You might think the kitchen, with its hot stoves and sharp utensils, would be the most dangerous room in your home, but it’s actually the bathroom. According to a 2011 report from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls—the No. 1 problem—most often occurred in or around the bathtub, shower, or toilet.
“We get lots of calls for slips and falls in the bathroom,” says Howard Mell, M.D., a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians who works at several hospitals in Cleveland.
The bathroom is especially hazardous for women, who are at a higher risk than men for falling and getting hurt, perhaps because of lesser body strength and bone mass.
For those age 65 and older, falls often cause more serious injuries, such as hip fractures. Seniors, according to the report, were also more likely to be injured getting on or off the toilet. Standing after sitting for a long time, especially if you’re dehydrated or taking certain medications, can result in a sudden drop in blood pressure that can cause light-headedness or dizziness.
But few of us have bathrooms that are equipped with grab bars, a secure safety device that looks like a railing and could prevent falls. Here are other modifications you can make to your bathroom to make it a safer place.