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Stepping out of a shower is said to be the most dangerous couple of seconds in your daily life. So these suggestions are not trivial, even though such a simple act doesn’t seem to warrant any thought or printer’s ink. Fortunately this is posted online so there isn’t any wasted ink, and many people don’t seem to think I think, so there isn’t much lost there either.

I sort of fell out of the bathtub yesterday. It was strange that I fell, because I was being very careful. It was one of those slow motion falls. I could observe myself falling but there wasn’t anything I could do, there wasn’t anything to grab on to, and there wasn’t any way to get my feet or hands into a position to catch myself. And, so suddenly there I was lying on the floor. I had fallen about eighteen inches. I had been sitting on the edge of the tub, and was pivoting my feet from the inside to the outside, when my butt slipped off the tub and my feet went straight up. The reason I was sitting on the edge of the tub, was because the surface under the water was slippery, and to be safe it seemed reasonable to push myself up onto the edge, sit there a moment, and then pivot around facing out. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but there I was lying on my back, having made a loud thump which brought my wife running from the other room.

Nothing was hurt, not even my pride, but it did get me to thinking more about slippery bathtubs and showers. One thing I noticed earlier today when taking another bath was that when standing perfectly still in the tub the frictional adhesion between my feet and the tub increased dramatically in a few seconds. The lesson there is to step out very slowly, taking small steps, so that one’s center of gravity is always directly above a well placed foot.

Another important procedure is to always have a grip on something solid, such that when you do slip you can control what happens. I fell out of the tub because I was sitting centered on the edge of the tub, and from that position there was nothing to hang on to. The lesson here is to always get out along one wall, and install a strong hand grip.

Yet another precipitating factor to my fall was that the foot still inside the tub was on a slippery surface, and I was pressing it diagonally the instant I got out. My foot that was outside the tub was on linoleum, and the instant that wet foot touched the linoleum it too became slippery. There was a rug on the floor, but it was a couple of inches away. Earlier, when I was getting into the tub, the rug was pushed away a bit so it wouldn’t get wet when I got out. Had I placed the rug up against the bathtub my foot would have been on a surface with good traction.

If any one of these factors had been made safer, I wouldn’t have fallen. Probably that’s the way most accidents happen, it’s a coming together of several little things, each of which is easy to compensate for, but when they all come within a second, down you go.

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