Do you know where the most dangerous place in your home is? According to a research carried out by the American Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the bathroom is the most dangerous.
Most injuries happen during our personal care routine, whilst taking a shower or a bath. This is especially prevalent in older age. Slippery surfaces are not the only factor causing accidents in the bathroom; the combination of water, humidity, sharp objects and electricity makes the bathroom the most treacherous room in your house.
Below, we’ve listed the most dangerous parts of the bathroom and a few pieces of advice on how to avoid injuries in the long run.
Although shower time is considered to be a relaxing moment to unwind in, taking a shower could easily lead to injuries when not paying enough attention. The mix of water, soap and moisture creates a slick and unsafe surface where the chance of falling is increased significantly.
A walk-in shower is an ideal design choice to prevent accidents as it can feature useful aids such as a fold away shower seat or safety grab rails to enable you to move with freedom and confidence. Walk-in showers also offer generous space and can include a no-door option for wheelchair access if required.
Wherever you store sharp objects and electrical appliances in the bathroom, consideration should be taken to minimise the risk to all users. Scissors, nail cutters, razors and hair dryers can be a hazard for several reasons. If you have grandchildren, having dedicated storage for these hazardous items can reduce the risk, as young children are prone to touch and play with anything they find. These dangers are not just limited to children but very much extend to adults too. Forgetting to put your scissors and electrical objects back in their storage space may increase the chance to accidentally get cut. For this reason, it’s always important to keep a small first aid box at your fingertips to clean any wounds and avoid infections should an accident occur.
It won’t come as a surprise that many people are not aware of water temperature safety levels. As we get older, our skin becomes more delicate and high-water temperatures can scald and burn, which can permanently damage our skin. The Department of Health states that water temperatures should not exceed 44°C, which is sufficient to prevent bacteria and germs to spreading. In addition, keeping the water temperature of your home under control will also avoid issues to your heating system during the cold season.
Sockets (shaver points)
According to ‘Electrical Safety First’, sockets should be placed at least three metres from the bath or shower, however, this is not always feasible. The same rules also applicable to extension cords, but with feasibility not always permitting, making sure you have some simple safety rules of thumb is essential. Make sure that your hands are not wet before plugging in any electrical device and try to stay as far as possible from water when using them.
Getting in and out of the bath can be tricky for all age groups. Young children not aware of the dangers can often slip whilst standing in the bath, especially those who see bathtime as playtime. Older age groups may struggle to raise or lower themselves into or out of the bath, this could stem from common problems such as a bad back or other age related mobility issues. A simple, well placed grab rail can help bathers of all ages stay safe, or a more long term solution may be to replace your traditional bath with a low-entry walk-in bath.
To wrap up – take care in the bathroom, plan out the potential risks and apply caution to minimise the opportunity for injury. For inspiration on planning a new bathroom for the safety conscious or baths for the elderly, find out more about our range of accessible bathrooms.