A guide to bathroom safety

Provide good lighting. Put rubberbacked, nonskid rugs or carpeting on the floor. Use suction-backed mats or adhesive decals inside the tub and shower-don’t depend on built-in rough patches. Install grab bars in the tub or shower and, if you have an elderly or handicapped resident, next to the toilet. For reliability, fasten these to wall studs.

Shatterproof enclosures are advisable for tubs or shower stalls. Check with your supplier about products with the American National Standard Institute’s V-97 certification.

Prescription drugs and other medications can be a hazard when young children are around. Keep medications out of the bathroom cabinet or equip the cabinet with a lock. Store cleaning products in an inaccessible place. (See also Childproofing.) Preventing burns from hot water

If your shower douses you with hot water when another tap is turned on or the toilet is flushed, install a mixing valve with a built-in temperature and pressure regulator. Electric hazards

Water conducts electricity, so exercise caution with electric appliances. Don’t operate light switches or use shavers or hairdryers when your feet or hands are wet. Unplug appliances as soon as you’re finished with them.

Most new appliances have built-in cords, but those on some older appliances detach from the appliance. Unplug such a cord from the wall first; a cord dangling from an outlet can cause severe shock if dropped into water.

Portable electric heaters, radios, and tape players are risky in a wet environment. Don’t use them in the bathroom. If someone insists on listening to music or news there, get a battery-operated model.

If your bathroom doesn’t already have them, seriously consider installing grounded outlets. Even if an outlet has a grounding slot, use a circuit tester to make sure that the outlet is truly grounded (see Electric receptacles; Ground-fault interrupters). Bathroom door locks Privacy is less important than safety. Remove interior locks from bathroom doors unless a locked door can be opened from the outside.