Apart from the aesthetics, it is important to consider the functionality and the safety aspect of the space while designing a bathroom. The bathroom is a space that is used on a regular basis by all the members of your family as well as the guests that visit. This is why it is very important to design the bathroom in a way to minimise the chances of accidents.
But, how do you go about it?
Well, if you want to design a new bathroom or upgrade your bathroom you can easily incorporate safety features into your space. But, if you are not looking to make major changes or do an overall overhaul, you still can add extra safety features in your bathroom at a minimal cost.
Take stock of the common causes of accidents in your bathroom and try to find a solution for them. This is especially important for homes with children and elders who are the most susceptible to accidents.
Here are some ideas to upgrade your bathroom and make it a lot safer.
10 Ways You Can Make Your Bathroom Safer
1. Get Rid of Bathroom Rugs
Bathroom rugs are often used for two purposes:
- To provide you with a surface where you can drain the excess water from your body after a shower before you step out and prevent you from slipping on wet floors.
- Add an ornamental touch to the bathroom by injecting fancy patterns and colours to the space.
But, what we fail to realise is, these rugs are a major tripping hazard. They are not securely affixed to the ground and with one wrong step once can easily slip and fall. Also, over time and with use the edges of these rugs tend to roll onto themselves. This makes the rugs a tripping hazard and it is very much possible for elders or children to trip over these rolled edges while getting in or out of the shower.
Today, modern bathroom floor tiles are available in a wide variety of colours and patterns and they can be used, in place of ornamental rugs, to add colour and pattern to your bathroom. Also, matte finish and anti-skid tiles can be used on floors to reduce the chances of slipping while your feet or the tiles are wet. This eliminates the need of a rug to dry off before you set foot on tiles.
2. Add Grab Bars
With almost 2.8 million people getting injured, slips and falls are a major cause of hip injuries as well as brain injuries in elders. The addition of grab bars can really help reduce the instances of slips and falls and help protect your loved ones.
Grab bars essentially perform two functions:
- They provide you with support so that you can easily get off the toilet or out of the tub, without having to put too much pressure on your knees.
- In case someone does slip, these bars can be easily grabbed to stabilise the balance and prevent falling.
While choosing grab bars it is best to install grab bars with the following features:
- Slip-resistant grip: Grab bars, as the name suggests, are for grabbing and holding on. It is best to install bars with a slip resistant grip. If you cannot find one with a slip resistant grip you can simply use a slip resistant tape to cover the grab bar.
- Bolted, not stuck: While grab bars with good quality suction cups may work well in certain situations, it is very much possible to rip them off the wall with enough force. Do not take this risk and simply opt for grab bars you can bolt to the wall. Yes, it is extra work, but it is a lot safer too!
3. Use Adjustable or Handheld Shower Heads
While overhead showers are a dream to just stand under, you do need to move around a fair bit to shower properly. While moving around is safe for able-bodied people, it can be a slip hazard for people who are not very stable on their feet – namely kids and elders.
This is why it is best to install an adjustable or a handheld shower head in the bathroom for them. Adjustable shower heads can be manoeuvred around and you can stay in one place. Handheld shower heads are great for bathrooms with benches or bath seats and allow you to sit and bathe in peace.
4. Add A Seat
Let’s face it, most Indian bathrooms do not have the space for a full-fledged bathtub. For this reason, consider adding a bath seat or a bench to your shower area if space allows. Shower benches are very safe and can allow anyone to take a seat and shower.
Usually shower benches are often associated with hospitals and other medical facilities, but with the rise in demand, they are now available in a plethora of designs for you to choose from. While installing a shower bench or shower seat make sure you check the seat’s weight-bearing capacity before making a choice.
5. Electronics Need to Be Kept As Away From Water As Possible
Water is a good conductor of electricity, which means currants can pass through water easily and you won’t even know. So, to steer clear of even the minutest chances of being electrocuted, keep all your electronic items away from water.
Often, things like hair straighteners, hair dryers, curling irons, and electric razors are placed on the sink or at the side of the sink while we work on our hair. Even the tiniest of contact of an exposed wire with water can have disastrous consequences.
You can either invest in waterproof mats to place these items or install floating shelves for easy storage of your electronics away from water.
6. Keep the Toiletries And Other Bathroom Items Handy
Have you ever had to reach way above your head in order to pull something off a high shelf? Well, that is a great way to fall! Keep all your shampoo bottles, conditioners, soaps, soap dispensers, body washes, loofahs, and other toiletries on a handy shelf or cabinet that is easy for everyone to reach.
As for the extra toiletries, instead of storing them in high cabinets or shelves within the bathroom, store them in the kitchen or in a cabinet just off the bathroom. Even if they are stored higher up, you can easily use a step-ladder to retrieve them and do not need to do gymnastics in the bathroom for them!
7. Add More Than Enough Lights
A lot of times, most older people need to urinate frequently – especially at night. For this reason it is very important to add adequate lights. Along with illuminating the bathroom it is important to illuminate the path from their bed to the bathroom too. Install night lights or motion sensitive lights so that they are not tripping over their feet while trying to find their way to the bathroom or to find the switches for the night lights.
8. Keep A Check on The Water Temperature
One of the major causes of accidents in the bathroom, after slips and falls, are burns from too hot water. If you can, get a thermostat installed and set the temperature to around 45 to 46 degrees C or even lower.
If installing a thermostat or controlling the temperature is not possible, it is best to check the water temperature and set it to the ideal setting before your children or elders use the shower. There are various heat sensitive toys and equipment available in the market that can help you set the ideal water temperature, without burning yourself while testing waters.
9. Keep the Cleaning Supplies and Chemicals Out Of Reach
It is a great hazard for your cleaning supplies and chemicals to be stored just about anywhere. Kids could open those supplies and it could result in a great disaster. It is best to stow away all your cleaning supplies as well as chemicals in a cabinet, preferably locked with a child safe lock, to prevent accidents.
Stowing away your supplies will not only help you keep mishaps in check, it will also keep your bathroom clutter-free and looking neat and clean.
10. Make Sure All Your Accessories Are Securely Attached
Keep a check of all the accessories in the bathroom. Toilet paper holders, towel racks, cloth hooks, grab bars, vanities, medicine cabinets, mirrors, curtain rails, shelves, handheld shower holders and any other accessory you may have installed in your bathroom should be checked once every fortnight for loose nuts or screws and tightened if loose. If the screws rust with time, make sure to replace them as soon as possible.
Accidents in the bathroom are a common occurrence, with thousands of people slipping and/or falling in their bathrooms every year. Sometimes these falls are minor, sometimes they cause injuries severe enough to require medical assistance and even hospital stays. This is why it is important to try and make sure that you make your bathroom as safe as possible to reduce the chances of accidents as much as you can. These tips can help you make your bathroom a lot safer for you and your loved ones.
Author Bio Isha Tandon has worked within the architecture and interior design industry as a flooring consultant expert – specializing in tiles, stones, and terrazzo. She has worked with Orientbell Limited, a leading tile manufacturer in India, as a product development manager in the design team and has recently joined the marketing team as their digital content expert. Her experience comes in handy in understanding the audience as she creates value-driven functional & informational content for the readers. She creates lifestyle pieces that focus on interior design products, trends, and processes. She loves to travel to historic places with rich architecture.