Did you find a new flat-screen HDTV by the Christmas tree this year? You’re not alone. Televisions are among the hottest family gifts each holiday season, especially big beautiful 4K Ultra HD models. As technology improves and prices decline, larger TVs with screen sizes as large as 85 inches are seeing their way into more and more family rooms. But soundbars, TiVos and universal remotes aren’t the only accessories you should be thinking of – especially if you have small children in the home. In fact, the most important accessory is one you’ll barely ever see.
TV wall mounts
We’re talking about mounts. One of the advantages of flat-screen TVs – especially the newer super-thin models – is the ability to be hung on a wall like a picture frame. It turns out that mounting a TV is also one of the best things you can do to ensure the safety of children. In the last few years, more than 15,000 people – most between the ages of one and three years old – have been hospitalized for injuries related to TV or appliance tip-overs. Most occur in the home, and the vast majority happen while a child is unsupervised by an adult. As TV sales go up, so do these injury numbers, and the effects of a TV tip-over injury are serious. Dozens of fatalities occur each year.
Flat TVs are great, but their designs carry inherent safety risks for families with small children. They’re heavy – even ones that feature ultra-thin bezels can weigh more than 50 pounds. The larger they are, the more top-heavy they become. Add to that the fact that stands are typically quite narrow, and designed more for aesthetics than stability. Toddlers trying to stand or grab at the TV could find themselves trapped under a falling TV that can come down on them with a force comparable to falling out a window ten stories high.
Mounting a TV on the wall – done correctly – can mitigate against this danger. Ensuring your mount is attached securely to the television and solidly anchored into studs in the wall is key. Hiding wires behind the wall is also a good safety practice. Unless you are very comfortable doing these things, it is advisable to have a professional like Suess Electronics do it for you. And if you have an old tube-style (or CRT) television in a family room, consider replacing it with a mounted flat-screen TV. Tube TVs are much heavier and especially dangerous when they become unstable.
Safety isn’t the only benefit of mounting a TV to the wall. A wall-mounted TV can help de-clutter the room, and make it more aesthetically pleasing. Mounts for soundbars and speakers are also available to help complete a nice clean look. Some television mounts feature full-motion designs that allow you to angle and reposition the TV to different viewing angles.
TV anti-tip straps
What do you do if you don’t want to hang your TV on the wall? Specially-designed “anti-tip” strap kits are available that anchor your TV to the wall. Should your child bump into or climb onto your TV stand, these straps keep the TV securely upright, dramatically reducing the chance of injury to you or your child. The straps attach to the TV by screwing into the wall-mount holes found on the back of every modern TV, and the opposite end attaches to the wall. The straps are typically adjustable in length to ensure a secure connection.
What if you can’t mount your TV or an anti-tip strap to the wall? Say you’re living in an apartment complex that prohibits wall mounts. You can secure the anti-tip strap directly to the TV stand as well. In this case, we would strongly recommend that you choose a shorter TV stand with a wider, more stable base that is less likely to tip forward should a child climb onto it.
Wall mounts and TV anti-tip straps are relatively inexpensive and provide great piece of mind for parents and grandparents. The dangers of TV tip-overs are very real and increasing every year, and one of these simple precautions could very well save a life.
If you need assistance mounting your TV to the wall, or would like to purchase an anti-tip strap kit, stop into our store or call us at 920-733-6464 for more information.