HOMEOWNER TIPS: BATHROOM

Speaker of the House Inspection Services offers the following tips about bathroom safety.

Bathroom

A light switch near the bathroom door will prevent you from walking through a dark area. Install a night-light. Inexpensive lights that plug into outlets are available. Consider replacing the existing switch with a "glow switch" that can be seen in the dark.
Electrical appliances and power cords can cause shock or electrocution if they come in contact with water. Consider adding new outlets for convenience and safety; ask your electrician to install outlets equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to protect against electric shock. A GFCI is a shock-protection device that will detect electrical fault and shut off electricity before serious injury or death occurs.
Wet soapy tile or porcelain surfaces are especially slippery and may contribute to falls. Apply textured strips or appliqués on the floors of tubs and showers. Use non-skid mats in the tub and shower, and on the bathroom floor.
Grab bars can help you get into and out of your tub or shower, and can help prevent falls. Check existing bars for strength and stability, and repair if necessary. Attach grab bars through the tile to structural supports in the wall, or install bars specifically designed to attach to the sides of the bathtub.
Water temperature above 120 degrees can cause tap water scalds. Lower the setting on your hot water heater to "Low" or 120 degrees. If you are unfamiliar with the controls of your water heater, ask a qualified person to adjust it for you.  If the water heater does not have a temperature setting, you can use a thermometer to check the temperature of the water at the tap. Always check water temperature by hand before entering bath or shower. Taking baths, rather than showers, reduces the risk of a scald from suddenly changing water temperatures.
Grandparents should use child-resistant vials if they are able to. Although grandparents may get traditional easy-to-open closures by asking their pharmacist for them, the child-resistant vials should be used whenever children are around.
Store all medicines separately from household products, and store all household chemical products away from food. Keep items in their original containers. Leave the original labels on all products, and read the label before using. Always leave the light on when giving or taking medicines. Clean out the medicine cabinet periodically, and safely dispose of unneeded medicines when the illness for which they were prescribed is over. Pour contents down drain or toilet, and rinse container before discarding. Turn on a light at night and put on your glasses to read the label when you need to take a medicine. If any questions arise, consult your physician. Never mix medicines and alcohol, and never take more than the prescribed amount of medicine. Never "borrow" a friend's medicine or take old medicines. Tell your doctor what other medicines you are taking so you can avoid adverse drug interactions.


The Speaker Says