Safety in the bath. When most people see these four words, they think of two age groups: seniors and children. However, creating a safe bath environment is equally important for every member of your family.
In fact, approximately 70 percent of all accidents occurring in the home happen in the bathroom -- which equals nearly 200,000 accidents each year. The bathroom can certainly be a dangerous place, but with a few simple tips, it doesnt have to be. Below, find ways to increase the safety of your bathroom with ease and minimal expense -- and without detracting from the beauty of your baths décor.
To fight slick surfaces, place a nonskid bathmat inside the tub or shower stall. This will increase the friction between wet feet and the floor or the inside of the tub or shower. Also put nonskid rugs on tile floors to minimize slips.
Grab bars should be installed near the tub or shower and next to the toilet for a universally-safe bath. Whether its for young children just starting to shower on their own, the elderly, or someone suffering from a sports injury or recovering from surgery, grab bars are items that are easy to install and a huge helping hand. And if you have a senior in your life, this is the best safety device you can install for the elderly -- where falling is the leading cause of injury resulting in death among people 65 years and older, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
Worried installing grab bars will make your bathroom look too institutional? Relax -- grab bars have come a long way. A new line of ADA-compliant decorative grab bars from Creative Specialties International, a division of Moen, come in a variety of designs and finishes to fit any bath décor and are designed to match the style and look of Moens popular faucets and bath accessories.
If youve got youngsters in the house, label all cleaning agents and lock them away. All medicines, even aspirin, should be put out of childrens reach. Make sure hot and cold taps are easily identified and put soft covers on tub taps and spouts. You might also want to consider plugging in a night-light in the bath for safer late-night visits by little ones.
For anyone who has problems getting into and out of the tub (think little kids, seniors, even weekend warriors with a pulled muscle), you may want to install a grip on the side of the tub wall for easy bath tub hurdling. One to try is the ADA-compliant Dual Tub Grip from Creative Specialties Internationals Home Care line of bath safety items, which features a sturdy, no-wobble design and two different handle heights for grasping -- so anyone can easily enter and exit the tub. Designed with textured grab areas shaped flat for better gripping, it clamps easily onto the tub wall for a quick, tool-free installation and removal without using any difficult or twisting motions. It also features nonskid pads to prevent scratches on the tub surface.
We all enjoy a hot, steamy shower, but its important to ensure that no one using the shower or sink will be scalded. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to set their household water heater no higher than 120 F. For childrens baths, there are a number of bath thermometers available in the form of bath toys, to help determine when the water is safe for a child to enter.
One thing we all want to avoid is shower shock -- that quick change in water temperature due to a change in water pressure, brought about by flushing the toilet, turning on a dishwasher, starting a washing machine, or any other immediate household water usage. Many older shower systems do not have the technology to fight shower shock. If your shower valves are old, consider installing a pressure-balancing shower valve, like the Posi-Temp valve from Moen. It has a unique pressure-balancing spool to regulate water delivery and keep shower temperature consistent, comfortable and safe. The water remains a constant temperature (plus or minus 2 degrees) despite demand.
One thing is for sure -- water and electricity dont mix. Never install a light switch in or near the shower, and dont keep appliances plugged in with cords long enough to reach the sink. Another quick and inexpensive safety precaution is to install ground fault circuit interrupters to prevent electrical shock. These outlets cut off electricity if water does get into an appliance. Also ensure that you have childproof covers over all electrical outlets.
Make the bathroom a relaxing haven for everyone -- with an emphasis on safety. With a few adjustments and additions, you can ensure your bathroom is designed with everyones safety in mind.
For more information on Creative Specialties Internationals Home Care line of bath safety products, write 25300 Al Moen Drive, North Olmsted, Ohio 44070-8022, call toll free (800) 882-0116, or visit the Web site at www.moen.com. All items from the Home Care line of bath safety products are available nationwide at Lowes and at your local home health and medical supplier.
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