Geoffrey Morrison | CNET.Com
Troy Warren for CNT #Technology
More injuries than you would expect come from TV- and furniture-related accidents. Here’s how to prevent them from happening to you and your family.
If a TV falls on you, you’d probably be OK. If it fell on your foot, maybe less so. If it falls on a toddler or small pet, it could cause serious injury. This happens more than you might think. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 25,500 people are injured each year in TV- and furniture-related incidents, with hundreds of deaths. And it’s not just kids getting hurt, either. So let’s figure out how to prevent your TV from falling over.
While TVs have gotten lighter over the years, they’ve also gotten larger and less stable, with many models featuring small stands that look cool, but don’t protect against a serious wobble.
There are a few options available depending on where your TV is located and how much you want to spend. Keep in mind this is merely a guide. You should research any serious baby-proofing extensively.
The easiest, and likely cheapest, method to secure a TV is one of the many varieties of TV straps. In most cases these straps connect to the mounting holes on your flat panel, and then you drill the other end into your furniture and/or the wall. Make sure you find a stud or use drywall fasteners, since regular screws will slide out of drywall pretty easily.
Here’s a serious-looking metal version available from Amazon for $13 (above, left). Here’s one for $9 that secures to the table and the wall (above, middle). This third option (above, right) is $10 but features long straps.
Even if you don’t have kids, these are great for anyone who lives in an earthquake-prone area. A bit of a wobble could wiggle your TV over, so for a few dollars, one of these straps could probably prevent a TV topple.
A less elegant solution could be adding weight to the back of the TV’s stand or feet to make it more stable and less prone to falling over. Wrist weights, for instance. If you’re not concerned about the surface of your TV table, you might be able to drill the stand itself into the table. Make sure you drill a pilot hole in the stand first so it doesn’t crack. But if you didn’t know that, this method might not be ideal for you.
Mount your TV to the wall or furniture
You might as well put the TV far and securely out of a child’s reach. Mount the TV on the wall, and you get the added bonus of freeing up some floor space. I talk about what you should consider in TV mounting in “Where should I put my TV?” and “TV weight: Fact and fiction.”
The short version is that you need at least one wall stud for mounting most TVs. TV mounts themselves aren’t that expensive, with many models under $100.
If wall mounting isn’t an option, you can get a “furniture-mounting system” or “freestanding TV mount” like this option (there are lots of others). These either mount to existing TV furniture or free-stand behind the furniture. Personally, I’d bolt a freestanding model to the wall or the furniture — just to be safe.
Other precautions to consider when securing TVs: The remote and cables
Keep fascinating objects, like remotes and toys, away from the TV. Wrap and secure cables, so the can’t be tugged on. We’ve concentrated on TVs, but really any furniture in your home that’s taller than a toddler is potentially dangerous. Securing these to a will only take a few minutes but can make your house much safer.
It’s easy to forget about televisions in a baby-proofing marathon, but they’re tall and fairly heavy. While stable on their own, they’re not designed to survive an onslaught of tiny, sticky and curious hands. They’re definitely worth securing (ideally the hands, but what do I know?).
For more info, check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website Anchor It.