When it comes to your children, there are many dangers hiding in your home. Up until now, you probably never even noticed many of them – using them every day without any concern. One of these obvious, but previously unnoticed dangers is your television.
All of a sudden that expensive piece of slick flat screen technology looks awfully shaky and prone to tipping over. An expensive and potentially dangerous accident waiting to happen.
Over a period of 11 years, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) reported that nearly 350 people died from furniture and electrical appliances falling on them. Sadly, 84% of these victims were children under the age of 9 (1). The weight of a television is enough to seriously injure your child, and serious measures need to be taken to make sure your child is safe around your TV.
Table of Contents
[easyazon_table attributes=”ListPrice” identifiers=”B001E1Y5O6,B00IN78MC0,B00A0HZPVC,B01D6ZL6HQ,B000TGSPV6″ locale=”US” orientation=”at” tag=”katherinerosmannew-20″ text=”VELCRO Brand One Wrap Thin Ties|Manhattan Entertainment Center|Altra Galaxy 50″ TV Stand with Mount|Safety Baby Metal Furniture / TV Straps|VELCRO Brand – Sticky Back Strips”]
Wrap up the Cords
Cords are attractive to babies for some reason, and whether they are attached to curtains, clothing, or electrical devices, they are bound to be tugged on (and chewed and slobbered on) at some point.
Any cords attached to your television pose a danger to your child. With enough force, she could pull the TV on top of herself, getting seriously injured. Long cords can also pose a strangulation hazard if they should get wrapped around her neck.
You should definitely look into child proofing those cords first. Wrap them into small coils, securing them with twist or zip ties so they are shorter and harder to grab. Find places behind the TV and furniture to tuck them away, out of sight and out of reach of your little one.
Mount It on the Wall
If you have a flat screen TV, and you have been toying with the idea of mounting it on the wall, now would be a great time to do so. By having the TV up high on the wall, it removes it from the reach and direct line of sight of your child.
There are many mounting systems available, and you should be able to find one that is compatible with your television.
Be sure you follow installation instructions very carefully. You would hate for a simple mistake to result in a broken television, or worse, an injured child. You also want to be sure to find a wall stud before making up your mind on where you want to mount it.
Drilling carelessly could leave you with multiple holes in your wall and torn drywall that cannot support a heavy TV. If you are unsure what you are doing probably best to get a professional in.
Store It in an Entertainment Center
The next best option is to set your TV up in an entertainment center. These tend to be very sturdy and are intended to store bigger items, like your television. Most keep your TV and components high and out of reach of children.
Even better would be to keep your television out of sight by choosing an entertainment center that has doors. You can then use child proof locks to keep the doors shut when your TV is not in use.
While it is a bit of an investment, the pictured Manhattan Entertainment Centrewould be a stunning addition to your home, and also keep your TV safely out of baby’s reach.
Choose the Right Stand
For some, an entertainment center may be out of the question, due to space and cost. If this is the case, you should still put some serious thought and consideration into the piece of furniture you place your TV on.
End tables and other furniture that is not intended for a television can be dangerous, as they do not allow even weight distribution for your TV and can cause it to be top heavy. Furniture with shelves and drawers can be used as a ladder by your child, throwing off the center of gravity, and causing the TV or entire piece of furniture to tip over.
Your best bet is to go with an actual TV stand. These are bulkier than night stands and lower to the ground than tables and dressers, creating a sturdier base for your TV to sit on. It is also a good idea to set your TV as far to the back of the stand as you can. This will keep it further away from your child and closer to the wall if it were to tip backwards.
Alternatively you could go for something like the Altra Galaxy TV Stand. This specially made unit is not as bulky as your usual TV stand furniture and keeps the TV high.
Utilize Anti-Tip Straps
A TV stand alone will not be enough to keep your television from falling if your child were to push on it or tug on the cord. You can use these anti-tip straps to keep your TV from tipping forward. They are easy to install, utilizing the pre-threaded holes on the back of your TV (used for various mounting methods).
The straps can then be attached to either the wall or the piece of furniture your TV is sitting on. Remember, just as you did with the mounting system, you need to find a wall stud to firmly secure the strap to before settling on the location for your TV.
Hide All Other Components
Chances are you probably have a Blu-Ray or DVD player and a game console or two that hang out around your TV. You are going to want to protect these at well. The flashing lights will draw your child’s attention, and the moving disc trays are just waiting to have something inserted in them. You do not want any damage to befall your electronics or your child.
If you are using an entertainment center with doors, this will not be a concern for you. You can just close it up when it is not in use. There are many TV stands that have sliding doors on them as well.
Glass doors are great, as they allow remotes and game controllers to still be used while keeping the door shut. However, these can also be dangerous if your child were to throw something or trip and break the glass.
If your TV stand does not have doors, you can use Velcro strips to attach a piece of plexiglass to the front. The Velcro will allow it to be removed when you need to change your DVD or video game and replaced easily. Be sure, when you measure the space you need to cover, to leave a small gap (about ¼”) on the sides or the top/bottom to allow proper ventilation.
Hide your Remote
TV remotes can also be hidden out of sight for a few reasons. With their constant use by various people, they are germ ridden, leaving your child at risk for illness. The buttons can also wear out and come off (especially when you have little fingers constantly pulling at them), which could then become choking hazards.
Finally, with a drooling baby chewing on your remote, you can guarantee your remote will cease to function at some point, and electronics and saliva do not mix well. That’s if you can find it at all.
Your TV is an item of fascination for any child (and adult), so you can bet that they will be hanging out around it quite often. You want to make sure it is safe and that your child is not at risk for injury from your television set. With the proper furniture and safety precautions, you can all enjoy time around the TV without any concern for your little one’s well-being.
To round this out, lets take a look at the risks you take by ignoring this advice. While the video is somewhat amusing (who doesn’t love fail videos?), if a baby was hit by the falling TV the consequences could go far beyond a broken TV. So be smart and take the necessary precautions.
If you want more information – Check out our complete guide to child proofing here.