5/4/2021

Toilet Grab Bars and Railings: The Complete Guide to Safety

4-minute read
Here's how to ensure safety in small spaces
WRITTEN BY

Amanda Lambert

At Ruby, we pay a lot of attention to bathrooms, and you may wonder why. Well, we all do spend a lot of time there, don’t we? And beyond that, even though many people think that the most dangerous room in the house is the kitchen, it is actually the bathroom. Toilet safety is one crucial aspect of bathroom safety. Compare the number of times you use the toilet to that of taking a shower. Getting up at night to use the toilet is particularly dangerous due to poor lighting and possible confusion. 

The lion’s share of safety attention is devoted to the shower or tub. Many accidents occur there due to wet surfaces and the mobility and strength required to get in and out of a tub. The toilet requires leg, arm, core strength, and balance. If you or your loved one cannot get up off the toilet, it is not safe for someone to pull you up. This is where toilet grab bars and railings can be a huge help. By calling Ruby for a home assessment, we can help you make not only the safest choice but the best-looking one as well. 




A Guide to Features 

In general, grab bars are preferable to toilet railings due to their stability and usability. But, we understand that this is not always possible due to space constraints. In those cases, toilet railings are a logical choice but choose with these features in mind.


The Width and Height of Rails

Not every toilet rail is adjustable, and you want the width to accommodate leg movement. We recommend four-leg models for more stability instead of two-leg models.

The Toilet Bowl Shape

Make sure that the bar will fit your seat. Some toilet seats are elongated.

Handles

You will want handles that have grips and pads for comfort and safety.

Weight Limit

Most safety toilets can handle up to 300-350 pounds, but you want to ensure that the unit you choose can handle your weight along with the pressure you will apply. For railings that are not attached to the toilet, putting pressure on one side of the rail could result in a fall.

Material and durability 

Most toilet rails and frames are made from aluminum or stainless steel. A steel frame will be durable but heavy if it needs to be moved or taken for travel.

Storage and Foldability 

Consider whether you share a bathroom and if your situation is temporary or permanent. You may want to choose a frame that you can easily remove, so a floor-mounted unit might not be best for a temporary condition you expect to recover from. Also, if you plan on travel, a foldable portable model you can take with you will be helpful. If you decide on grab bars, you can purchase a foldable toilet rail just for travel or visitation purposes.

Legs

Anti-skid rubber for the legs to keep them from slipping when in use.

Adjustability

Not every toilet railing is adjustable. We recommend purchasing a model where you can adjust the height and width.  



Considerations When Choosing

Just like every other accessibility equipment, there are many choices. To help you decide, we put together a list of characteristics to consider. Choosing the wrong toilet grab bar for your unique situation could result in a fall. Questions to ask before deciding:

  1. Do you need assistance with the toilet due to balance issues? If the answer is yes, you will want to consider a bolted model for stability seriously. Or, even better, talk with Ruby’s occupational therapist about where to install grab bars close to the toilet eliminating the need for a commode model at all.
  2. Are you transferring from a wheelchair? If yes, you will want to consider a model that hinges to ensure a safe transfer.
  3. Is your toilet area small? If yes, choose a safety rail that doesn’t extend beyond the bowl size.


Toilet Grab Bars

Toilet grab bars are the best solution when appropriately installed. First, they are stable since they are attached to a wall or cabinet. Secondly, toilet grab bars they look better, and some models are aesthetically pleasing while being effective and safe. There are several options for grab bars around the toilet including behind, or on the side. There is also the option of a model that flips down when not in use.


Here is an example of other places grab bars can go. The one thing that is missing in this setup is a toilet paper grab bar.






Toilet Paper Grab Bars

Toilet paper grab bars are a nice addition to safety features in the bathroom since the toilet paper needs to be handy! As you can see by this picture, you wouldn’t even know this was a grab bar.






GBS Toilet Paper Holder Grab Bar

The GBS Toilet Paper Holder Grab Bar is another example of a tasteful ADA compliant grab bar that supports up to 400 lbs. 




Toilet Railings

Now we get to the confusing jungle of toilet railings. At Ruby, we will simplify things for you but keep in mind that there are other options as well. Check out your choices with our occupational therapist, who can help you select the best one.


Carex Toilet Safety Frame

This Carex Toilet Safety Frame is loaded with features yet doesn’t take up a lot of room. It is made of steel, adjustable and stable.


 




OasisSpace Stand Alone Toilet Safety Rail

The OasisSpace Stand Alone Toilet Safety Rail has the four legs that we recommend, slip-resistant legs, padded handles and is adjustable. 


 




Carex Toilet Safety Rails

The Carex Toilet Safety Rails are a free-standing toilet railing that fits over the toilet. The advantage? This system is portable and can be transported. The disadvantage? The person using the Carex Rails will need to have some strength and balance ability. 




DMI Portable Bedside Toilet Drop Arm

The DMI Portable Bedside Toilet easily positions over existing toilets allowing for wheelchair transfer. 






Toilet Grab Bars and Railings and Your Safety

At Ruby, we understand that a complete remodel of your bathroom may not be feasible nor affordable. The addition of some of the recommended toilet railings and grab bars may seem unsightly, but your safety is paramount. Call us to help you make decisions that will ensure safety in and out of the bathroom. 


Schedule your free 15-minute consultation with one of our specialists today.

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