Improving Bathroom Safety for Children & Seniors
Bathroom-related injuries are more common than we think. We all spend a portion of our day in the bathroom, often with no harm done. But did you know that according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention nearly 235,000 people over the age of 15 visit the emergency room each year due to bathroom-related injuries? Over 80% of these accidents are due to slips and falls, and nearly 20% of accidents occur near the toilet. While we may think nothing of a regular trip to the bathroom, it can often be a hazardous environment.
Most people will wait until after an accident or illness to take action in increasing the safety of their bathrooms. But the best way to keep your loved ones safe from harm is to be proactive. We’ve gathered some helpful tips to keep both your children and seniors safe when visiting the bathroom.
Safety Tips for Children
- Monitor – The best way to keep children safe in the bathroom is with constant vigilance. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics children under 4 years of age should always have an adult present when near water. Just a few inches of water can become a drowning hazard to young children.
- Temperature – Children are often more sensitive to varying temperatures in comparison to adults so it is important to take water temperature into consideration before giving a child a bath. Always wait until the bathtub is done filling before placing your child in the water as temperatures can often change unknowingly. Make sure your water heater controls are accurate. 120 degrees Fahrenheit is the Department of Energy’s recommended temperature for hot water heaters. It is the ideal temperature to get plenty of hot water while also remaining energy efficient and reducing burn-related injuries. Ranck recommends having your water heater controls checked for accuracy and installing anti-scald faucets or shower valves to prevent hot water from leaving the tap and accidentally burning someone.
- Child Locks – Applying child locks to both toilets and medicine cabinets can be a safe and effective way to keep children out of danger. Adding a lock to your toilet will not only prevent accidental drowning but it will also keep toddlers from clogging your toilet with toys and other found objects. A lock on your medicine cabinet is also very important, as we all know children like to explore and medicine can often look like candy or mints to a small child.
- Products – Keep all cleaning supplies along with shampoos and soaps out of children’s reach. These products can make surfaces slippery when spilled or squirted. Place all of your cleaning supplies on the top shelf of the laundry room or linen closet to reduce the risk of injury or ingestion. Many household cleaners are filled with harsh chemicals that should be safely stored where young ones are unable to reach.
- Appliances – If you use any appliances regularly in the bathroom such as curling irons, beard trimmers or hair dryers, always check to make sure they are unplugged. Children can accidentally get a hold of them and bring them into the water not knowing of the dangers.
Safety Tips for Seniors
- Non-Slip – As we mentioned earlier slips and falls account for 80% of bathroom-related injuries, so it is important to take every precaution when it comes to floors and surfaces. Install non-slip strips or mats in your bath or shower, as well as non-slip flooring to prevent accidents. Any flooring that can provide traction will help to reduce the risk of slips and falls.
- Grab Bars – Getting in and out of the shower can be a dangerous activity for many seniors. Ranck recommends having grab bars strategically placed within your shower or tub to increase safety. Make sure they can support the full weight of an adult by having them anchored to wall studs.
- Faucets & Hand-Held Showerheads – Many senior citizens deal with symptoms of arthritis that can cause pain when using their hands. This can make small tasks like turning the faucet on and off difficult. Replace your faucet with a model that is easier for seniors to grip and turn or install a touchless faucet. A hand-held showerhead can also increase bathroom safety making it easier for seniors to clean themselves, especially when used in combination with a shower chair or bench.
- Raised Toilets – The average toilet is around 14 inches tall. Many senior citizens have trouble getting up and down from lower toilet seats, which can lead to an accident or increased pain over time. Replacing your toilet with an ADA-approved raised-height model (16” – 16.5”) or installing a raised-height seat can help to reduce the risk of accidental injury and allow seniors to maintain this important personal independence.
- Walk-in Tubs & Seating – Taking a shower becomes a tricky task as we age. This is where the risk for slips and falls increases greatly. Consider installing an easy access walk-in tub, bench or chair to make taking a shower an easier task for the elderly. Many walk-in tubs feature seal-tight doors to help prevent the buildup of water on the bathroom floor.
We Can Help
Here at Ranck, we offer many services and solutions to make your bathroom a safer place for you and your loved ones. Among the bath safety and comfort solutions we offer are:
- Check of water heater controls for accuracy
- Installation of an anti-scald faucet or shower valves
- Levered faucet handles for senior comfort
- Strategically placed grab bars for senior safety
- Comfort-height toilets for seniors
- Easy-access walk-in tubs
- Shower seating and hand-held spray
If you’re looking to make your bathroom a safer place, contact us today.