While many people embark on bathroom renovation projects to increase the comfort and style of the room, experts say homeowners considering a change should also take safety into account. In fact, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the bathroom is the most dangerous room in any home. Nearly 370 Americans suffer bathtub or shower related injuries each day.
"There are many reasons why injuries in the bathroom are so common, and it begins with many people reaching an age when grab bars are needed for bathrooms that have an outdated design in need of an update," bathroom design expert Dave Redmon recently told Lake Michigan Shore magazine. "With just a few easy-to-implement remodeling solutions, injuries can be prevented."
The trend of making the bathroom safer for users of all ages is known as "universal design," or UD. There are several ways individuals can incorporate some UD concepts into any bathroom project.
Consider eliminating your bathtub
Taking out the bathtub and opting for a shower stall instead reduces the risk of falling while getting in and out of the shower. It's even possible to eliminate the lip of the shower altogether, which is a design option many older or handicapped individuals may embrace.
Add grab bars
Whether you have a walk-in shower or a traditional bathtub, installing grab bars can help users of all ages get in and out better, reducing the risk of slipping and falling. Grab bars are available in different styles and finishes to match any decor.
Adding a bench in your tub or shower can also help increase the safety of your bathroom. Make sure you also include a handheld shower or install an adjustable shower head on a slide bar to make bathing possible for users of all heights.
Replace your toilet
A comfort-height toilet is several inches taller than a traditional toilet, which can making sitting down and getting up easier, especially for older individuals or those who use a wheelchair. Adding grab bars next to any toilet is also a good idea.
Replace slippery floors
Some bathroom floor surfaces, like marble, can be slippery when wet, which makes them dangerous for individuals of all ages. According to AgeInPlace.com, textured tile offers users more traction and reduces the risk of slipping.
Installing electric floor heating can also increase the comfort of the room for everyone who uses it. Warm floors make stepping out of the shower or tub a more enjoyable experience, especially when it's cold outside.
Experts say the fact that members of the Baby Boom generation are aging makes UD bathroom updates more necessary than ever before.