The home is the most common place for seizure-related accidents. Activities such as bathing and cooking place the person with seizures at risk for injury. Making simple changes in household activities or your environment may create a safer home. The individual's seizure type and frequency will dictate the type of changes that may help you stay safe. 

Bathroom Safety

Bathrooms, which have mirrors, sinks, shower doors, bathtubs, and hard floors, can be risky for people with uncontrolled seizures. Bathroom activities are generally private matters and balancing the need for both privacy and safety is important for people with seizures.  Also be careful in rooms with fireplaces and on stairs.

A few safety tips:

  • To give some privacy, place an occupied sign on the bathrrom door instead of locking it.
  • Hang the bathroom door so that it swings outward (into the hall or bedroom).  This prevents the door from being blocked if a person falls during a seizure. 
  • Sing in the shower so people know you’re okay.
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • Make sure shower and bath drains work properly so water doesn’t build up.
  • Keep water temperature low to avoid burns.
  • Use nonskid strips in tub or shower - everyone should use these!
  • Use a shower curtain instad of a shower door, it's easier to get in and help someone if they fall in the shower. 
  • Use tub rails or grab bars.
  • For people who fall during a seizure or have frequent seizures:
    • Use a shower chair or sit on bottom of tub and use hand held shower nozzle.
    • Take showers when someone else is in the house.

General Home Safety Tips:

  • Use an electric razor to avoid cuts.
  • Use shatterproof glass for mirrors.
  • Avoid glass tables.
  • Avoid scatter rugs.  Wall-to-wall carpeting or soft flooring may reduces injuries for individuals who fall.
  • Use protective or padded covers on faucet handles, nozzles, or the edges of countertops to help cushion falls and reduce injuries.
  • Use covers or enclosed heating units or radiators.
  • Electrical equipment such as hair dryers or razors should be used away from any water source.
  • Secure televisions, computers or other things that could fall off tables.
  • Use fireplace screens at all times.
  • Avoid clutter in rooms. Also look around and make sure there is room to fall safely.
  • Have an enclosed yard for children to play and prevent wandering during a seizure.
  • Have a way to call for help if you are alone. Look into alarm systems, medic alerts and other safety devices!
  • More safety tips for the home

For help making your home safer

  • Get a home safety evaluation from a visiting nurse or physical therapist.
  • Ask to meet with a nurse at the doctor’s office to learn about safety concerns and tips, or get connected with help in the home.
  • Ask for help on adaptive aids for home safety.  Local colleges and often have disability rehabilitation programs. Or contact a rehabiliation hospital or state disability organization. 

 

Authored by: Steven C. Schachter, MD | Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN | Joseph I. Sirven, MD on 9/2013
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