How to Design for Bath Safety and Accessibility

Article Posted By: Home Depot Staff

How to Design for Bath Safety

It’s the first place you go when you wake up in the morning. It’s usually the last place you go before going to bed at night. You clean it. You use it. You relax in it. It’s your haven….your own private retreat inside your home. It’s your bathroom, and according to the Home Safety Council, it’s also the second most dangerous room in your home. Make it safer. Design for bath safety and accessibility.

Use non-slip mats. Water makes surfaces slippery and dangerous even for the most healthy individuals. Prevent falls and make the bathroom safer for the whole family by adding non-slip mats.

Add grab bars. Non-slip mats help make floors and tubs less slippery. But, it’s still wise to give family members something to grab on to just in case. Grab bars help young children, seniors and injured family members steady themselves as they get in and out of the tub. They also provide balance when getting on and off the toilet.

Replace bathroom faucets. Faucets with levers make it easier to turn on the faucet than those bathroom faucets with handles which require gripping and twisting motions. The newer touch on and touchless bathroom faucets offer even more convenience and ease of use.

Make sinks wheel chair accessible.  Be considerate of family members and visiting guests by having a bathroom with a wall-hung sink. A bath vanity can make tasks like hand-washing and brushing teeth difficult.

Add a shower chair. A shower chair makes bathing easy for those who use wheel chairs.  Shower chairs also provide stability and reduce the stress on joints and feet that can interfere with balance during showers.

Update bathroom lighting. Dim lighting might be great for a master bathroom where ambience is important. But, in a bathroom for older adults or a bathroom a child must access at night, good lighting is important. Good lighting can help prevent falls and toileting mishaps.

Elevate toilet seats. Make getting on and off the toilet easier by installing elevated toilet seats for family members suffering joint problems, healing from hip injuries or with reduced physical strength. More permanent options include the installation of toilets that are a height of at least 17” or more with elongated bowls and seats, vs. round design. You may sometimes see these referred to as Comfort Height, or Right Height toilets depending on the brand.

Replace a standard tub with a walk-in tub, walk-in whirlpool tub or shower stall. Take the risk, hassle and the physical challenge out of bathing. Install a walk-in tub. A walk-in tub reduces the risk of falls associated with getting in and out of the bath tub.

Eliminate clutter. The bath tub, shower, toilet and sink should all be easy for everyone to get access. Clutter can impede accessibility and also increase risks for fall and injury. Make sure you have good storage in your bathroom.

Add locks to medicine cabinets and cabinet doors. When considering storage, make sure to get locks for cabinets where medicines and cleaning supplies are kept.  This reduces the poisoning risk for small children and adults suffering from conditions like Alzheimer’s.

Add a ground fault circuit interrupter to bathroom outlets. Water and electricity don’t mix. While most people know this, mistakes can happen. Don’t let a mistake result in severe injury or death. Add a GFCI to your outlets to reduce the risk of shock.

Learn more about designing a safe and accessible bathroom during our bath safety clinics this month at your local The Home Depot store. Also, learn how to shop for bath safety and accessibility when you read our bath safety buying guide. Remember … we have a team of experts available to assist you with remodeling your bath for accessibility, and you can always ask questions about your remodel in our How-To Community Forums. Follow our blog for more tips on bath safety.

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