Disabled Bathrooms: Everything you need to know about bath seats

If you need disabled access to help with your daily bathroom routine, a bath seat may well be the solution you’ve been looking for. Essentially providing a handy sitting platform inside the tub, the seat can be used to assist with bathing as well as hand showering.

Rather than lying in the bath tub, you will be sitting up, which gives you much easier access to taps, toiletries and towels while still being able to have a ‘proper’ bath. Some seats have a cut-out section at the front to make personal cleaning easier.

The seat height varies across different seat types and models, with some offering a choice of two or three, while others are fully adjustable. Many bath seats come with back supports (low or high) – look out for padded back rests to enable you to lean back in comfort.

While making sitting in the bath much more comfortable, a bath seat will not help you get in and out of the tub – it is assumed that you have sufficient mobility to do this either on your own or with assistance. If standing up or sitting down is a problem for you, you may want to consider a bath board over the bath as an alternative. In either case, do make sure that you have a slip-resistant mat to protect you from falling over in the bath, and non-slip flooring fitted all through the bathroom.

Broadly speaking, there are 4 different seating types.

Suspended seats

Suitable for both metal and plastic baths, these seats hook over the side of the bath. The bath rim needs to be wide enough to support the hooks, though many of them (as well as the entire frame) are adjustable. Some suspended seats come with a back support for extra comfort.

Free standing seats

These seats have suction pads to secure them to the bottom of the bath. Simply choose your position and push the seat into place in a dry bath. Some also have adjustable side brackets to provide extra stability. Free standing seats are OK for metal baths and most acrylic baths – check with the manufacturer before you buy

Wedge seats

Four hinged paddles are attached to the metal seat frame and pressure is applied to wedge them securely against the side of the bath. The frame can be adjusted to ensure the bath sides are firmly gripped. This type of seat may not be suitable for plastic baths because the amount of pressure used may crack the material.

Bath boards

Typically used for people who find it difficult to sit lower down in the bath, a bath board fits across the top of the bath for easier access. Most have an adjustable fixing system to wedge the board between the sides of the bath. Plastic, wooden and metal version are available. For maximum assistance, a combination of bath seats and board is often used.

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the property industry – working with a selection of companies including Sussex-based bathroom specialist The Brighton Bathroom Company, who were consulted over this post.