Every year, there are hundreds of small accidents in the home that aren’t reported in the media, usually because they are not sensational enough, or haven’t involved a big-name celebrity. The accident stories with the “cute” factor, such as the toddler with his hand caught in the bath plug hole being rescued by the firemen will make news, as will anything involving a small furry animal with a sad face. What isn’t reported is the stories of people who have slipped on the bathroom floor and fractured bones, been concussed, sustained other injuries and lain there for hours, undiscovered.

If they are not reported in the media, then how do we know they happen? Because we have all heard such a story from someone else, or have experienced it ourselves. The anecdotal evidence, and the health insurance claims will back up the assertion that this type of incident happens every day, and sometimes with life-threatening consequences, especially for the elderly. It could all be avoided quite simply, by making sure that the floor surface in the bathroom isn’t slippery, either when dry or wet.

Many modern floor tiles have a high gloss finish to achieve the dazzling, mirrored look so favoured by interior designers and the buying public. In this highly polished state, they can be slippery even when they are dry, depending on the footwear being worn. When splashed with water, either from the hand basin or the bath or shower, they are quite dangerous, and measures must be taken to minimise the hazard.

One of the most efficient and attractive ways to keep water off the bathroom floor, is to throw out your old shower curtain and install glass shower screens across the shower cubicle. Even if the shower is over the bath, glass shower screens can still be installed which will keep the water off the floor tiles. Bathmats should also have a non-stick backing so they don’t slide out from under the person stepping out of the shower.

The importance of non slip bathroom flooring cannot be emphasized enough when the occupants of the dwelling are elderly. In the latter stages of life, while general overall health can be very good, balance and strength are often not so good, and a bad fall in the bathroom is often, sadly, the first step in the slow transition from hospital to nursing home. Such falls often result in fractures, particularly of the hip which can take months to heal, if they heal at all.

With the shower screen keeping the water off the floor, and non-slip bath mats on the floor tiles, the next important accessory for the elderly is a non-slip mat, or non-slip strips on the bottom of the bath or shower recess. These are designed to adhere to the surface and remain in place, even after being wet. They can be quite unobtrusive if properly colour matched, and give the user confidence that they won’t slip and fall.

Accidents like slips and falls happen so quickly because we all get complacent and think it won’t happen to us. Properly installed glass shower screens will seal the gap where the water has been escaping, and help the householder keep the bathroom floor dry.