Are Walk-In Tubs dangerous?

Are Walk in Tubs Dangerous

Walk-in tubs make an excellent choice for the elderly, but they can come with risks. Read below to evaluate whether the benefits exceed risks for your situation.

We all love soaking in a nice warm bath. The therapeutic benefits have been well documented, and the ability to recharge after a long day is something we all need. For people who have mobility issues, a walk-in bathtub feature-filled model can be beneficial and ease the transition into and out of the bathtub.

Whenever you think of investing in limited mobility walk-in tubs, a safety question always comes to mind – “Are Walk-in Tubs Dangerous?”. In general, the walk-in tub is safe because of its additional features such as leak-proof, low threshold bathtub door, safety grab bars, anti-slip mats, and hand-held shower function.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, 50% to 60% of older adult falls occur in the home, and the bathroom is the most common area.

Since a walk-in tub offers so many extraordinary safety features in its feature-filled model, upgrading to a walk-in tub can help you reduce bathroom falls.

Table of Contents

Are Walk-In Tubs dangerous?

Though we said that the walk-in bathtub for seniors is safer than the standard bathtub, nothing in this world is entirely safe. Some hidden dangers are always for seniors or children, including if not used properly. Let’s have a deeper look into the risks and dangers of a walk-in bathtub.

1. Walk-in tub’s water depth may be dangerous for children

Kids are curious by nature, and the walk-in tub will be a source of curiosity. Walk-in tubs have a footwell with deep water. This depth can be equivalent to the depth of a swimming pool in your home containing gallons of water in it. If you are bathing a small child or someone who can be at risk of falling into the footwell, then it is not a safe option.

As this danger is even more of a concern with a toddler or senior with limited mobility, parents or seniors need to be aware of the following limitation. You can always opt for limited mobility walk-in tubs such as ADL Spa Bathtubs to avoid this concern.

2. Risk of slipping underwater for minimal mobility person 

Suppose the seniors face minimal mobility and need assistance from someone else to get into the tub. In that case, a satisfactory bathing experience could be dangerous for them. They could suffer the risk of slipping underwater and drowning.  If the seniors could not sit upright or had issues using their upper body, this would be the case.  

The same risk applies to toddlers or small children. Children should never be left unattended when bathing regardless of the individual model with or without footwell.

The Consumer Affairs Reviews Report about Kohler Walk-in bathtub and other models reveals that these tubs might leak around the seals, and due to that, water puddles on the bathroom floor increase the slipping risk and fall hazard.

3. Inward  door walk-in tub may block the bather in emergency

The swinging doors of walk-in bathtubs usually are inwards. Suppose seniors accidentally use the entries for stability or balance due to tubs inward-opening doors. In that case, they might get carried away with it and lose balance despite anti-slip flooring, which can cause serious fall injuries.

In underwater drowning cases, an inward-opening door might cause trouble getting out of an emergency, as the person can’t get out of the tub until all the water has drained out.

4. No active way to control the water temperature 

There are a lot of therapeutic benefits for seniors by warm water. However, you can not use this feature until the bathtub is filled. Due to the slow rate of water filling, seniors might get cold.

Since there is no active way to control the water temperature, seniors are more likely to get Hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when the internal body temperature decreases below 95°. If you want, you can always get a professional installation of anti-scald water temperature protection in your walk-in bathtub. The installation process might increase tubs’ cost a bit more. 

5. Getting stuck in the tub

It rarely happens, but it is worth mentioning recent accidents because of the moments of inattention. Sometimes the tub does not drain, and sometimes the bather gets stuck because they slip and get wedged into the tub. Such accidents can give you medical emergency room visits or send you to a nursing home for months.

Walk In Tub Draining Feature
Walk In tubs with a slow draining system can increase significant amount of time of the bather sitting in the tub

Image Credit: Ella’s Bubbles

6. Draining Feature could be dangerous for medically compromised seniors

Some seniors who are medically compromised or have a different medical condition can lack strength. The tub drain plug can be a little tight to plug in or out. As they can not open the drain plug by themselves, they may get stuck in the tub until somebody else opens it for them.

Pros and Cons Of Walk-In Tubs

Pros:

  1. Walk-in Tub safety benefits: Walk-in tubs are safer than regular bathtubs because of their design. People with mobility problems can easily walk in and sit on a heated seat in the tub, so there is less chance of slipping and falling. Walk-in tubs also come with extra features such as a built-in grab bar, Anti-scald valves, anti-slip flooring, and built-in seating.

  2. Walk-in Tub comfort benefits: You can always get a comfortable bathing experience with a walk-in shower, especially if you face trouble standing in a shower or getting in and out of the tub. They have narrow entryways and are often deeper than the standard tub, making it easy to clean the upper body. Some manufacturers also provide luxury features, including heated seating.

  3. Health Benefits: There are several health benefits of bathing in a walk-in tub, including:

    • Helping symptom relief: For those suffering from chronic conditions or general muscle or joint pain and stiffness, such quality tubs for seniors are the best.

    • Improve blood circulation: It helps to improve overall blood circulation with its therapeutic features leading to increased mobility and less pain.

    • Relaxing and stress relief: It provides peace of mind and gives you relaxation and stress relief. Soothing body whirlpool therapy, warm water therapy, and an air bathtub with powered fast drain features can also improve sleep quality.

Cons:

  1. Drain and Fill Time: The walk-in tubs take time to fill and drain out. On average, filling or draining a walk-in tub is about 7 minutes. It is essential to ensure that the water emphasizes safety with a comfortable temperature and stays at that level as long as possible. A heated seat and quick drain system can help you stay warm throughout bathing.

  2. Water Usage: Some walk-in tubs have more water capacity than the American Standard tubs. If you buy a large walk-in tub, you should consult the manufacturer if the water heater can handle that. In some cases, a tub can be inches wide as the chair-height seat takes up the potential volume of the tub.

Walk-in Tub Cost and Installation: Most of the cheapest walk-in tubs cost around $2000 – $5000, not including walk-in tub installation costs. Several financing options are available for you to opt, which help spread the expense over time. However, you might have to bear the walk-in tub installation costs.

How much do they cost?

The average cost of a walk-in tub is $1.5k for a basic model to $20k for the luxury model from manufacturers of bathing solutions. For detailed information, you check our dedicated article – How Much Do Walk-In Tubs Cost (With Different Pricing Factors)? 

Are walk-in Tubs Worth it?

As we have seen, the dangers related to the walk-in tubs are completely dependent on marginal issues and moments of inattention, which can be reduced with product utilization awareness. If we neglect this, the walk-in bathtubs are worth making a lifetime investment. Also, they come with lifetime warranties.

FAQ's

Walk-in tubs are moderately simple to keep up with, there are a couple of tips and tricks to remember when cleaning – day-by-day cleaning, week after week or month to month cleaning, and profound cleaning.

Walk-in tubs are safer than regular bathtubs because of their design. People with mobility problems can easily walk in and sit on a heated seat in the tub, so there is less chance of slipping and falling. Walk-in tubs also come with some extra features such as a built-in grab bar, Anti-scald valves, anti-slip flooring, and built-in seating.

Conclusion

A walk-in bathtub feature-filled model can benefit people with mobility issues instead of a traditional bathtub.

Sure, walk-in tubs are dangerous, but they are completely dependent on marginal issues and moments of inattention, which can be reduced with product utilization awareness. If we neglect this, the walk-in bathtubs are worth making a lifetime investment.

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