Since a home fire is such a devastating event, it is often assumed that the kitchen is the most dangerous room in the house. However this is not true according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In terms of the numbers of injuries sustained, the bathroom is by far the most dangerous and a major reason you will want home insurance.
Why the Bathroom?
The bathroom is frequented multiple times a day, every day of the year by all members of the household. Many surfaces such as the bathtub and sometimes the floor are wet and slippery. If one slips and falls, the bathroom has little open floor space available for a clean landing. Instead, it has many hard objects that one can land against such as the sink, toilet, bathtub, counters with sharp corners and various metal faucets that project out of the walls.
Given the dangerous nature of the bathroom and its frequent use by family members over many years, it is not surprising that an accident is highly probable.
Where Do Most Injuries Occur?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the bathtub or shower was the scene of 65.8 percent of the injuries. These injuries happened while showering or bathing, and getting out of the tub or shower. While bathtub mats and nonskid strips are used in 63 percent of homes, very few private homes have grab bars to assist getting into and out of the bathtub or shower.
The toilet accounted for 23.4 percent of the accidents. These happen as a result of standing up from, sitting down on and using the toilet. The accidents were most frequent among persons who were 65 years and older. These occurred because of fainting brought about by abdominal straining and from lightheadedness caused by standing up after being seated for a long period of time.
What are the Common Types of Injuries?
In decreasing order of frequency, the injuries occurred to the head or neck, lower trunk, upper trunk, leg/foot and arm/hand. The common types of injuries in decreasing order of frequency were contusions or abrasions, strain or sprain, fracture, laceration, internal injury, concussion and burn or scald.
How Can Bathrooms Be Made Safer?
Accidents can be reduced with the installation of grab bars next to the toilet and at the bathtub or shower. The grab bars should facilitate both getting into and out of tubs and showers. Install bathtub mats and nonskid strips if you don't have them. An over toilet chair with handles adds more height which makes standing up from or sitting down on the toilet much easier.
These suggestions combined with an increased awareness of the problem can significantly reduce the risks of using the most dangerous room in your home. However, risk reduction isn't enough. Accidents still happen and hopefully it has been made clear to those who are either uninsured or underinsured that one can't escape life's health risks. Risks are everywhere, even in your home.