How steady are you around the bathroom? It may not be something that many of us think about, but there are a number of different reasons why our mobility can become a problem—either as a temporary or an ongoing situation.
Like kitchens, bathrooms pose particular problems in terms of health and safety. Hopefully we all know that water doesn’t mix well with electricity—that’s why we have strict safety laws. But water can also increase the likelihood of slips and falls—especially combined with a smooth surface, like bathroom tiles.
It’s not usually a big problem for most people. When our bodies are functioning well, our natural balance receptors work hard to keep us upright and stop us from falling. But when we’re not on top form, a little help and support is a great idea to keep us safe from harm.
Toilet safety rails are very simple but effective products that can help to improve stability and mobility in the bathroom. Here’s all you need to know about them, and how to pick out the best toilet safety rails around.
What Are Toilet Safety Rails?
Usually made of tubular metal formed into a frame, toilet safety rails fits on or around—or a combination of the two—the toilet. The frame, some of which are fixed height, while others are adjustable, usually comes up to somewhere around waist height, culminating in a handrail on either side of the toilet.
Some safety rails are completely free standing. Others sit underneath the toilet seat without touching the ground. A third type of toilet safety rail has a mid-height bar that rests on the rear edge of the ceramic toilet bowl and extends to two legs at the front.
If you can’t quite envisage exactly what we’re talking about here, you can find a very informative video below which shows free-standing toilet safety rails in use. Don’t worry, though—the person demonstrating does keep their pants on!
Why Use Toilet Safety Rails?
As one of the many personal care products available, toilet safety rails help to improve stability when using the bathroom. Lowering our bodyweight to the level of the toilet seat requires a squatting movement that actually requires a lot of control and effort from our leg muscles. That’s why the squat is such a popular element of many workout routines.
If we’ve suffered a leg injury, can’t put weight on our foot for some reason, or our balance is poor, it’s very easy to overbalance when squatting. Data from biomechanical research published in the Journal of Biomedical Informatics tells us that using safety rails during toileting can significantly decrease the risk of falling.
This is because when they’re used correctly, toilet safety rails can be used to redistribute some of the person’s bodyweight so that they’re supported by the arms as well as the leg (or legs) that are able to bear weight.
Findings from scientific analysis of squatting like the study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research leads us to conclude that toilet safety rails reduce the load on the injured part of the body during a squatting movement. This can reduce pain as well as promoting independence.
Poor balance due to physical disability, a neurological condition such as Parkinson’s disease, and relatively benign but debilitating condition such as dizziness and vertigo are all further reasons why someone might want to use a toilet safety rail.
What to Look for in the Best Toilet Safety Rails
Whichever type you might prefer, the best toilet seat rails have to be sturdy. The last thing anyone needs when relying on these kinds of products to support their body weight is for them to fail. So look for rails with good, solid structures, and check that the maximum weight capacity is appropriate for the user.
If the safety rails are going to be used by different people, it’s probably a good idea to get an adjustable one if you’re dealing with people of dramatically different heights. The same applies if the rails are going to be used in different situations within the home.
Some toilet safety rails are more compact than others. It’s important to check the dimensions of the rails you have in mind for your purpose. Make sure there’s enough room to comfortably fit the frame around the toilet.
Don’t forget to take account of any room the user needs to negotiate their way around the door to enter the bathroom if the toilet is situated near the bathroom door.
If space is at a premium in the bathroom, toilet safety rails that sit on the back of the toilet bowl take up considerably less room than a free-standing frame. Remember to also consider the amount of space the rails will need to the left and right of the toilet.
Precautions for Use
When using toilet safety rails, read the individual manufacturer’s instructions carefully—even if you’ve used a similar product before. In particular, make sure toilet safety rails are placed on a firm, even surface.
Ensure that you always use both handles at the same time when using toilet safety rails to support your weight. Reaching for the rail on only one side can cause the whole structure to tip over.
What Are the Best Toilet Safety Rails?
After hours of research, shopping and consumer testing, the first conclusion we reached is that there are a lot of different toilet safety rails around on the market. Having waded through many of them, we selected five of our best toilet safety rails. We stripped them back to their bare parts to show you the good, the bad and the ugly!
Here are the five best toilet safety rails. We chose some different types to suit different styles and sizes of bathrooms. Have a look at our in-depth reviews which will help you to choose the right product for your needs.
If, for whatever reason—and whether it’s a short-term or long-term problem for you—we’re a little unsteady on our feet, we often need some help. There are many different personal care and support products which can make life infinitely easier. One of the most pressing personal care needs is toileting.
A toilet safety rail is a great device that can instantly give independence and dignity to someone who’s finding squatting a struggle. When you’re depending on equipment to stop you from falling, though, it’s important to make sure the toilet safety rails you choose are high quality, durable and sturdy.
Of the five great products we reviewed, the best toilet safety rails were the Drive Medical Stand-Alone Toilet Safety Rails. These are all-in-one safety rails that fit very neatly around the toilet, and people were generally impressed with how compact yet sturdy they were.
The magazine rack on the side of the frame made it all the more appealing for some users, and people really felt they could rely on the solid frame for support. Suitable for use in most bathroom spaces, and available for a reasonable cost given the quality, this is definitely our top choice for the best toilet safety rails.