In the bathroom, safety is critical, but residents also want products that make safety a number one priority without sacrificing style. We talked with Chris Nealon, bath accessories product manager at Moen® and a bath safety expert, about the importance of safety and how to select features for all generations, from babies to boomers.
1) Why is bath safety so important?
A faucet and vanity are the logical focal points of a bathroom, but bath safety and accessories are the jewelry of the bathroom. And while it’s important to accommodate an ever-aging population in this country by making bathrooms safe, especially for boomers, we need to be more conscious about including safety features for all generations of tenants. Falls can happen to anyone — anytime — regardless of age or how strong or fit they may be.
2) Do you have any specific concerns in this space?
Too often style has taken a backseat to function, but that doesn’t have to be the case anymore. Grab bars are a critical part of bathroom safety, and you can incorporate this feature without looking institutional.
You have to take a proactive approach to bath safety because if you’re reacting to a fall in the shower, it’s too late.
3) What about generation-specific concerns? It’s not just about the elderly, is it?
Just like you’re never too young or old to wear a seatbelt, everyone can benefit from a safer bathroom. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 234,000 injuries in the bathroom annually, so no one is immune to slipping in a wet shower. When bath safety products are close by, it makes the shower experience easier and, as a result, safer. A grab bar with an integrated shelf helps reduce movement and, with that, the chances of falling.
Multi-family living spaces face a particular challenge because they have to be able to accommodate tenants of any age or generation, at any time. Bath safety is becoming a more important and relevant issue for everyone, and limiting movement in the shower helps provide peace of mind and added safety for people of every age. Shower falls are a common worry for seniors, but kids can also easily slip, even with a parent nearby. Teaching children to use tub grips and practice other safe habits when they are young can help prevent accidents.
4) How is the combination of safety and style helping drive design?
Moen has more than doubled its bath safety decorative options in the last three years alone. Matching the finish of the grab bars with the rest of the bathroom fixtures really resonates with consumers and makes the bars look as good as they work. There is a wide variety of styles to suit any taste or preferred look — traditional to contemporary and everything in between. Also, the price point is attractive for multi-family communities.
5) Are there any Moen products that you think particularly help close the gap between style, function and safety?
SecureMount™ Anchors are great for multi-family spaces because their design easily allows a retro install of a grab bar wherever you want; this makes the bath safer because it’s fully customizable. In older properties, it may not be safe to go into a wall stud, so this creates a safer experience without requiring the crew to get behind or through a wall.
Moen’s grab bar shelf has a removable tray, which encourages people to put toiletries like soap safely out of the way on an accessible shelf, instead of directly on the bathtub. This helps prevent the buildup of soap scum and other grime, which is cleaner for the tenant and encourages smart storage. This also helps multi-family property owners avoid costs associated with reskinning or resurfacing a bathtub and shower. Bathroom footprints are becoming smaller in multi-family communities, so wall space is critical. Anytime you can integrate two things, like a grab bar with shelf or paper holder, it’s an added benefit because it increases safety and functionality.
Now it’s easy to incorporate safety features into baths and showers with style and function.