January is bath safety month, and it’s a great reminder that the bathroom is not a playground. Children and seniors are typically most at risk but slips and falls can happen to anyone if they’re not careful.
It can also lead to painful repair bills! A friend once told me her husband was in a hurry to get ready for an appointment and he slipped in the shower, breaking a half-a-dozen wall tiles as he tumbled down into the tub. Thankfully he was not seriously hurt, but he definitely felt it the next day….not to mention the pain associated with the cost of re-tiling the tub!
Here are a few tips to share with your loved ones as a reminder of ways to create a safer bathroom experience:
Considerations for National Bath Safety Month
Check the Water Temperature
On the off occasion that you decide to take bath (lucky you!) always wait until the tub is finished filling up before stepping into the water, as the temperature can change.
In the shower, it’s wise to make sure the water is at an acceptable temperature before stepping in. If it’s too hot or too cold, it could startle you and cause you to slip or bump into something.
To prevent scalding, it’s recommended that your water heater temperature be set to around 120° F.
Steady your Stance
On one end of the spectrum, you have the elderly, and on the other end you have young children; neither of which may have the coordination or strength to steady themselves if they lose their balance either stepping into the tub or in the shower. A slip-resistant mat designed for the tub will help their grip, along with a slip-resistant rug on the outside of the tub to prevent wet feet from sliding.
Another extremely helpful device for the bath and shower is a grab bar – or multiple grab bars if necessary – for use in getting in or out of the shower or tub, and steadying yourself if you lose your balance.
Have a Seat
Today’s modern toilets offer “comfort height” models that are safer and more comfortable to navigate for seniors without the hassle of modifying a standard-height toilet. Comfort height toilets are considered ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant because the height matches that used for ADA-compliant toilets. Comfort or “chair height” toilets are typically 17 to 19 inches from floor to seat, whereas a standard toilet might be 15 inches from floor to seat. Standard toilets are lower and can put strain on joints and muscles that are already compromised. This can add to a fall risk and the possibility of strained muscles.
Bath Be Gone!
A more recent, safer trend is to remove the bathtub altogether and replace it with a standing shower. The majority of people take showers vs. baths, and a shower provides greater flexibility for getting in and out of it. Having a shower eliminates the need to step over the bathtub wall and may even accommodate shower seating, or space for a shower-friendly chair, to further provide support for seniors or those who are otherwise compromised from an injury or disability. Opting for showers only can also helps improve water efficiency in your home.
Keep it Bright
For the vision impaired, a brightly lit bathroom with light switches that are easy to access provides a safe and comfortable experience.
At Action Plumbing, we’ve been helping our customers create safe and friendly rooms throughout the house; and the bathroom is almost always one of them! If you’re looking for more advice on keeping your bathroom safe for your loved ones, contact us today for additional recommendations.