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CDC: Danger in the bathroom
June 9th, 2011
01:53 PM ET

CDC: Danger in the bathroom

The bathroom– it may be the first place you go each day, but a new study also reveals that an estimated 640 people are treated each day in emergency departments for nonfatal injuries suffered in the bathroom. The findings are published in Thursday's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While U.S. injuries are documented in the National Electronic Surveillance System All Injury Program, (NEISS-AIP), there was no specific information available about injuries that occurred in the bathroom. The study authors note that their analysis of 2008 data is the first to dig deeper on nonfatal bathroom injuries among teens and adults. Looking at emergency department records, the researchers report that an estimated 234,000 people age 15 and older were treated for bathroom related injuries in 2008.

Breaking the injuries down further, more than 80% of the injuries were caused by falls. The head or neck was the most common body part injured, and most injuries were from cuts, bruises and scrapes.

Bathing and showering were the most dangerous activities with tubs and showers topping the list for where most injuries occurred –65.8%. The report found that¬†about half were from slipping while getting out of the tub or shower. Toilets placed second, accounting for 22.5% of bathroom injuries. Only 1.2% of injuries occurred at the sink.

Women suffered more injuries than men, and the highest number of injuries were among adults older than age 65. The report notes that among older adults, a bathroom fall can cause serious injuries including hip fractures.

The report stresses the importance of raising awareness, particularly among older adults, about the potential hazards in the bathroom. Solutions include making environmental changes, such as installing grab bars near toilets, tubs and showers, that can offer extra support to prevent falls and injuries.

Approximately 21.8 million people older than age 15 were unintentionally injured in the U.S. in 2008. Those injuries, while not fatal, cost approximately $67.3 billion, according to the CDC report.


soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Conrad Shull

    I think "Diane" wrote this article.

    June 10, 2011 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. r

    Yeah, when I get up in the morning and stumble into the bathroom and see my reflection in the mirror I could have a heart attack.

    June 10, 2011 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. FairGarden

    Any slippery places are dangerous. Thank God for friction.

    June 10, 2011 at 12:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Larry051967

    Putting something in your tub or shower to step on that won't slip can save you a nasty fall.

    June 10, 2011 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MathNotMe

      Be sure it is completely attached and you are fully standing on it. When my daughter was young, she wanted to shower with mommy. I had just cleaned the tub and the suction cups were not fully engaged on the non slip mat. She was fine, I slipped and dragged my back down the handles taking the skin off my back for about 12 inches. Luckily I stayed calm and called my husband to come dry her off before helping me. She never saw the blood or even knew mommy hurt herself, just thought mommy was playing. I've been very careful ever since to be sure those suction cups are engaged!

      June 10, 2011 at 15:33 | Report abuse |
  5. Arleashia Evans

    I'm 46 & try to be very careful but sometime that doesn't work bc recently I hit a slippery spot in the tub after taking a shower, my quick reflex halted my fall. It if went the opposite way, It definitely would've have been a serious injury 'cause I was heading face first. So I believe its imperative for any to have the safety handle bars installed as a precaution.

    June 10, 2011 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Nick

    And that is why urinate in alleys and I don't bathe.

    June 10, 2011 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. TampaMel

    Why is this statistic a surprise to anyone, especially the part about most injuries occurring to those 65 and older. I am 64 and I am very agile (I run, yes run, about 30 miles a week). I only take showers because of the convenience (and sitting in a bath tub is boring). Having said this, when I am in a hotel and have to climb into a bath tub to take a shower (mine is a walk in stall) and there is no non-skid mat on the bathtub bottom, I find I have to be very careful. Water and porcelain make a very slick surface. Then stepping out onto a wet tiled floor is another opportunity to slip and fall. This falling opportunity probably holds true for everyone but the old (also unattended children) are often the most vulnerable. Anyway the subject of this article seems to provide a DUH moment.

    June 12, 2011 at 02:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. YouKnowIt

    Why is this news? "Bathing and showering were the most dangerous activities with tubs and showers topping the list for where most injuries occurred" Where else am I going to bathe?

    June 12, 2011 at 14:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. MannyHM

    A friend of ours just moved in to a new house. Half asleep in a completely dark hallway he thought he was going into the bathroom at the middle of the night. He was actually going into the basement stairs, fell, and incurred a fracture.

    June 21, 2011 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. AshM

    Well duh more women are injured than men!! Sometimes it feels like you need to bean acrobat to shave your legs. Especially the back of your thighs!! I guess we should go European to avoid injuries in the shower lol

    June 28, 2011 at 02:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. bathtubs for sale

    Looking at bathtubs for sale and choosing one that appeals to your lifestyle is actually pleasing. You now plan depending on the space you have to work with. Since bathtubs come in all shapes and sizes it is very critical that you choose a tub that will fit exactly in the space at hand.

    February 25, 2013 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.