Did you know that about 235,000 people annually suffer from injuries from bathroom falls? About 14% of these falls result in hospitalization from serious injuries. But there are easy ways to ensure you don’t find yourself as one of these statistics. By adding simple safety equipment and improving balance skills, you can prevent these types of falls from occurring in the first place.
We often attribute falls in the bathroom to the natural aging process. As we age, we tend to lose confidence in the balance and stability we had when we were younger. This is why taking safety precautions is essential to our daily hygiene routines. Our guide to bathroom fall prevention will analyze the general causes of falls. We’ll also offer various preventative measures to take, and discuss what you should do if you fall in the bathroom.
Causes of Falling in the Bathroom
What are the hazards in the bathroom? Understanding what causes falling in the bathroom is a crucial preventive measure. You can upgrade your bathroom to mitigate these causes and prevent slipping and tripping. Here are the primary causes of falling in the bathroom:
Slippery floors are one of the most common causes of falls. When the floors are slippery, they can reduce the friction between your feet and the floor. The type of shoes you wear can also increase the slipping rates. Shoes that have smooth soles do not provide much traction for your feet.
Instead, the best footwear for preventing falls in the bathroom is made with quick-dry material while incorporating ergonomic comfort and a non-slip sole into the design. Shower sandals such as the Xomiboe Shower Shoes are excellent because they dry quickly and use a non-slip material to ensure stability while in the shower.
If the room is made from smooth slick material like linoleum or vinyl, you can be at a higher risk of falling. Because the floor appears naturally smooth, it can be hard to see whether you are walking on a potentially slippery floor. Therefore, it is best to treat every floor as slippery.
Difficulties with your balance and wobbling when you walk can increase the risk of slipping and falling. Poor health conditions can reduce your ability to maintain balance. For example, if you have arthritis, you can experience numb knees when getting out of the bathtub or shower stall.
You can also experience difficulties in hand-eye coordination. Lack of proper coordination reduces the effectiveness of using hands properly to hold on to something. The result is a fall on the floor (or even into the bathtub).
Poor lighting in bathrooms can make it difficult to see what is around you. The problem can increase if there is light overhead. Visibility problems leave you vulnerable to tripping over.
Additionally, if your bathroom has bright lights shining directly into your eyes, you can experience poor visibility. When this happens, it can cause temporary blindness. You can bump into objects like toilet seats or towel racks and fall.
Lack of Safety Measures
Safety is a primary concern for many people. However, most people do not think about it in the bathroom. Safety measures should always be present to prevent injuries from occurring.
If there is no grab rail near the bathtub, you can trip and fall when getting out of the bathroom. A grab rail can help you rest your arms and support yourself while bathing. If the bathroom lacks a grab rail, it increases the risk of slipping and falling. It is difficult for someone with weak wrists to hold onto the bathroom walls while taking a bath.
5 Tips For Preventing Falling in the Bathroom
Falling in the bathroom is a common occurrence. However, you can prevent this by upgrading your bathroom and following some simple safety advice. Here are some general tips on preventing falls in the shower and the bathroom.
Maintain Dry Floors
Maintaining dry floors is essential when talking about bathroom fall prevention. They can help reduce the risk of slipping and falling while getting into the bathroom. Stepping on a wet floor increases the risk of falling in the bathroom. If possible, clean the floor regularly by sweeping up any debris that has fallen on the floor.
You can use a dry towel or mop to help remove water from the floor. You can also prevent water buildup from steam by using a dehumidifier. Maintaining dry floors will help reduce the amount of moisture in the bathroom and make it less slippery when wet.
Use Non-Slip Mats
Non-slip mats have rough textured bottoms that prevent slipping while in the shower. It makes it easier for you to stand on your feet. Using a non-slip mat can increase the stability of the smooth tiles of the bathroom.
Gorilla Grip Patented Shower and Bath Mat
We like this mat because it STAYS PUT! It has a whopping 324 suction cups to keep it in place. The drainage holes on the surface keep water from pooling on top. The improved air flow also dries better to avoid any mold or mildew buildup. Does your bath mat sometimes need a bath too? The Gorilla Grip Bath Mat is machine washable as well.
The most important safety measure is to repair loose tiles or remove loose shower steps in the bathroom. Loose tiles or shower steps can easily trip you when getting a shower. If you can not remove the loose shower step in time, it is important to have adequate lighting in the bathroom.
You can also install grab bars on the wall. The grab bars will assist in gaining stability and balance when getting in and out of the bathroom. Installing grab bars can help make it easier for someone with limited mobility.
Exercise helps you maintain good balance and coordination. Regular exercise can increase your flexibility and stability. After exercising, you are less likely to fall when you are on your feet. If you already have balance problems, exercise can help you build strength and stamina.
Making a daily habit of conducting easy exercises can improve your stamina and agility while vastly reducing your chances of experiencing a fall. Practicing simple balance exercise is a great way to keep your body flexible and moving no matter how old you are. These exercises are low-intensity and easy to complete right in the comfort of your home.
Make sure you get a check-up regularly, especially if you’re having trouble with your balance. Your doctor can recommend that you see a physical therapist for some exercises. The exercises can strengthen muscles in your legs and feet.
What To Do After Falling in the Bathroom
After taking a fall in the bathroom and suffering an injury, you can take a few essential steps to help yourself. Read these tips and learn what to do after falling in the shower or somewhere else in the bathroom.
Stay Calm and Take a Deep Breath
If you fall in the bathroom, it is important to remain as calm as possible. The National Institute of Aging states that taking a deep breath and remaining calm can help overcome the fall’s initial shock. check for injuries. If you notice or feel an obvious injury, you should not attempt to move.
Check for Injuries
It’s essential to take a minute to scan your body for potential injuries. Injuries can range from broken bones, cuts, or bruises to serious head trauma. Here are a few potential warning signs of a broken bone:
- You notice swelling or bruising on your arm or leg.
- Your leg or arm experiences pain when you move it.
- Your arm or leg looks “out of shape” or deformed.
- Your limb flops around can you cannot control it.
Seek Medical Attention
If you think you may have fractured a bone, see a doctor right away. In most cases, the pain will go away after a few days. However, if your pain does not improve or you have trouble moving, call your doctor immediately. You can visit the doctor’s office for consultation and medication after the fall.
While it may seem inconvenient to improve the safety of your bathroom, falling in the bathroom can be dangerous. If you fall while showering or bathing, you can sustain injuries on your head, neck, and back. However, many bathroom slip and fall accidents are preventable.
You can reduce your fall risk by being aware of the dangers and taking precautions. You should remember the preventive measures and what to do if you fall. The measures can help save your life someday.
Visit our website to learn more about preventive measures for falling in the bathroom.
Stevens JA, Mahoney JE, Ehrenreich H. Circumstances and outcomes of falls among high risk community-dwelling older adults. Inj Epidemiol. 2014 Mar 20;1(5):5. doi: 10.1186/2197-1714-1-5. PMID: 26744637; PMCID: PMC4700929.