Slips and falls are a part of life—we humans aren’t perfect, after all. But did you know your bathroom is often the most dangerous room in your home when it comes to falls – especially for older adults? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Approximately 235,000 people over the age of 15 go to the emergency room for injuries and accidents that occur in their bathrooms.
- Injuries increase with age, peaking after 85.
- Younger people suffer injuries more commonly around the tub or shower, while older people suffer injuries more frequently around the toilet.
- The most hazardous bathroom activity for all ages is bathing, with the most injuries taking place when getting out of the shower or tub.
Your fall prevention plan should begin with awareness of the common pitfalls and precautions that can help keep you and your aging loved ones injury-free for years to come. Your choices in bathroom flooring, rugs and rug pads can go a long way toward preventing the kind of slips and injuries that tend to occur in the bathroom. A well-equipped bathroom can also help you or a loved one age in place successfully.
Key Bathroom Precautions
Some inexpensive basics and easy-to-install accessories can go a long way toward keeping older adults safer in the bathroom. Grab bars, handles, shower seats and non-slip safety tape for the bathtub or shower floor are all quick and easy ways to keep the potential for injuries in your bathroom low. Other safety precautions to consider include:
- Keeping the bathroom floor clutter-free
- Installing bright lighting to keep the room well-lit
- Making sure you have a nightlight or two for late-night bathroom visits
The Right Rugs and Rug Pads
The best option for making your bathroom a safer space is choosing rugs and rug pads and placing them near the spots where slips and falls occur most often: the shower, tub and toilet. You may consider adding one in front of the sink as well. When shopping for bathroom rugs and pads, consider the following:
- Size: Measure the space before you shop so you know how big of a rug your bathroom can accommodate.
- Washable: Can you toss the mat in your washing machine, or will you have to get it professionally cleaned?
- Antimicrobial: Antimicrobial rugs and pads are available in a variety of colors and designs, with the added protection of being microbe-resistant, giving you a healthier bathroom.
- Materials: The way the rug feels under your feet is an important aspect to consider. From utilitarian to luxurious, there’s a bath mat for every preference and price point.
Bathroom Flooring Choices
If you’re remodeling your bathroom, consider some flooring choices that can help prevent slips. Small textured tiles, for example, are a great nonslip option for a bathroom floor that still looks fantastic.
Another beautiful and slip-safe choice is textured natural stone with river rock accents. Placing the river rock around the edge of the tub or shower can help create a nonslip zone when getting out of the bath, especially when coupled with matching bath rugs and pads. This can help you make your bathroom the safe, spa-like escape you want it to be.
As a mom of three, Kim Six knows how important it is to keep your bathroom safe in order to prevent injuries and writes her tips about it for The Home Depot. Visit The Home Depot’s website to find the bath mat options Kim highlights in this post.