TV Wall Mount Safety
Many readers might have fond memories of sitting in their parent’s basement, watching their favorite shows on the family television. We might be dating ourselves here, but the unit we remember was as long and deep as we were tall, and took at least two grown men to move anywhere. Alas, gone are the days of those giant boxes that were practically weighted and anchored into the floor.
Advances in technology quickly saw the uptake of CRT televisions. Due in part to their front-heavy design, they were considered especially unstable and are considered especially dangerous when compared to the newest, flat-screened models which have a more even weight distribution and sturdier bases.
Over the years, televisions have continued to get thinner and thinner, and as a result they are easier for little fingers to grab ahold of and aren’t always as stable as they could be. Coupled with the rise in home theatre systems and setups and the rising use of TV furniture, and you’ve got a recipe for increased injuries to children.
With the progress in technology has come an increase in the number of injuries among curious tots crawling, climbing and pulling themselves on anything within reach – including the TV and TV stands. Due to the fact that flat screen models are easy to grasp, this means that they can easily tip forward with very little effort.
Injuries caused by TVs falling onto kids (and adults) can include minor bumps and bruises, to more serious concussions and crush injuries, and in the most severe of cases, even death.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) estimates that there were more than 17,000 reported cases of injuries caused by televisions and TV stands that were treated in hospital in the United States in 2012.
The number of actual injuries caused by TVs is bound to be quite higher than this, as the data from the CPSC only looked at those injuries which resulted in medical treatment at a participating hospital, and minor injuries were likely treated at home or another medical treatment facility not included in the reporting data.
In fact, statistics show that a child has been treated every 45 minutes in the emergency room over the last 10 years due to a TV tipping over and that injuries have increased more than 30% as a direct result of television instability. From 2000-2011 there have been 215 deaths reported involving unsecured televisions, which makes securing them properly crucial to ensuring your children’s safety.
There are several safety precautions that parents can take when it comes to setting up the family television in order to keep the little ones safe.
- Always ensure that you don’t modify the TV’s electrical plug in any way, and make sure the cord is securely plugged into the electrical outlet in order to prevent electrical shock or potential fires.
- Always be sure to check the stability of your television. If it tips or rocks with little effort, you’ll want to secure it in some manner, or perhaps move it to a more secure location. Be mindful that furniture can also be rocked (or climbed – drawers pulled out make excellent steps for little ones), which may result in your TV tipping over – so assess that risk factor as well. For CRT-style televisions, ensure they’re set up low and stable or consider recycling them for a newer flat screen model, and for flat-screen TVs you should seriously consider wall-mounting them in order to decrease the chance of tipping and toppling.
- If using a TV wall-mounting kit, ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to have the best and safest fit possible. If your TV or mounting kit came with a warranty or registration card, be sure to complete the form and mail it in to the manufacturer. This way, you’ll be notified of any recalls or other safety information in the event of a problem with your model. Surveys done by Consumer Reports National Research Center show that most people seldom or never take this essential safety step.
The safety experts at Sharp Electronics also shared with Safety.com the following TV safety tips:
- The best solution to keep the TV out of harms way is to mount it on the wall so there’s no chance of it toppling off stands. Manufacturer approved brackets, braces and wall straps should be used to ensure TVs are fastened securely. Install the TV where it cannot be pushed, pulled over or knocked down.
- In that same vein, route cords and cables connected to the television so that they’re out of reach and cannot be tripped over, pulled or grabbed by young children.
- If your only option is to place your TV on furniture, you can purchase products that allow you to “lock” your flat screen securely to the wall behind it. Similarly to wall straps, you can use anti-top straps to secure your TV to the top of the furniture it’s resting on – but the stand needs to be heavy enough to support the weight of your television.
- Also, never place the television on furniture that can potentially be used as steps, like a chest of drawers.
- Always use a mount, attachments and accessories that have been recommended by the TV manufacturer and have a safety certification by an independent laboratory (such as UL, CSA and ETL).
- It’s crucial that the wall or ceiling that you are mounting your television on is appropriate – some mounts are not manufactured to be mounted onto walls or ceilings with steel studs or cinder block construction.
- When wall mounting, make sure you have at least one other person to help you to prevent potential accidents from the TV’s heavy weight.
- Select a place with no direct sunlight to prevent reflections and good ventilation so it doesn’t overheat.
- Lastly, always use service personnel if you’re not completely confident in your abilities to correctly mount your TV.