Using a public restroom usually means we don’t have our familiar amenities from home. There is an understandable amount of concern about safety and sanitation when using public facilities. But it is sometimes inevitable to use them, especially when we’re out for a long time. Practicing safe practices when using the bathroom reduces the dangers that entail from using them.
Here are some useful tips you can do to avoid trouble when using a public bathroom.
Follow Bathroom Etiquettes
One of the most important things to observe when in a public bathroom is social etiquette. When you’re at home, your privacy is given since your home is your own domain and everyone has their own time to use the bathroom. So when you're outside, you are expected to give everyone their due privacy, in the same way, you expect privacy from them.
Here are some of the bathroom etiquettes to observe to avoid conflict or danger in a public facility:
- Avoid eye contact
- When a urinal or a stall is mostly empty, choose the one that is farthest from the occupied urinal or stall.
- Look straight ahead when using the urinal, a lingering gaze can come as an invasion of someone’s privacy.
- Wash your hands and leave, don’t engage in any conversations unless it’s really necessary.
Use Only Well-Lit Restrooms
Public bathrooms have a notorious reputation for being dark and dingy. But not all of them are, there are a lot of public facilities that are well-equipped and safe - use them. If you’re in a public place, chances are you’re not familiar with the area and the people there. So it’s important that when you go to the bathroom, you make sure that there is sufficient lighting in the facilities.
Here are the reasons why you need to only use a well-lit facility:
- A well-lit bathroom reduces the risk of slip and fall, which could be very unfortunate.
- It also reduces security risks as perpetrators would think twice of acting when they’re in a well-lit space.
- It is also easy to move and or take out anything from your bag and not leave valuables when you’re not struggling with visibility.
Check the Cleanliness and Sanitation
You really can’t know everyone who uses a public bathroom, so it’s better to avoid the danger of communicable diseases by using only clean and well-sanitized bathrooms. It’s understandable that if you need to use public facilities, options can be limited. So it is advisable to bring your own disinfectants, napkins, etc. Nowadays, sanitation has been a major concern, especially in public places. Public restrooms are sometimes poorly ventilated which means aerosols that contain COVID virus may linger in the area for a while. So there’s no better time to be picky, in the cleanliness and sanitation of public restrooms, than now.
Accompany Your Kids
When going out with your kids, the restroom is one of the important places so that your children can do their business in private. But it is important that you don’t let them go on their own. A public bathroom is not a place where you should leave your kids unattended, even if it’s a confined space. This is an important public restroom safety reminder that everyone must observe. Since you’re already out of the safety of your homes, it’s important that you provide extra security for your children when they’re in a vulnerable situation.
Locks in cubicles are the only safeguard to your privacy. This is especially important for women, always check the locks and use only cubicles that have intact security. This prevents other people from casually walking-in on you, thinking the cubicle is empty. It also provides you security from people that may have ill-intentions and can give you time and opportunity to call for help. If you’re in a restaurant or any establishment make sure you report damaged locks in the stalls or bathroom doors for that matter.
Also, bring your personal belongings with you including your phone. If you’re in a stall use the hook on the door or wall of the stall to hang your bag by the long strap. When changing clothes, use the stalls if possible. Don’t prance around the bathroom half-naked as it can make other occupants uncomfortable and may expose you to a myriad of bacteria. It also exposes you and compromises the security of you and your belongings.
Make Sure the Facility Has Water
Water is essential for anything we do in the restroom. Make sure public restrooms have an ample supply of water before using them. Portable bathroom stalls may use a combination of water and air pressure to flush away wastes, but they must have a lavatory outside so people can wash their hands after using the stall. If you, unfortunately, have to use a facility without water, bring your own water in a disposable bottle. Use it to wash yourself to avoid contact from harmful diseases. Make sure to report the water issue to the establishment’s management when you’re done.
Don’t Go Alone If You Don’t Have To
If you’re unsure about your safety when going to the bathroom, ask one of your trusted companions to accompany you. This is important when you need assistance or when you’re in a party and you’re heavily intoxicated. This prevents any untoward events against you and to other people who are using the facility. In case of emergency, your companion can immediately call for help and mitigate problems taking place. It’ll also deter perpetrators from targeting you since they’ll detect that you have somebody with you to help.
Today, bringing your own sanitary and cleaning materials is important when going out and especially when using a public bathroom. This minimizes any contact with the unclean surface and eliminates bacteria immediately after using the facilities. Bring the following items next time you’re expecting to use a public washroom:
- Hand Sanitizer
- Disposable Toilet seat cover
- Plastic bag
There you have it, practice safe practices when using the public lavatories and respect everyone’s right to its use and their privacy. The goal is to make sure you go in, do your thing, and wash your hands afterward, avoid lingering and get out immediately.