay safe.
Test the water. Many people turn the water on, allow it to run for a few seconds, and then jump into the bath or shower without a second thought. Instead, prevent accidental burns by first checking the water with your fingertips. Once the faucet or showerhead is on, allow the water to run over your hand for a moment. Or if you or your child is taking a bath, place your hand in the standing water before entering the tub. Adjust the temperature as needed until the water is comfortable.
Never leave children unattended. It only takes two inches of water to drown. Never step away from a small child or elderly person you are helping to bathe in a shower or tub. Use drain covers and waterspout guards to prevent anyone from injuring their head, fingers, or toes as they bathe. And ensure that the toilet lid is closed and locked to keep children from playing in the toilet and to prevent an accidental drowning.
Update your outlets. All outlets in your bathroom should be GFCI outlets, which are much safer than traditional outlets and can help you avoid electrocution.
Use non-slip bath mats. We’re often tempted to place soft, fuzzy rugs on our bathroom floors. While some have rubber backs, most do not. Use non-slip mats throughout your bathroom to help prevent falls. Save the soft rugs for other rooms in your home.
Bathrooms, and especially our showers and bathtubs, can be dangerous. Luckily there are many ways we can prevent injuries to ourselves and our families when using them. By following these safety measures, you’ll be one step closer to bathroom safety.