Safety at Home – Your Bathroom
The CDC reports that over 230,000 people (15 years and older) visit emergency rooms every year due to injuries that happen in bathrooms—and 14 percent are admitted for prolonged hospital stays. Injuries include burns, falls, and near drowning.
In order to stay safe, here’s what to look out for in the bathroom:
It should be common sense but bares repeating – child bath-time is for splashing, playing, and getting squeaky clean, but it should never be done without supervision. Children can drown in a matter of minutes in as little as two inches of standing water. So if you’re filling up the tub or letting it drain, stay in the bathroom until it’s empty.
Many seniors also have accidents in the tub. Most falls occur while seniors are transferring in and out of the tub or shower. You can eliminate the risk with these safety features:
- Install grab bars in the shower, beside the tub and at the toilet.
- Place a non-slip mat or decals on the floor of the shower or bathtub and a non-slip rug on the floor outside the tub or shower. Non-slip mats – rather than fluffy rugs – are also the way to go in front of the toilet and the sink.
- Use a shower chair so your senior can sit while showering and prevent slips and falls. Make sure the chair has a non-slip seat and rubber tips on the feet so it won’t slide in the shower or tub.
- For seniors who need assistance stepping out of the tub, a bath or transfer bench can help. The bath bench extends over the side of the bathtub with two legs resting on the floor. Seniors can sit on the bench, swing their legs over the side of the tub, and more safely stand.
- Use a nightlight or motion-sensor lighting to ensure seniors have adequate light for nighttime visits to the bathroom. Use a nightlight in any hallway along the path to the bathroom from the bedroom or living areas.
Many seniors and elderly purchase a Medical Alert pendant – a water-proof button that will connect with emergency personnel, contact family members and off peace of mind. Learn more about this life-saving device here.
Keep kids and yourself burn-free by installing scald guards on all of your home’s sinks and tubs. Scald guards are built into the plumbing to control water temperature, so your faucets don’t become boiling water dispensers.
Use child-proof locks on all cabinets that contain cleaners or anything that can harm a child.
If you have little ones, always keep the toilet seat down and secured with a toilet seat lock. They can fall in and drown if they’re small enough. Plus, a toilet is full of icky germs you definitely don’t want them touching.
For elderly, Install a raised toilet seat, which raises the seat height by 3 to 4 inches to reduce the amount of effort needed to sit and stand when using the toilet.
Bathrooms are the number one source of flooding because of toilets, sinks, and showers.
Catching a leaky pipe or massive burst before it becomes catastrophic will save you time, money, and a major headache. That’s where flood sensors come into play. Most are equipped with smart technology, so you get an alert on your phone if it detects water.