January is National Bath Safety Month: Safety Tips for Seniors & Children

Incorporate Safety Features into Your Bathroom Design

A common area where seniors often end up having accidents is falls in the bathroom, and helping prevent those kinds of accidents is what January’s National Bath Safety Month is all about.

These types of accidents, while common, are sometimes overlooked as a cause for concern. The good news is, however, that bathroom falls are easily prevented if you take the right precautions.

It really only takes a few simple things to make your bathroom a lot safer. To decrease the likelihood of you ever taking a fall while in your bathroom, follow these useful tips:
• Install non-slip strips or mats in the bottom of your bathtub
• Have reachable safety handles for climbing in and out of the tub or shower, and by the toilet as well
• Keep a non-slip rug or mat on the floor at the entry/exit of the shower
• Make sure your bathroom floor stays clean and free of spills
• Keep a portable phone in your bathroom in case of emergencies

Safety Tips for Children
Stay with her.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 4 and under always have a parent or caregiver present when they are near water, including the tub. Accidents can happen in an instant.

Prevent slips.
Young children do not have the coordination or strength to hold steady if they lose their balance. Affix a slip-resistant plastic mat that suctions to the bottom of the tub and make sure the throw rug outside the tub does not slide when stepped on. Consider installing a grab bar for kids to hold onto when stepping in and out of the bath.

Test the temperature.
Always wait until the tub is finished filling up before placing your child in the water, as the temperature can change. Set your home’s water heater to deliver water no hotter than 120 degrees to lower the risk of scalding. If you don’t have control over the heater, buy an anti-scald device that attaches to the faucet.

Beware of sharp edges.
Use a rubber cover for the faucet head and drape a towel over metal rails for shower doors when your child is in the bath. Make sure any glass shower doors are made of shatterproof glass. Avoid bath toys with hard edges or points that could be hazardous if your child falls onto them.

Taking these steps toward preventing falls in your bathroom could definitely help save a life, so put them into practice right away as part of National Bath Safety Month.