Bathroom Safety Checklist to Prevent Injury

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The bathroom remains as one of the most dangerous areas in the house. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that around 21.8 million people over 15 years old have sustained injuries in the bathroom. On an annual basis, approximately 235,000 patients are rushed to the emergency department with 14% of them ending up being hospitalized.

This doesn’t just involve seniors because anyone can injure themselves and most of the time, the injury is caused by falls. Wet floors, slippery rugs, and hard surfaces - these are just some of the things which can lead to fatal injuries even if you’re a healthy young individual. And in one study, most accidents happen in or around the shower or bathtub.

Still, the risk increases with age which makes a lot of sense because older people tend to tire easily, lose their balance and coordination, or may require assistance in getting in and out of the toilet.

Bathroom Safety Checklist

Although it may sound scary, you can take matters into your own hands and minimize the likelihood of injuries. From little changes to major renovations, you can make your bathroom safer for every occupant of the house.

Are your bathroom floors slippery?

Falls are the most common cause of injury and you can prevent tripping and falling accidents by putting non-skid mats or strips near the bathtub, shower, and toilet. Those rugs with rubber backs tend to stick securely to the floor because any fold to the edges could trip you. If this happens, you can secure them using a rug tape.

Is there adequate lighting?

Aside from putting a high-wattage non-glare light bulb, make sure you have an illuminated switch so it will be easier to find it in the dark. Another option is to put a glow-in-the-dark sticker on it or have a night light in the bathroom and the hallway leading to it.

Can you get in and out of the toilet, shower or bathtub easily?

You can add grab bars along the sides for extra support. The suction type may be easy to install and portable but the stainless steel ones are more secure and offer better support. The downside to the latter, however, is that they can get slippery when wet.

Is the hot water thermostat already set at 120° or lower?

You need to double check because anything higher could burn or scald you. Some shower heads and faucets have temperature control and a digital display which makes it easier to monitor how hot it is.

There are anti-scald valves and devices too which will regulate the temperature in two ways: first, they stop the water flow if it’s too hot and second, they mix cold water into the hot water so it’s safe enough not to burn someone.

Do you have a proper storage for small appliances like hair blower, straightener, and electric shaver?

You can install a small basket on the wall near the power source where you can easily store the items to keep them away from the water.

Can the toilet accommodate both older people and kids?

For seniors, having raised seats with handles make it easier for them to get in and out. You can quickly remove them if children need to use the toilet.

Are all your outlets at least 18 inches off the floor?

They should also be three meters away from showers or tubs because splashes can be dangerous. For additional safety, you can put outlet plate covers when you’re not using them.

Are sharp items stored in cabinets not easily accessible to kids?

You need to lock up items like razor blades for your shaver and nail cutters. And the cabinets should have childproof latches. The same thing goes for cosmetic products like nail polish, perfume, hairspray, and facial toner.

Are your medicines and vitamins locked away?

As much as possible, never put them in your bathroom cabinet because the heat and moisture can cause the medicines to become less potent even before their expiration date.

Are there clutters on the countertop and floor?

No matter how a small item may seem harmless enough, it could still likely cause trips and falls. Always pick up and store away any form of clutter as soon as you see them on the floor because these things tend to accumulate over time.

Are your toiletries organized and easy to reach?

There are several options for you - shower caddy or cubbyholes. Make sure they’re high enough so you don’t have to bend down to get your soap or shampoo - this can be dangerous especially for older people.

Do you have a waste basket that doesn’t get in the way?

Having a trash can (preferably with lid and foot pedal) will help you easily dispose of garbage like empty shampoo containers or soap boxes but they should be placed out of the way to avoid tripping on them especially at night time. Depending on how your bathroom looks, you can put the trash bin under the countertop.

You may need additional modifications if there are seniors or kids with special needs. However, this is the most basic safety checklist when it comes to your bathroom. The important thing to keep in mind is that people can use it with ease and no fear of falling, tripping or sustaining any injury.

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Image source: Bruce

About the Author

Elliot Sanchez | Profile | Articles | Contact
Elliot is a health enthusiast who aims to spread the significance of living a healthy lifestyle.

 She is a midwife, a nurse, and a trained EMT who has personally seen the reality and effects of diseases and accidents in a person's life.

 Through this website, she hopes to influence her readers to be health conscious and to educate them on how to achieve health and fitness and prevent diseases.

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