11 Top Tips for Bathroom Safety

By Stacey Feintuch

With its slippery and hard surfaces, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous places in your home. Case in point: In 2008, an estimated 234,000 nonfatal bathroom injuries occurred in the U.S. among people 15 and older, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you have osteoporosis, the bathroom can present an even greater hazard. Protect yourself and your family by following these tips.

  1. Ditch your throw rugs. These slippery floor coverings are the No. 1 cause of household falls. If you just can't part with them in the bathroom, secure loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or a slip-resistant backing.
  2. Put nonslip strips, mats or tiles in your tub and shower. Devices like these will help prevent falls. To prevent tripping, be sure that any loose corners on mats are secured.
  3. Be sure to keep the tub clean to counteract slippery soap scum or mold.
  4. Keep the bathroom floor clean and dry, making sure it has no water on it. A weighted shower curtain will help ensure that no water leaks onto the floor.
  5. Put grab bars or rails in or around the bathtub, shower and toilet. When installed properly and securely, they’ll help you balance as you stand or sit and give you something to hold on to if you do fall. They come in a variety of lengths, textures and styles. (Note that a towel bar or a soap dish isn’t a substitute for a grab bar, as it isn't designed to hold your weight).
  6. Place a bath mat with a non-skid bottom next to the tub and shower. Doing that will help prevent slips, falls and tripping.
  7. Be sure your bathroom is adequately lit during the day. At night, use a nightlight on the path to the bathroom. And within the bathroom, use a nightlight at night, or install an illuminated switch.
  8. If your toilet seat is low, consider buying a toilet seat extender or a toilet with a higher seat. That way you can get up safely and with less effort.
  9. Install a bath or shower seat or bench in the shower or tub. You'll then have a place to sit while you’re bathing or showering.
  10. Equip your shower with a handheld or adjustable shower head. You can maneuver it where you want it, minimizing your movement in the shower. Also, you can sit safely on your bath seat or bench while you shower.
  11.  Take your time. The more you rush, the more likely you are to fall.
Published December 2013

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