Bathroom Safety Tips
Most falls take place in the bathroom because of: difficulty getting on/off the toilet; in/out of the tub; difficulty seeing due to poor lighting; slipping on wet surfaces; tripping on throw rugs; or getting dizzy while standing from the toilet to the sink.
The following are some guidelines to help you stay safe in the bathroom and prevent falls:
Bath bench or shower stool
- These devices are useful for sitting on when bathing or showering.
- They can also be used to sit up on when washing at the sink if you get dizzy.
Elevated toilet seat
- Getting off the toilet may be difficult unless you have adequate leg strength.
- Using an elevated toilet seat will help get up safely and with less effort.
- These bars attached to the walls of the tub or shower area or on the wall near the toilet can help provide a safe hand-hold when getting in and out of the tub/shower or on/off the toilet.
- Install a hand-held shower and lower your hot water temperature to less than 120 degrees.
- A hand-held shower allows you to safely sit on a shower bench while bathing.
- Lowering the water temperature of the hot water heater will prevent accidental burns.
- A light switch next to the door will prevent you from walking into a dark area.
- Always put the light on before entering the bathroom.
- A nightlight in the bathroom is helpful to light the room at night.
Rubber mat or non-skid decals
- The surface of the tub or shower can be slippery. A bath mat or non-skid decals can prevent slipping on wet surfaces.
- All throw rugs should have rubber backing and if carpeted, carpets should be secure and wrinkle free.
- Keep floors clean and free of debris.
- Bathroom floors should be unwaxed and should not have chemicals on them that may cause tripping and falling.
- Installing a shelf in the tub or shower area prevents bending to pick up items.
- Shelving works best when items can be stored between the level of the shoulders and knees.
- Items stored between the knees and shoulders are easier to reach.
- You could also install a sturdy toilet frame to provide stability and safety when getting on and off the toilet.
- This also helps to stabilize you when you are balancing yourself to manage your clothing.
- If you do not have access to a shower and use a tub for bathing, install a tub rail for support and safety when getting in and out of the tub.
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Medical content reviewed by: Nina Browner, MD—Medical Director of the NPF Center of Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in North Carolina and by Fernando Pagan, MD—Medical Director of the NPF Center of Excellence at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.