Small children or handicap people require special attention when accessing the bathroom to ensure their safety and comfort when inside the room. Eliminating barriers that prevent access is the first measure to equip a bathroom for the little ones or people with disabilities.
Within this group, the people who need the most attention when planning each functional area are those who use wheelchair. The main thing is that to gain access it should require the minimum of manoeuvres (with a door opening of at least 80 cm wide) and that all the elements are installed at the appropriate height.
As a complement, various accessories, such as help bars, which improve the autonomy of this type of user with severe motor limitation should be installed.
How to achieve accessibility
To eliminate obstacles in the bathroom, the main thing is to install the toilets 70 cm minimum away from any walls so that there is an easy access. The sanitary ware must be suspended, especially the sink, so that the wheelchair can approach from underneath without problems.
The installation height is another important factor to take into account, since the user is seated, and not standing as usual. Currently, some brands offer motorized sinks and toilets through a mechanism that is activated manually or electronically bur they are extremely expensive.
Integrated floor shower
It is advisable to opt for a shower with a tray levelled with the floor finish, without slopes or steps, and a non-slip floor, which allows wheelchair access, without fear of slipping. The screen has to facilitate the passage and is preferable to curtains.
Some companies have developed closing systems that prevent splashes, but they are installed at a lower height than the usual or divided doors. It is essential to provide this area with support bars and stools (made of aluminium, polyurethane, stainless steel or other materials that resist the action of water), so that people can wash themselves comfortably.
The electronic faucet that activates when a sensor detects movement is very suitable. If you opt for the traditional models, there are special taps with long levers which facilitate its usage.
Tips for adapting a bathroom for people with disabilities
We must take into consideration some aspects for better usability.
These have to do, above all, with the distribution and design of toilets and bathroom accessories.
- Sliding bathroom door: it will greatly facilitate mobility, especially if the person needs to use a wheelchair. If not, we must make sure that the door always opens outwards. Thus, we ensure urgent and effective assistance in the event that the user suffers a fall in the bathroom. We can always open the door without difficulty.
- Non-slip floor: we will avoid unnecessary injuries and facilitate mobility
- Non-slip grab bars – these will always provide safety
- Bathroom accessories: must be installed at a height not higher than 120 cm from the floor
- Furniture: to make the use of the bathroom and, above all, the sink, more accessible, you cannot have built-in furniture. As we have already mentioned, the sink must be clear for the approach of a wheelchair.
- In Spain a bathroom which has been converted for the handicap requires that a circle of 1.5m diameter can be inscribed in the bathroom without encountering any obstacles see picture below.