Safety Solutions in the Loo

If you’re doing a bathroom remodel, you’re probably excitedly searching for just the right vanities, countertops and shower fixtures.  Maybe you’re choosing that stunning ceramic tile and envisioning the Calgon soaking tub.  But are you considering safety?  A recent article in Remodeling Magazine noted that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 235,000 people over the age of 15 visit the emergency room each year due to injuries that happen in the bathroom.  About 14 percent of those people are hospitalized.  

The biggest culprit: falls.  Most people don’t think about ways to prevent falls in the bathroom.  In a bathroom remodel, the last thing you want to install in your new bathroom is a grab bar, right?  You don’t have to sacrifice style and design for safety.  Today’s universal designs allow for fixtures whose safety is invisible yet functional.  For example, curb-less and low-curb showers help the user to avoid slipping or tripping when exiting or entering the shower.  These showers use a linear drain, requiring a slightly sloped floor in one direction.  Add a shower seat for more safety and convenience.  Walk-in tubs with doors are also popular and the styles are sleek and attractive. 

“Comfort height” is the trend in toilets and sinks.  These fixtures add a few inches to the traditional height, which can make a big difference in ease of use and independence.  They are especially convenient for people with bad backs or aching knees, because they don’t require as much bending.  They make life easier.  

Finally, lighting is key, not only in the bathroom, but throughout the house.  Always put in more light than you think you’ll need.  According to Remodeling Magazine, people at age 60 need three times the amount of light they did at age 20.  This can be both a safety feature and an aesthetics feature — from natural daylight to stronger light bulbs.