Use of grab bars in squat toilets?

  • Carol McCreary
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Use of grab bars in squat toilets?

Grab bars mounted on the wall help toilet, bath and shower users keep their balance and avoid falls. Grab bars are important in Universal Design and originally seen in disabled toilets Now are becoming standard features in new home and hotel bathrooms. (See attached photos.)

My question is about the use of grab bars in squat toilets. The Wikipedia page on Flush Toilets
has a nice new photo of a contemporary flush squat toilet. Squatting is not easy for all people, especially older people. And young children like something to hold on to as well. Therefore I'd like to find out about the use grab bars or other simple things that help toilet users avoid falls.
  1. Have you ever seen a squat toilet with a grab bar?
  2. Where would be the best location for a grab bar?
  3. Should grab bars be horizontal, vertical or angled to help a user squat and get up from a squat?
  4. Do you have photos of squat toilets with grab bars?
Professor Clara Greed, author of Inclusive Urban Design: Public Toilets
, has suggested that where direct access facilities with private stalls are planned, one toilet room contains a squat toilet and a hose for personal washing. I'd really like to see this in the United States. This could serve members of cultural groups for whom washing after toilet use is the norm or by those who face emergencies where they need to wash: people with Inflammable Bowel Disease or Crohn’s and Colitis and menstruating women. Such a room might also be equipped to serve people needing to change ostomy bags.

What do you think?





Carol McCreary
Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH)
1240 W. Sims Way #59, Port Townsend, Washington 98368 USA

Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.
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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Use of grab bars in squat toilets?

Yes very relevant topic especially for elderly people.

You are probably aware of this comprehensive book that has several examples for PwD adaptations of squatting toilets:
www.susana.org/en/resources/library/details/2218

I have also attached a shorter technical brief from Oxfam that mostly takes pictures and examples from the above book.
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Back in 2010 when I was working with handicap international in Pakistan we also brainstormed a few ideas and experimented a bit with various options (but don't have good pictures I can share).

But it was similar to this drawing in from the book above:


But had a second GI pipe below the first to insert a wooden board with a hole to sit. This way it is usable both as a handrail for people with clutches but also as a seat for people that can not squat at all (someone in a wheelchair for example).

Another interesting example I found (picture not from me, I guess it was from another colleague from HI) is this:


I hope this gives you some ideas :)

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  • Carol McCreary
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Re: Use of grab bars in squat toilets?

Thank you so much, Krischan!

Both of the documents you recommend are wonderful! The why and how of making toilet use easier is clearly illustrated. (And no, I didn't know about them). The one from WEDC is long and comprehensive and is great for awareness and advocacy; very useful for Working Group 9. The Oxfam document has images of grab bars using every kind of materials.

Good design like this serves everyone. I'd like to see grab bars everywhere. We're all TABs - Temporarily Able-Bodied. I worked in Pakistan in the 1990s but now I study good public toilet design for North America. I think squat toilets with grab bars and washing facilities are good design period. They can serve the minority of people who wash for cultural reasons and make it easier for others to wash up following accidents.

Carol McCreary
Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH)
1240 W. Sims Way #59, Port Townsend, Washington 98368 USA

Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.
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