While our bathtubs can be a symbol of relaxation, they can also be one of the most dangerous places in our homes. In 2020, the CDC reported that on average 234,000 people over the age of 15 are injured in their bathrooms, a lot being head injuries. Slick floors, small spaces, and temperature changes make for a dangerous environment. For people ages 65 and older, 80% of emergency department visits from falls occurred in the bathroom (Safety for Seniors: Preventing Falls in the Bathroom).
As a reminder to take extra precautions and limit fall risks, January is National Bath Safety Month. The most common injuries include falls, so it’s important to make sure that your bathroom is safe and you and your loved ones are protected.
How you can prevent falls:
- Have no-slip strips in the bottom of the shower. This will prevent sliding while standing in your shower or tub.
- Install safety handles in your tub/shower. This will provide extra support. Towel racks are not grab bars and can be pulled out of the walls!
- Take extra precautions when you are exiting your bath or shower. No-slip bathmats or rugs beside the bathtub/shower with rubber backing can eliminate the need to step onto a wet floor.
- Take your time standing up. Your blood pressure may dip too low, meaning you could become dizzy and risk a fall, especially if taking a hot shower or bath. Having a tub with a seat or a shower chair provides extra safety.
- Clean your tub and shower regularly. Build up can leave for extra slippery surfaces.
- Keep items you are using close by and within reach. Doing so will eliminate the need for reaching, as this can challenge your balance and eliminate the need to bend over.
Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee provides a checklist for bathroom safety for homeowners that also includes installing grab bars or a toilet safety frame, round corners or add rubber protectors on cabinets and counters, and install non-glare lighting.
Bathtubs provide a great resource to us, between keeping us clean, soothing muscle aches, and providing relaxation. Before your next long bubble bath, make sure to add in the necessary safeguards in your bathrooms.