Bathroom safety is essential for all ages, from kids to seniors.
But the fact is.. a bathroom IS the most dangerous room in the house!
This is due to slippery surfaces which are easy to fall on and sharp corners where someone can hit their head.
When these factors are combined with old age or mobility issues, it can be a deadly environment.
Because bathtub safety is so important in preventing falls and allowing seniors to maintain their independence, a wide variety of walk-in tub safety features are now available. Walk-in tubs provide seniors and the disabled with the stability and assistance they need on a daily basis.
With the right bathtub safety aids in place, the most dangerous room in the house can become one of the safest.
These are 5 of the main safety components your walk-in tub should feature…
1. Safety Grab Bars
Having a safety grab bar can really add that extra reassurance and self-confidence you need in the bathroom.
Imagine.. no more daily balancing acts…
Grab bars work perfectly with walk-in tubs, providing safer mobility and comfort getting in and out of the tub.
One of the keys to bathroom safety is balance. By maintaining your balance, you are less likely to slip or trip and can prevent catastrophic falls.
A properly installed grab bar can provide balance assistance exactly where you need it.
To ensure that your bathroom is as safe as possible, there is a wide variety of walk-in tubs with safety grab bars available to suit your individual needs without having to extensively modify your bathroom.
2. Non-Slip Surfaces
Most walk-in tub models include a textured floor surface in order to prevent slipping. Do not buy a walk-in tub without this feature!
The non-slip surface is created by thousands of minute, shallow indentations in the surface.
This is so subtle that it cannot be seen or felt.
When the surface is wet with water, these shallow indentations fill. If you stand on the wet surface and your foot starts to slide, the water is squeezed out of the indentations turning them into thousands of suction cups that help stop you from slipping.
Don’t worry about the dirt in the non-slip area, it lies underneath the surface level so it doesn’t affect the cleaning process.
3. Low Threshold
An important aspect of any bathtub is the step-in height or threshold.
Traditional bathtubs have high walls that are difficult and dangerous to step over.
But with a walk-in bathtub, the low threshold step is just a few inches from the floor, making it much easier and safer to step into your tub.
A low threshold adds comfort by eliminating much of the stress associated with entering and exiting. It can help you regain your bathing independence.
People who use walkers, wheelchairs, or crutches experience the most difficulty bathing.
Therefore, a walk-in tub with an ADA (Americans with Disability Act) compliant safety seat can make bathing easier and safer for people with mobility issues.
ADA seats adhere to strict safety regulations. Their comfortable height and perfect back support make the bathing experience safer.
There are other certificates that a walk-in tub should have such as IAPMO, UL, and ETL.
IAPMO is the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. This is North America’s premier plumbing and mechanical product certification agency. Their number one goal is to protect the health and safety of the nation.
ETL is an international testing company. An ETL certified mark indicates a product’s electrical, gas, and other minimum safety standards have been met. An ETL certification is proof of product compliance in the United States and Canada.
UL, or Underwriters Laboratories mark, means product samples have been tested and meet the UL requirements based on safety.
Certain states will not allow a walk-in bathtub to be installed without these approvals.
5. Door Features
Deciding whether you want an outward or inward swinging door comes down to more than just preference. Both have their own distinct advantages, but for many it is a decision which could literally save their lives.
Outward swinging may not be an option for some, depending on your bathroom space, but the practicality of this design contributes towards its integrated safety features. In the event of an emergency, the tub door can be opened while it is still filled with water. Naturally, the bathroom floor will be flooded, but this eliminates the need for the tub to drain before the occupant is able to exit.
Outward swinging doors also offer practicality for people facing mobility problems, especially wheelchair-bound individuals. An outward swinging door allows for easy side transfer from a wheelchair into the tub’s surface while also offering extra support in the form of a built-in safety grab bar attached to the inside of the door.
An outward swinger is an obvious choice for most people who have special bariatric requirements.
This basic adjustment to the door has allowed many people their bathing independence.
Most tubs come with an inward opening door. The added benefit of a door that swings inwards is that, once it’s closed and the tub fills, the water pressure acts as an extra seal to ensure no leaks occur. Many smaller tub models are also specifically designed this way in order to allow tubs to be installed in the smallest of bathroom spaces.
Outward swinging door models are for everybody.
Virtually anyone can bath unassisted with an outward swinging door because they were designed for people using wheelchairs or people who need to do a side transfer into the tub.
Most tubs are offered with an inward opening door, but an outward opening door is often the better choice for those who need wheelchair access.
Easy-to-use features, like a large tub door, can give you back your bathing independence.
There is usually a lifetime warranty on the seal of both types of doors but it may only be available to the original owner.
Remember, an outward-opening door will have more pressure placed on it by the water it contains and you will need to consider the space an outward-opening door will need to fully open.
There are many wonderful features that can be added to a walk-in tub, but they come at a price. You must know what is included with the tub you choose before it is delivered.
Walk-in tubs are not ideal for people with dementia unless a caregiver is present. Someone with dementia may find the tub controls confusing, open the door when it is full, or turn on the water and air jets when there is no water in.
For anybody else, the bathroom safety and independence a walk-in tub provides are invaluable.