This morning I slammed my shoulder and head into the side of the tub after slipping while trying to straighten the shower mat just enough that the water could drain better. But it wasn't to be - my feet flew up and my body felt the pull of gravity and slammed into the tub. I wasn't knocked unconscious but was stunned for a few seconds and luckily I didn't break any bones but I can tell you I was a little scared that I had done something to myself and that no one could get in to help me and I had no way to contact anyone.
So here is a quick safety lesson for the bathroom:
Statistic: In 2008 (the earliest date for which statistics are available), an estimated 234,000 nonfatal bathroom injuries occurred in the U.S. among people 15 and older, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Be careful! Any part of the floor in the bathroom can become very wet & slippery making it very easy to fall. Be sure to wipe up any spills and secure loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or slip-resistant backings.
Getting in and out of the shower or tub is a common time for falls in the bathroom:
- Use nonslip mats in the shower/tub. Suction cup mats I think are safer personally but you do need to keep the suction cups clean and free of soap, slime and scum or the cups don't stay tight and your mat will slide around. According to ColoradoTubRepair.com these kinds of mats cause damage to the finish of your tub so eventually you will need to get it refinished but to me that is a small thing compared to falling and getting hurt or killed! Eldercare.org suggests securing bath mats with non-slip, double-sided rug tape (I never thought of this - is it for the tub or floor?)
- Consider grab bars & shower seats especially for the elderly, those who are unsteady on their feet, anyone who gets dizzy, if you're afraid of falling, etc... Seats with holes allow the water to drain making the surface less slippery & suction cups on the chair/bench bases provide stability.
- Any tips on how to avoid hitting toes and legs on the side of the tub? As mobility worsens I find that I hit/break/jam my toes more - and it hurts! I'm hoping the chair will help.
Make sure there is adequate lighting in your bathroom day & night. Use illuminated switches, reflective tape or paint - especially if you are visually impaired and shower without glasses/contacts.
4) The Elderly:
Consider using grab bars, shower seats especially for your elders. 79% of the elderly population accidents in the home are in the bathroom - Personally I'm in my mid 40's and after today I may seriously consider both. r.”
Consider a handheld or adjustable shower head especially if you are seated in the shower. Set the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees to prevent burns.
Lastly, if you are single, have mobility or an illness that may cause you to struggle with steadiness, dizziness, nausea, pain or fall a lot I strongly suggest having a friend with a key to your home that can come if you need them. I happen to run a daycare in my home and I think I am going to give a key to one of them just in case something like this ever happens again. I had no clue how I was going to get help if I couldn't get up.
Websites with more info:
1) Asha.org: Preventing Falls
2) Eldercare.org: Preventing Falls at Home pdf (#4)
3) 2008 statistic is from Healthmonitor.com: 10 top tips for bathroom safety
No Disclaimer needed - just a quick safety lesson & tip sheet for myself!