Have young children or older relatives with physical limitations? There are a number of steps you can take to make your bathroom safer and more accessible. From grab bars to shower chairs, you have options.
Use this guide to see more bath safety equipment. Then, get ready to enjoy a bathroom that's more functional for everyone.
Elevated Toilet Seats
Back or knee problems can make sitting on a toilet difficult. To reduce discomfort, install an elevated toilet seat. They are also called toilet seat risers. You can add it right on top of the existing seat. Or, add a wall-mounted model that can be hung at a comfortable height.
Portable elevated seats can fit both standard and elongated toilets. These are ideal for those who use wheelchairs. Some elevated toilet seats come with padded armrests. Armrests are great for those who need additional support.
Chair-height toilets sit 3 1/2-inches higher than a standard toilet. They are also known as comfort-level toilets or elongated toilets. They make commode access easier and safer for many.
Consider pairing it with open-hook toilet paper holder. Open-hook toilet paper holders allow replacement rolls to slide easily on and off a hook. They offer convenience for people with hand-eye coordination trouble. Consider adding a bidet to make personal hygiene easier.
Tub & Shower Grab Bars
Improve safety and convenience in slippery bathing areas with grab bars. Grab bars in the shower can be installed horizontally or vertically. Bathtub safety rails clamp to the side of the tub to provide extra stability. They are fairly easy to install.
Tub-mounted grab bars should be used with caution. These are made only to steady rather than support. Some safety rails can't be used on fiberglass tubs. Make sure you purchase the correct kind for your tub material.
Hand-Held Shower Systems
Hand-held shower heads and showering systems make bathing easier. They're primarily used for young children and those with limited mobility. They are also easier to clean and maintain.
Prevent slips in the bathtub or shower with non-slip bathtub mats. These mats can provide greater traction and prevent dangerous falls. For additional safety, hang them over the tub when not in use. This helps to avoid tripping. They are also called shower safety treads.
Bath Seats & Chairs
Shower seats and shower chairs allow those with limited mobility to shower or bathe in comfort. Chairs with backs and benches make it easier to sit upright. They also provide seat cutouts to allow water to drain. Look for suction cups on chair and bench bases to provide more stability. To make getting in and out easier, position one side of the bench in the tub and the other side outside of it.
Bath seats or transfer benches are a better option than grab bars for those with balance issues. If a person has weakness in the legs, seats are great because it allows them to enter and exit while seated.
Bathroom Grab Bars
Install grab bars throughout the rest of the bathroom to help with stability and support. Grab bars provide extra support when installed on walls surrounding the toilet. Whether someone is trying to sit or getting up, grab bars help.
Have a small bathroom? If no nearby walls are available, try free-standing safety bars. They provide similar support around most standard toilets. For greater convenience, install sheltering arm bars on both sides of the toilet.
Decorative Bars and Accessories
These days, you can make your bathroom safer without compromising style. There are many decorative accessories in multiple sizes available. The best part? They often come with matching faucets and bath hardware. Examples are toilet paper holders, towel rings, robe hooks and mirrors.
Brightly colored grab bars are great for people with poor eyesight. There are also styles that attach at only one end, which allow you to collapse or swivel the bar when not in use.
You can also add wall-mounted soap and lotion dispensers. Install onto the wall or in a corner, for easy, push-button access.
Grab Bar Installation Safety
You can install grab bars in one of three ways.
- Anchor them securely into wall studs.
- Utilize plywood blocking behind the wall.
- Use an approved fastener.
These will require drilling to install. There are a few options that are tool-free. Look for instructions that say they utilize suction cups. These suction bars will have a visual indicator that turns from red to green. Green means it's securely adhered to the wall. Check the load standards on these before purchasing.
- Each option must withstand loads of up to 250 pounds. Models with higher load standards are available depending on your needs.
- Bars can be 12 to 42 inches long and 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter.
- They often come in nonslip brushed or textured finishes.
- Look for the label that says it meets ADA standards before installing.
Designing a bathroom for children can be surprisingly difficult. Children look at the bathroom as another place to play. For their safety, never leave them unsupervised. In designing for children, you have a few options:
- Add a baby gate. This keeps young kids out of the bathroom when you're not in there with them.
- Children’s toilets have a lower seat height. They are easy to replace with a standard toilet as the child grows.
- Locks may be used on doors, toilet seats and cabinets. They prevent access to hazardous products in the cabinet. They prevent accidental falls into the toilet bowl, which can lead to drowning.
- Outlet covers may be inserted when outlets are not in use.
- Step stools help children climb into bathtubs without falling. They also help them reach the sink when washing their hands.
- Vinyl or textured tiles are less slippery, providing greater traction.
- Night lights, continuous or with motion sensors, reduce the risk of tripping. They make nighttime visits to the bathroom safer.
Additional Safety Tips
Even with all the proper safety equipment installed, accidents happen. To keep your home as safe as can be, consider these precautionary tips:
- Stick double-faced carpet tape on rugs. Or, use non-staining, anti-skid mats to ensure they don't slide on a wet floor.
- Use slip-resistant floor tile.
- Double check that your grab bars are anchored to the wall framing.
- Keep hair dryers, curling irons and electric razors in a safe spot. Put on a wide surface away from water sources.
- Check your electrical outlets. Ensure there're ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected.
- Use plastic glasses, soap trays and other accessories. These materials won't shatter if they hit a hard floor or countertop.
- Lower the temperature in your water heater to 120 F. Install anti-scald valves in faucets, tubs and showers.
- Install a cordless telephone in the bathroom in case of emergency.
Tip: While designing your home to be more accessible, start by looking for products labeled as “universal design.” This refers to products designed for easy use by everyone, no matter their physical abilities. Also look for products that meet ADA standards.
Ready to start making your bathroom more accessible? The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.