Home accident statistics suggest that not enough is being dome to ensure safety in the bathroom. Your bathroom is the most dangerous room in the home according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in America! It is not the kitchen as most Americans believe, but the room that most people feel to be one of the most innocuous. Why is that? What are the hazards associated with the bathroom that make it so dangerous and what can be done to improve safety in the bathroom?
Main Causes of Bathroom Injuries
Almost 33,000 people over 14 have to attend hospital after sustaining injury while using the toilet! That is an amazingly high number, although those aged 85 or over are particularly prone to injury this way. They are largely due to falls, and the lack of a safety grab bar at the toilet. In fact, 81% of all injuries in the bathroom or toilet are statistically due to falls.
Most of these falls occur in the shower or bathtub, particularly for those aged 15-24. These figures correspond with injury statistics for the home in general, in that most are caused by falls. This indicates a need for improved preventative action in the form of equipment designed to prevent such falls.
Most homes have insufficient grab bars in bathtubs and showers, and very few have these safety devices around the toilet. In some cases, people have slipped and fallen out of open windows, although there have been very few fatalities.
Improving Safety in the Bathroom
While around 63% of American households use non-slip strips or mats in the bathtub and shower, only 20% are fitted with a bar that people, particularly the elderly, can hold onto while getting out of the tub. This would certainly reduce the statistics of falling while getting into and out of the bath, particularly the latter when the tub can be very slippery. The same is also true of the shower, where grab bars are rarely fitted but could improve bathroom safety.
A grab bar or holding rail by the toilet would help elderly people sit and stand up, and it would also help them if the seat was raised to a higher level. This would enable easier sitting and standing.
Bathroom Safety and Lighting
Many people have been found to have tripped over bath mats and throw rugs in the bathroom. It would help if these were removed, and also if the lighting was improved. Many bathrooms are poorly lit, particularly at dusk when natural light is dropping but people are not yet using artificial light. It would help to have a light that comes on when the light level in the bathroom drops to an unsafe level.
The best overall solution would be to install walk-in bathtub with a watertight door, and a sit-down shower for the elderly. Price seems to be a factor here, but there is still a lot that can be done to improve safety in the bathroom and toilet, particularly for the elderly.