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You Must Be Having A Bubble Bath

Sep 10, 2008
When it comes to household accidents, the bathroom is by far the most dangerous place. These accidents come in the form of trips, slips, electrocution, poisoning, drowning and burns. The severity ranges from being a bit sore to death. Who would have thought that bodily hygiene functions could be so dangerous?

In the US it is claimed that five thousand children are scalded in the bathroom every year to the point of needing hospitalisation. This is not as irresponsible as it may sound - after all, accidents do happen. Very often though, these scalds happen when a child is able to turn on a tap by themselves and are left alone in a bath. Therefore, this reason is obviously and easily avoided.

However, other burning incidents to children and adults alike happen when another water source is used in the property and a sudden rise in temperature from a shower head occurs. This is dangerous and also avoidable by ensuring the shower is fitted with a balancing valve to control water temperature fluctuations. This sudden change in water temperature is also responsible for people slipping or tripping when they have been startled by this event.

Many of the older style water heaters had a manufacturers setting of 140 degrees. However, exposure to these temperatures of only eight seconds will result in a third degree burn whereas turning down your thermostat by a mere twenty degrees will not only still give you very hot water but it also means that any accidents leave you with a much better chance as it takes a whole ten minutes in water of 120 degrees to cause a third degree burn.

Slips and trips often happen in baths or showers due to the slippery nature of the wet surfaces. This is not completely unavoidable but precautions can be taken such as installing baths and showers with special non-slip surfaces or even a temporary fix of a bath mat will certainly help.

Injuries have occurred through faulty bathroom fittings, particularly toilet seats and the elderly and infirm are more susceptible to this sort of accident.
Another cause of accidents and deaths in bathroom related incidents is where people do not use appropriate storage. Medicines, poisons such a bleach and other cleaning products, and sharp objects like scissors and razors all cause accidents that could be avoided if the items were locked away in a cupboard.

One issue that has been tackled that was previously so dangerous in a bathroom has been that of faulty hot water heaters. Gas explosions have occurred that take out whole families and homes in one swift move.

Bodged up repairs or unchecked faults resulting from slack maintenance often left virtually undetectable leaks within the gas workings of hot water heaters and these were highly poisonous. Carbon monoxide has no smell to it and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning a very vague until it is too late, at which point people often simply go to sleep and don't wake up again.

Many of the accidents that happen within the home, and particularly in the bathroom, can be avoided simply by taking proper precautions. Appropriate maintenance is the most important thing possible and this needs to be carried out by plumbing professionals. Most people, especially men, like to think that a little DIY is not beyond them and that is all very well but there are many people who, with hindsight, wish they had laid out that few extra pounds and called in the professionals.
About the Author
Safety expert Catherine Harvey looks at how easily accidents happen in the bath and how they can be avoided.
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