Bedroom Safety Guide

Dec 04, 2023
Fact Checked
Transform your bedroom into a sanctuary of safety and comfort with our expert guide offering practical tips to prevent falls, enhance circulation, and ensure bedding hygiene.

Key Takeaways

Your bedroom is likely a sanctuary for rest and relaxation, but it can also pose unexpected hazards for older adults. From falls risks to circulation issues, older adults face unique challenges. We’re committed to empowering you with steps you can take to make your bedroom a secure and more comfortable space. The ultimate goal is to ensure you have a safe place to relax and get a good night’s sleep.

Why bedroom safety?

Home safety is of utmost importance to your overall health and wellness, and the bedroom is one of the most significant locations when it comes to safety. Awareness and proactive measures can help prevent potential accidents since the bedroom can harbor risks that disproportionately affect older adults, including:

Safety, comfort, and sleep quality

Quality sleep is essential for overall well-being. Older adults often face sleep challenges, such as difficulty falling and staying asleep. A safe bedroom contributes to better sleep by reducing stress and physical discomfort.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), quality sleep reduces the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and even early death. By focusing on bedroom safety and comfort, you’re not just avoiding immediate hazards—you’re fostering an environment that supports quality sleep, which positively impacts your overall quality of life.

Bed falls

About 25% of adults over age 65 experience a fall each year, some of which occur in the bedroom. These can be trip falls or falls out of bed.

Falling out of bed is a significant concern for older adults, as it can lead to severe injuries and a decline in overall quality of life. Of special concern is the possibility of a long lieA long lie occurs when a person falls and is unable to get up from the floor for an hour or more. Long lies have been associated with several types of long-term health complications. , where the person may lie on the floor for prolonged periods of time, unable to rise on their own. Understanding why bed falls happen and using strategies to reduce the risk are crucial steps in creating a safer bedroom environment.

Why do bed falls happen?

Falling out of bed may be due to circumstances involving someone’s health (intrinsic factors) or issues with the bed or room itself (extrinsic factors). More specifically, bed falls may be caused by:

Christopher Norman, a geriatric nurse practitioner based in New York state who reviewed this article, added: “You know people often get shorter as we age? As the spaces between the vertebrae (back bones) get thinner, the spine may compress, which exaggerates the curve of the spine. This shifts the center of gravity forward even when a person is standing ‘straight up.’ This center of gravity shift is another risk factor for falling that many older people contend with.”

“We also naturally diurese at night, which adds to the issue of needing to use the bathroom more frequently,” said Norman. “When people have leg swelling due to poor circulation, for example, we tell them to ‘put their legs up’ like being in bed so that fluid that’s leaked out of blood vessels and into the surrounding tissue, has a chance to move from the tissues back into the blood vessels and circulatory system. Once this extra fluid is back on the circulatory highway, it can be filtered in the usual fashion and excreted or urinated out.”

Strategies for reducing bed falls risk

While intrinsic factors can be difficult to remove, extrinsic factors may be altered in several ways in order to make the bed safer. These steps can help reduce the risk of bed falls:

“Slippers that can wrap around the heel are better than slip-on slippers,” said geriatric nurse practitioner Norman. “Slip-on slippers often cause people to shuffle to keep the slippers on their feet. Older people, for a variety of reasons, are prone to shuffle already, and this lack of picking up the feet enough when walking contributes to fall risks.”

Bed falls in clinical settings

In clinical settings, like skilled nursing or assisted living facilities, the risk factors for bed falls can be similar but are often worsened by unfamiliar surroundings and varying levels of staff attention. It’s crucial for older adults and their caregivers to coordinate with health care providers and staff to implement safety measures. In addition to the strategies mentioned above, we recommend:

Room falls

Bedroom safety isn’t just about the bed, but the entire room. While bed falls are a significant concern, room falls—those trip-and-fall accidents that happen around the bedroom—are equally important to prevent. These types of falls can result from various factors, such as poor lighting, clutter, and even the lack of supportive features like handrails. Here are some strategies to lower the risk of tripping and falling in your room:

Bedroom clutter and falls

Clutter can be more than just an eyesore. It’s a genuine safety hazard. Many older adults hold onto clutter for sentimental reasons or because they’ve lived in the same home for many years. While the emotional attachment to items is understandable, it’s crucial to recognize clutter significantly increases the risk of falls. Because decluttering can often be emotionally challenging, it’s important to ease into it gently.

