Bathroom Design: Safety features in bathrooms
While designing a bathroom, how many of us give adequate consideration to safety features? Well, studies show that an alarmingly high percentage of falls and other accidents occur in bathrooms. So, don’t you think that safety features in bathrooms is as important as other aspects of bathroom design?
It is fine to want a smooth and shiny bathroom floor – but on second thoughts, is it safe? Highly polished flooring in bathrooms is best avoided, as it is easy to slip and fall. Polished marble, granite as well as tiles and some other types of flooring do look good, no doubt, however, in bathrooms, splashing of water, spillage of oils/creams and other bath and beauty products are inevitable and these in turn will double the risk. Anti-skid (rough textured/matt finish etc) flooring is best, especially for the wet areas of bathrooms.
It would be prudent to place anti-skid mats in the shower as well as next to bathtubs and Jacuzzis. This is extremely important if the bathroom is used by the elderly, children as well as people with disabilities. Rugs and carpets do enhance the aesthetics, however, rugs that are not anchored is highly avoidable in bathrooms, especially if the flooring is highly polished. Accidental tripping and falling that may result in broken bones or even worse mishaps are caused many a time by rugs in the bathroom. Segregate the wet area from the dry area in your bathroom. Install shower cubicles/partitions or curtains to prevent water from the shower spilling over to other areas.
Grab bars are essential safety features in bathrooms. Grab bars/railings are required in the showering area, as well as next to the bath tub. Grab bars are available in different designs and shapes. Sometimes, it gets a little difficult to pull yourself up from the bath tub. Grab rails that are positioned appropriately will solve this problem as well as prevent slipping and falling. Grab rails/vertical poles next to the tub will aid in climbing out of the tub without mishaps.
Seating in the shower area is another safety feature. This would help the elderly and even ailing to take a shower without the fear of falling (due to weakness). However, fixed seating or at least sturdy seating is advisable. Movable and flimsy plastic stools are best avoided as these will cause more harm than good. Fold up benches (in tight spaces) as well as other seating even in the dry areas would be helpful as well.
Accidents (burns) caused due to extremely hot water is another common safety hazard in bathrooms. Dual mixers may seem tricky for the elderly and weak as well as for children or even for absent minded souls! Yours truly once stepped into the shower, turning on just the hot water, only to jump out just as promptly with a scalded shoulder! Worse accidents could occur, so it is worth considering single lever mixers. Also, setting the thermostat control to a safe level is best.
Proper and adequate lighting with backup power is essential in bathrooms. This enhances functionality as well as safety.
See that all electrical are properly wired and earthed and that all gadgets in the bathroom adhere to safety norms. Small children as well as the weak and very old people should not be left unattended in hot tubs/Jacuzzis.
Make sure that all fittings are fixtures are secure – this helps in avoiding mishaps. A loose towel rail or grab rail that comes off in your hand could cause serious accidents and injuries. A shower head falling down on your head wouldn’t enlighten you as the falling apple did Newton!
Very low toilets also tend to cause accidents at times – a weak/unwell person may find it difficult to pull himself up from the seat. Seats that are adjustable and increase the height by a few inches would solve this problem. Grab rails/bars next to the toilet ensures safety.
A telephone/intercom in the bathroom is an additional safety feature. You may get locked inside the bathroom, may feel giddy or slightly unwell/have a fall or worse – may be experiencing a heart-attack and need help. A calling bell is also a good safety feature, in case you need help.
Better safe than sorry, right? Give safety features maximum importance while designing/remodeling your bathroom.