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Originally published on Interm Healthcare
January is Bath Safety Month. This is a good time to consider whether your bathroom is a safe place for you and your family members. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 370 people are injured in bathtub or shower-related incidents every day in the US. Seniors and children are especially at risk, with more than 43,000 children injured in bath incidents every year. The Center for Disease Control reports that more than 2 million adults over the age of 65 were injured by falls in the home. Here are 10 ways to make the bathtub, shower and bathroom a safer place to be.
1. Whether you are sure-footed or have a difficult time getting around, a wet floor is always slippery. Put a terrycloth bathmat on the bathroom floor to absorb dripping water when you exit the tub. Carpeting in the bathroom is also an option.
2. Water temperature is key in bath safety. Safe water temperature is 90 to 100 degrees F. Before youngsters or seniors get into a tub full of water, an adult or senior care companion should check the water temperature to avoid scalding injuries.
3. Use non-skid decals on the bottom surface of the tub or shower. They are available in a variety of shapes and colors and add to your bathroom’s decor. Check your tub today. If yours are worn or missing, take the time to scrape off the old ones and put down new ones for better traction.
4. To cover a wider area with even better traction, use a rubber bath mat. They adhere with suction cups and can be removed for cleaning purposes.
5. Standing up, sitting down and climbing over things get more difficult as we age. Consider installing a railing on the bathtub and shower interior and elsewhere in the bathroom for older adults. Having something to hold on to will help prevent slip-and-falls and improve balance.
6. For those who have had recent surgery or have difficulty standing unassisted for any period of time, use a shower chair and a hand-held showerhead. A home health care aide can assist with bathing.
7. Do not use a lawn chair or light plastic stool as a shower chair. If you need one, invest in a sturdy shower chair with rubber non-skid stoppers that is sturdy enough to support your weight.
8. According to a recent study by the University of Michigan Health System, one-third of those over age 60 have difficulties getting in and out of the bathtub. Among the services offered by Interim HealthCare’s home caregivers are assistance in bathing, and attention to personal care and hygiene needs.
9. Do not use a towel bar as a grab bar for entering or exiting the bathtub. They are not designed to hold people, only towels and linens.
10. To prevent water from splashing onto the floor from the bathtub, use a shower curtain with weights at the bottom or a door that closes tightly.