Did you know that your bathroom is statistically the most dangerous room in your home?
According to the AARP, bathrooms are the cause of more household injuries than any other room, including the kitchen. In 2008, nearly 22 million Americans over the age of 15 were injured in the bathroom, and over 235,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for bathroom-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not surprisingly, the total number of injuries increase by age, with the majority of injuries occurring with people over the age of 65. However, proportionate to their age, 15-24 year olds are actually more likely to be injured in the tub or shower.
In short: bathroom injuries are not just an "old people" problem. People are all ages are injured in bathrooms. The New York Times offers this striking infographic, showing the types of injuries that occur and what people were doing in the bathroom when they were injured.
So what can you do to keep your family safe? Here are a few suggestions.
- Keep your bathroom clean. Mold, mildew, soap scum, and bacteria buildup can create slippery surfaces that can increase the chances of having an accident. Baby powder can make the bathroom floor slippery as well. Clean all of your bathroom fixtures regularly, and clean the floor with a wet mop or disposable pad mop (make sure you let it dry so you don't slip on the wet surface!).
- Use floor mats. Since bathrooms are inherently wet places, there is always going to be a risk of slipping. Using bathroom rugs with rubberized backings around the toilet, tub and sink will provide you a safe surface to step on to when getting up and sitting down on the toilet, entering and leaving the tub, and and washing your face. Bathroom rugs also have the benefit of being decorative and adding character to your bathroom.
- Install tub safety strips or decals. People have been using these for many years and they are still an effective solution to prevent slipping in the tub. These anti-slip stickers have waterproof, adhesive back and a rubberized or coarse surface. They are easy to install on a clean tub and replaceable if they become worn or discolored.
- Install safety bars. While this may be associated more with the elderly, this is something to consider for all ages, especially in the tub. A safety bar gives you something to grab on to while entering and exiting your tub or sitting down/standing up from the toilet, not just to maintain your balance, but also prevent slipping.
- Use a vented ceiling fan. Keeping your bathroom dry will keep floors from becoming slippery. All modern homes are required by safety codes to have a fan that vents to the outside, but older homes may not have them, or have older, ineffective models. Consider investing in a modern fan. It will be more effective and mostly likely also quieter and more energy efficient.
- Install new fixtures. While this is the most expensive option, if you have an old tub or toilet, it's something to consider. Tubs in particular can be greatly improved for safety with a makeover. A new tub insert, for example can have a built-in seat and anti-slip surface.
If you are concerned about making your bathroom safer for your family, we invite you to contact M&M Plumbing for a free bathroom safety inspection anywhere in the Olympia/Thurston County area. We can identify potential safety hazards and recommend solutions. Contact us through our website or give us a call. We are concerned about your safety!