* Ulster University User Experience Report
Bathing and showering to maintain hygiene can be dangerous and the injury rate rises with age.
Spencer et al conducted an epidemiological study of childhood bathtub related injuries in 2005. The authors investigated bathroom related slips and falls in a consecutive series of 204 children (age range 4 months -16 years) attending a paediatric emergency department over a 3-year period. Slips and falls accounted for 82% of injuries with laceration the most common injury type (67%) with the head or face being the most common injury location (68%). Interestingly, adult supervision was present during 85% of the injuries among children younger than 5 years and following the incident, parents altered the bathing environment in 82% of cases.
The authors concluded that in the case of child bathing, increased supervision alone was insufficient to prevent injury and that passive methods such as providing a slip resistant bathtub surface to increase the coefficient of friction would be most effective in preventing injury (Spencer et al, 2005).
In a retrospective study by Mao et al (2009) using nationally representative data from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 1990-2007 there were an estimated 791,200 bathtub and shower-related injuries among children ≤18 years of age. The most common mechanism of injury was a slip, trip, or fall, accounting for 81% of cases prompting the authors’ conclusion that the incidence of such injuries may be decreased by increasing the coefficient of friction of bathtub and shower surfaces (Mao et al, 2009).
Overall, about two-thirds of accidental injuries across all ages happen in and getting out of the bath or shower. Mishaps near the bath, shower, toilet and sink caused an estimated 234,094 nonfatal injuries in the U.S. in 2008 among people at least 15 years old according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reported online in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.