Easing into decluttering

Circulation issues

Circulation issues can be a significant concern for older adults, particularly when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Poor circulation can impact both the quality and the quantity of sleep. It can also lead to discomfort, numbness, and pain, making it challenging to find a comfortable sleeping position. In some cases, older adults may find relief only in specific sleep positions or with their feet hanging off the end of the bed, which may pose a safety hazard for falls or other injuries. Improving circulation can alleviate these issues and contribute to a safer, more comfortable sleep environment.

Who is at risk for circulation issues?

Circulatory problems and heart disease go hand-in-hand since your heart is in charge of circulating your blood. Risk factors for heart disease are:

Strategies for addressing bedtime circulation issues

There are many strategies aimed at reducing circulation problems:

Bedding hygiene

Maintaining good bedding hygiene is crucial for both comfort and health. Unclean bedding can breed bacteria, which can lead to a host of issues like skin irritations and infections. For people who experience incontinence, the need for clean bedding hygiene is even more critical to prevent complications. Those who spend a lot of time in bed or experience incontinence are at a higher risk of developing pressure ulcers and dermatitis, which can lead to further complications if not addressed.

Strategies for bedding safety

Practicing good bedding hygiene requires a fair amount of work. Strategies include:

Fire safety for older adults

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that older adults are 3.5 times more likely to suffer fatalities in fire emergencies than the general population, contributing to nearly 1,000 deaths annually.

Fire prevention and preparedness is of utmost importance in your bedroom as in other rooms of your home. Certain renovations, such as installing a sprinkler system, and keeping items like fire blankets or extinguishers easily accessible can help you if an emergency situation should arise. It’s also a good idea to plan your fire evacuation by ensuring your fire alarm is working properly and practicing fire drills every so often.

Fire safety tips

Electrical fires most commonly start in the bedroom. Follow these tips to reduce the risk of fire in your bedroom:

One final recommendation comes from Brent Berkompus, Fire Apparatus Engineer with Orange County Fire Authority and founder of BrandGuard Vents. He said, “The most effective way to protect yourself from a fire in your home aside from working smoke detectors and residential fire sprinklers is to keep the doors to your bedrooms closed while sleeping.”

Bottom line

Bedroom safety is vital for maintaining quality of life as we age. Bedroom safety is not just a matter of preventing falls—it encompasses a holistic approach that includes addressing circulation issues, bedding hygiene, and fire safety. By following the strategies outlined in this guide, older adults and their caregivers can create a safer, more comfortable living environment. These recommendations are not just about immediate safety. They’re about enhancing overall health and wellness.

Have questions about this article? Email us at


  1. Davis, Kathryn L., and Davis, Donald D. Home Safety Techniques. StatPearls Publishing. Updated July 17, 2023. Found on the internet at
  2. National Institute on Aging. A Good Night’s Sleep. Nov. 30, 2020. Found on the internet at
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Are You Getting Enough Sleep? Sept. 19, 2022. Found on the internet at
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Facts About Falls. May 12, 2023. Found on the internet at
  5. Terra Bella Senior Living. Why Seniors Fall Out of Bed and the Associated Risks. Dec. 4, 2021. Found on the internet at
  6. Gumaer D. Griswold. Help Getting Into Bed for the Elderly. Sept. 10, 2019. Found on the internet at
  7. United Zion Retirement Community. Tips for Avoiding Nighttime Falls. Sept. 24, 2020. Found on the internet at
  8. Samaritan Health Services. Get a Handle on Clutter Before it Handles You. March 10, 2020. Found on the internet at
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart Disease and Stroke. Sept. 28, 2022. Found on the internet at
  10. USA Vein Clinics. 9 Ways to Improve Your Blood Circulation. May 19, 2022. Found on the internet at
  11. MedlinePlus. Skin Infections. April 12, 2023. Found on the internet at
  12. Fletcher J. Pressure Ulcer Education 6: Incontinence Assessment and Care. Nursing Times. March 2020. Found on the internet at
  13. Mayo Clinic. Bedsores (Pressure Ulcers). May 13, 2023. Found on the internet at
  14. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Older Americans Are More Likely to Suffer Fatalities from Falls and Fire; CPSC Report Highlights Hidden Hazards Around the Home. March 7, 2022. Found on the internet at
  15. Electrical Safety Foundation. Fire Prevention Week 2015 – Bedroom Safety. Found on the internet at
Lauren Sherman, M.S., is a health content writer with a master’s degree in human genetics from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, laboratory experience from National Jewish Health, and clinical experience from Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Christopher Norman Headshot
Christopher Norman Medical Reviewer
Christopher Norman is a Board-Certified Geriatric Nurse Practitioner and Holistic Nurse. As a nurse’s aide, registered nurse and now nurse practitioner, he has loved working with older adults since 2004.
Was this helpful?
Thank you for your feedback!