Bathtub safety should be in place before you step into the tub. I don’t care how old you are, when the surface is wet, it is slippery. Anyone can slip and fall, and possibly break a bone. Let’s plan ahead and be safe before an accident occurs.
In this article, I will discuss some items that you might want to purchase so you can be safe in the bathtub.
How Do You Make a Bathtub Safe?
Start with being mindful of what you are doing. I admit that if I am hurrying or focused on something else, I get careless. When you are in a slippery environment, you must be aware of what you are doing and you should do it slowly. Especially if you are older, like me.
In fact, this article from the National Institutes of Health discusses this very topic. Read it here Incidence and Characteristics of Bath-related Accidents.
According to my research, these items can make the bath experience safer and therefore more relaxing.
Grab bars provide extra stability. Not only do they make it easier to get up from sitting, but the person can use them to step out of the tub. This can prevent slipping and falling.
Grab bars come in various shapes and sizes. They can also be permanent or portable. You should consider your tub size and shape, the ability of the individual to grab and of course cost. I have an article I wrote about clamp on grab bars. It is a place to start. Here it is: Best Clamp on Grab Bar for Getting Out of the Tub.
You may want to try a clamp on to see if it is helpful. Then you could install a more permanent model if the situation warrants it. Clamp on is certainly less expensive.
Bathtub Mat/Non-Slip Stickers
This is a fairly easy fix, and not very expensive. If you own your home, you can of course place permanent stickers or strips on the bottom of the tub. If you rent, then you can still be safe by using a mat that suctions to the bottom.
In either case you are looking to provide a non-slip surface that will provide stability. I know you are thinking that you only need these when you shower. But when getting in and out of the tub, you are standing, so it is important to have some gripping surface to prevent slipping.
Find something that is fairly comfortable to sit on. You don’t want stickers that are so scratchy that it is uncomfortable to sit on. I like my mat because it provides a surface where I can get traction but not be uncomfortable.
One product I saw was called Gorilla Grip. Check them out.
Once we step out of the tub, a rug that won’t slip is just as essential as a mat inside the tub. You can add some adhesive to a rug you already have, if you are especially fond of that rug. Generally the adhesive is permanent on the floor though, so that may not be the best option.
A bath rug that has a non-slip bottom would be my recommendation. You can get them fairly cheap, and start on the road to bathroom safety. Here’s a simple one that is washable, which I also recommend.
Gorilla Grip also makes these products.
Would a Stepping Stool Help? Inside the Tub?
I have a fairly high sided tub. I have already bruised my joint on it. So I am being much more mindful of stepping in and out. Depending on the height of your tub, you may benefit from a stepping stool.
These products come in stools that can be placed outside the tub, inside the tub and some have a bar to grab onto. The issue with stools is they can tip over and then cause just as much harm as falling. So make sure you have one that is very stable.
If you have to use a stool, it might be a good idea to have someone there to assist you. Personally, I feel a stool might be a detriment rather than an asset.
These are fairly expensive options, and should be carefully considered if this seems like a solution to your problem.
The Mangar Archimedes Bath Lift is a little over $100 and seems like a dependable option. This unit sits in the tub, so you actually have to get in first. Then it lowers the seat and raises when you are finished.
This is a great option for those who have trouble getting up off the floor, something that is more and more difficult as we age.
There are more expensive models that actually lift you into the tub and lower you, like the ones you see at pools and rehabilitation centers.
Have All Products Nearby
Reaching for soap, shampoo and other bathing products can be unsafe if they are not nearby. Have these on the ledge in the tub. And make sure you have your towel at hand once you get out so you don’t have to walk across the floor when you are wet.
What Is the Safest Way To Get Out of a Bathtub?
Most of us don’t own those walk-in tubs, which sound wonderful, so we have to make do with the fixed type that requires us to step in and out.
If you have good arm strength, the natural thing is to lift yourself from a sitting position, using the sides of the tub. But if you are elderly, or in some type of pain, then that might not be an option.
I now turn myself over so I am on all fours. Then I grab the side and lift myself from a kneeling position. Find a safe procedure that works for you.
Make sure you have a mat in the tub, and a non-skid rug on the floor. Use a grab bar if need be to steady yourself. Stand on the rug to completely dry yourself. Dripping water on slippery floors is a recipe for accidents.
This video was made by the manufacturer of the product, but it is something that helps people that are unable to get in the tub by themselves.
Let’s not forget your bathroom should be well lit. It may be nice to have a subdued candle lit room, but leave that for the bedroom please. If you don’t have the best lighting in your bathroom, you can install wireless and battery operated lighting. This is an inexpensive solution to having a well lit bathing area.
If you are giving a child a bath, never ever leave them alone. Once they are old enough to manage washing themselves they can have some privacy, but always keep a close ear for any problems. Teach them water safety early so they respect the dangers of unsafe behavior in water.
Make sure the temperature isn’t to hot in your tub. Test it with your hand, or more specifically on your wrist.
This is the first in a series of articles discussing the bathing experience and products that make the experience better. In the future I will provide affiliate links for products I investigate, but I have no such links in this post. You are welcome to suggest products and ask questions regarding this topic. Please do so in the comments section.