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A bathtub chair is a seat designed for use in the bathtub or shower. It is intended as a safety measure for the elderly, the handicapped, those recovering from an accident or surgery, and anyone who finds it difficult to stand in a shower or sit in a low-lying tub. Choosing the best chair for one’s particular needs depends on whether it will be used in a tub or shower, how much assistance the user needs the seat to provide, how often it will need to be moved, and how much the user weighs.
There are four basic types of bath and shower seating. Bathtub stools are typically light, easily portable seats for use in showers. These are good for a shared bathroom in which the chair needs to be removed often. They can also fit into smaller spaces that are too tiny for some chairs.
A bathtub chair is sturdier than a stool and may include armrests or other hand grips for safety. These chairs are used in both showers and bathtubs. Some models can be folded up for ease of storage. A bathtub chair is generally for a user who can get in and out of the bath fairly easily but has difficulty standing for long periods or is prone to falls.
Another type of bath seat is called a transfer bench. Transfer benches are designed for people who have difficulty stepping into the tub, and they usually feature backrests and handrails. The user actually sits down outside the tub and then slides over the edge of the basin and onto the seat. A transfer bench offers the best support and safety, but its design can allow water to escape a shower curtain. These benches are larger than the other types of seats and can be difficult to maneuver around a tight space.
The fourth type of seat is a rolling shower chair. Most users of these chairs have limited mobility and may be in a nursing home or rehabilitation facility. Residential showers and tubs generally are not designed to allow access for this type of seating. While such bathtubs do exist for residential use, they can be expensive and may require remodeling the bathr oom.
Once a particular style of chair has been chosen, there are other features to consider, including the material used, any weight limits on the user, and additional safety features. Many bath chairs are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which will not rust with frequent exposure to water. Some seats have recommended weight limits, while others are specifically designed for use by large people. In addition to handrails and backrests, some seats include safety straps to help hold the user in the chair. Rubber stoppers on the chair legs and other safety features also can help keep the chair from slipping and causing an injury.
A knowledgeable salesperson at a medical supply company can assist a customer in choosing the best bathtub chair for a particular situation. These companies often offer free in-store assembly of their products. Consumers also can shop at online medical supply stores for more seating options.
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