A Few Words About Bathroom Safety

Posted 1/12/11
Written by Chris Stoeri

Bathroom safety is important for everyone, but it is especially important for someone with any type of permanent or temporary disability. If you think about it, the bathroom can present many dangers with sharp edges, slippery floors, limited spaces, etc. A large part of your independence rests on being able to use the bathroom in a safe way.
Primarily it boils down to stability and keeping your balance while performing basic tasks in the bathroom. Being able to safely get up from the toilet, get in and out of the bathtub, or enter or exit the shower is key to avoiding injury and being able to maintain your independence.
Two of the most basic ingredients to make your bathroom a safer place are grab bars and raised toilet seats. But there are others, such as bath seats, transfer benches, and hand held showers.
  • Wall grab bars – the great thing about these is that they offer the balance and stability right where you need it. They come in a variety of lengths and attach to the wall with screws. You could put one next to your toilet making it easier to get up or sit down, or one or two in the shower or bath allowing you a place to grip for added stability. They can be mounted at any angle. It’s all up the user where to mount them but take great care to properly install them into wall studs or use heavy duty wall anchors. If you are not comfortable installing grab bars, get professional help. Any handy person or contractor should be able to help. Improperly installed grab bars could end up being a safety hazard.
  • Tub grab bars – typically these attach to the tub wall with clamps and rise above the tub by up to a foot or more allowing you a place to grip while you swing your leg over into the tub (or out of it). Most of the clamps are tightened by hand making them easy for just about anyone to install.
  • Floor to ceiling pole grab bars – these work in many areas of the home but especially in the bathroom. They are simply wedged into place by twisting the pole. Since no drilling is required, you can take the pole down and move it to another location if you wish. Since they don’t mount to the wall you could put one in front of toilet for example.
  • Raised toilet seats – These simply attach to the toilet either with thumb screws (for locking models) or rest on top of the toilet with gravity holding it in place (the existing seat and cover is removed). A raised toilet seat can add up to 6” height to your toilet making it easier to sit down. They are easily removable for cleaning. Some models feature built in handles that rise up on the sides for added grip while sitting down or standing up.

Devices like grab bars or raised toilet seats are an inexpensive and easy way to improve safety your bathroom. Take some time to investigate which of these items might be right for you!

About the Author
Chris Stoeri was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 17, and has spent several years as an active volunteer for the Arthritis Foundation. He founded EnableYourLife.com to help people with all types of diabilities to more easily tackle their daily challenges, providing a wide range of mobility products, self help aids, wheelchair parts and accessories, and thousands of other medical produtcts and supplies.