Walk-in tubs make a great choice for the elderly, but it can come with risk. 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 really helpful 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 report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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.
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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 completely safe. There are always some hidden dangers 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
Kid’s 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 the seniors need to be aware of the following limitation as well. To avoid this concern you can always opt for limited mobility walk-in tubs such as ADL Spa Bathtub.
2. Risk of slipping underwater for extremely limited mobility person
If the seniors are facing extremely limited mobility and would need assistance from someone else to get into the tub, then a satisfactory bathing experience could turn out to be dangerous for them. They could suffer the risk of slipping underwater and drowning. This would be the case if the loved one lacked the ability to sit upright or had issues using their upper body.
The same risk applies to toddlers or small children. With or without footwell, children should never be left unattended when bathing regardless of the individual model.
As per 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 increasing 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 are normally inwards. If seniors accidentally use the doors for stability or balance, due to tubs inward-opening door they might get carried away with it and lose balance despite anti-slip flooring, which can cause serious fall injuries.
Also, in case of underwater drowning, the inward-opening door might cause the bather trouble in getting out of the 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, the therapeutic features do not work until the water is filled. Due to the time required to fill the tub, there is a risk of getting chilled.
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, then 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
This rarely happens but it is worth mentioning considering 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 can send you to a nursing home for months.
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 tubs 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
- 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 some extra features such as a built-in grab bar, Anti-scald valves, anti-slip flooring, and built-in seating.
- 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 tub. They have narrow entryways and are often deeper than the standard size tub which makes it easy to clean the upper body. Some manufactures also provide luxury features, including heated seating.
- Health Benefits: There are several health benefits of bathing in a walk-in tub, including:
- Helping symptom relief: For those who are suffering from chronic conditions or general muscle or joint pain and stiffness, then 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 as well as gives you a relaxing and stress relief. It can also improve the quality of sleep with soothing body whirlpool therapy, warm water therapy, and an air bathtub with powered fast drain features.
- Drain and Fill Time: The walk-in tubs take time to fill and drain out. On average, the time to fill or drain a walk-in tub is about 7 mins, which makes it important to ensure that the water emphasis on 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.
- Water Usage: There are some walk-in tubs with water capacity more than the American Standard tubs. If you buy a large walk-in tub, you should consult with 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. There are several financing options available for you to opt which help spread out the expense over time. However, you might have to bear the walk-in tub installation costs.
How much they cost?
The average costing of a walk-in tub is from $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 that 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.
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.
For people who have mobility issues, a walk-in bathtub feature-filled model can be really helpful 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.