Risk Management

Risk Management

Safer Bathrooms Equals Fewer Injuries

We like to think we’re safe in our own homes. Sure, there are obvious hazards to be aware of, but some of the most likely places for accidents are often the least expected. Take your bathroom, for instance. Studies done by the Centers for Disease Control* reveal just how dangerous a home bathroom can be.

  • In 2008, more than 230,000 people over age 15 were treated for bathroom-related injuries. That’s approximately 640 people per day.
  • More than 80 percent of those injuries were caused by slips and falls.

Why so many injuries in the smallest room in the house? Combine a lot of hard surfaces with water and humidity, and you have a recipe for creating slippery, unsafe surfaces. Consider making some simple changes, such as:

  • Non-slip mats, both in and out of the shower or tub. Curled edges can be tripping hazards themselves, so be sure the mats lie flat and grip tightly.
  • Sure-grip grab bars for household members who have difficulty getting into or out of the tub or shower. Be sure they’re installed properly—anchored to a wall stud, not the drywall or tub enclosure.
  • Remove mildew and soap scum regularly; they can make surfaces slippery. And while you’re cleaning, pick up the clutter. The less there is to trip over, the safer you’ll be.
  • The toilet seat lid and the edge of the tub are not meant to stand on! If you need to reach up high, use a ladder or step stool.
  • Anti-scald faucets and showerheads. As an extra precautionary measure, turn down the water heater temperature. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a setting of 120 degrees or lower.
  • Having a telephone in the bathroom may seem strange, but in the event of a fall, it could save precious minutes getting help.

Your bathroom doesn’t need to be a dangerous place. Most safety precautions are relatively simple and inexpensive and can help family members of all ages stay safe.
*Report: “Nonfatal Bathroom Injuries Among Persons Aged ≥15 Years—United States, 2008” Reported by: Judy A. Stevens, PhD; Elizabeth N. Haas, Div of Unintentional Injury Prevention; Tadesse Haileyesus, MS, Office of Program and Statistics, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC. Dated June 10, 2011; accessed 5/16/2013.