Guide to Bathroom Safety
Considering that thousands of injuries occur in bathrooms each year, it’s wise to take bathroom safety seriously. While young children and older adults are especially vulnerable, the fact is that everyone is at risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 235,000 people over age 15 suffer injuries from bathroom accidents.
Help ensure no accidents occur in your bathroom by keeping the following safety tools and techniques in mind:
Avoid Slips and Falls
Prevent dangerous falls in the bathroom by incorporating a variety of products designed to keep things steady and secure. The bottom of the bathtub and shower can get perilously slippery, especially when coated with soap and shampoo residue. Apply non-skid decals or use a nonslip mat. Outside of the tub or shower, use a rug or mat with a non-slip tread or backing that fastens securely to the floor.
Installing grab bars at the entrance of the shower or tub also decreases the likelihood of falls. In addition, older individuals may find shower benches and bath chairs helpful. And young children are less likely to fall if they are placed in bath seats, which secure to the bottom of the tub with suction cups.
Also prevent slips and falls by keeping the floor clear of water at all times. And if you must step up to get into the bathtub or shower, make sure to use a non-skid bath safety step.
Because of the prevalence of water in the bathroom, very young children are vulnerable to drowning in this room. Prevent accidents by never leaving kids younger than six-years-old unattended while bathing. Also always empty water from the bathtub after use and install toilet locks.
Steer Clear of Burns
Avoid scalding and burns in the bathtub by keeping your hot water heater set below 120 degrees Fahrenheit, or install an anti-scald valve. To ensure the water isn’t too hot, you should be able to run the water over your hand without burning yourself. Protect young children from accidental scalding by keeping little hands away from faucet handles. A spout cover keeps kids otherwise occupied and protects them from bumping their heads on hard faucets.
Practice Electrical Safety
Electricity and water are a dangerous combination. Unless in use, keep all electronic items such as hair dryers and curling irons, unplugged. For added safety, store such electrical appliances well away from the bathtub, shower and sink.
If your bathroom doesn’t have a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet, have one installed by an electrician. With such an outlet, the electricity shuts off immediately if an appliance comes in contact with water or begins to malfunction.
When children are present, keep dangerous items like razors and cleaning products out of reach. Store all medication in childproof containers and place medicine in a locked cabinet.
A bathroom nightlight also helps everyone safely find and use the bathroom at night.
Taking these safety precautions may require some effort, but the result of a secure bathroom environment for everyone is well worth the effort.