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.

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