Keep Children Safe by Properly Mounting Flat-Screen TVs
Lots of consumers got sleek, new flat-screen TVs for the holidays. The high-tech devices always are popular presents. Those who did not find one under the tree probably will take matters into their own hands as the most-watched sporting event in America approaches: Super Bowl LVI. Each winter, retailers capitalize on both Christmas and the NFL championship game to sell many TVs by providing deep discounts, bonus offers and more.
The coveted electronic behemoths, which range in size from 32 inches to 82 inches and more by such brands as LG, Samsung and Sony, unfortunately pose a serious safety hazard.
“Maybe you were lucky enough to receive a new big-screen TV as a gift, or perhaps you’re thinking about upgrading for the Super Bowl,” states a WGCL-TV story titled “Better Call Harry goes over important safety tips for properly mounting your flat screen TV.” “Whether new or old, one thing is the same: TVs need to be properly anchored or mounted.”
TV tragedies occur often. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 11,000 children showed up in emergency rooms because of injuries sustained from tip-over incidents between 2017 and 2019, the latest years for which statistics are available. Between 2000 and 2019, nearly 500 children died from tip-over incidents. TV tragedies prompted the agency to – in 2015 – launch a safety campaign called “Anchor It!” to stem tip-over incidents.
“Tip overs are a significant hidden hazard in the home, and CPSC’s safety campaign is aimed at reducing the number of deaths and injuries from tipping televisions, furniture, and appliances,” the agency’s “Product Instability or Tip-Over Injuries and Fatalities Associated with Televisions, Furniture, and Appliances: 2020 Report” reads.
The “Anchor It!” safety campaign has the following tag lines:
- Secure Furniture and TVs: Protect Children
- Get on top before they do
“Children like to climb on furniture,” the agency states on its Web site. “For them, the home is a playground. As you childproof, you may not be aware that unsecured TVs, furniture and appliances are hidden hazards lurking in every room.”
Here are suggestions to prevent tip-over incidents:
- Televisions must be placed on sturdy furniture designed for that purpose.
- Televisions placed on media centers or television stands should be anchored to the wall as an extra precaution.
- Food, drinks, DVDs, games, toys – even remote controls – should be kept away from televisions so as not to attract or tempt children.
- The manufacturer’s instructions for mounting televisions should be followed to the letter. Better, a professional installer should be hired to complete the job.
“TVs are not required to come with anchors but there are flat-screen TV anchoring products available,” the International Association for Child Safety (IAFCS) explains in an article titled “TV Safety – Don’t Forget to Anchor!” “These products should come with an assortment of the required bolts that attach the anchoring device to the pre-threaded holes on the back of each flat-panel TV. Safety straps designed for anchoring TVs can be used to secure a TV to the wall studs or to the back of a properly anchored piece of furniture specifically made to hold the size and weight of your TV. Another option for flat-panel TVs is to install wall mounts, which are secured to the studs in the wall. Whether installing TV anchoring straps or a wall mount, attaching the anchoring device securely to the wall studs with the appropriate length screws is critical for safety.”
The IAFCS explains conceal or hide all cords so children cannot grab or pull them and will not trip over them causing the television to topple.
“Remember, tip-over injuries are preventable,” the article states. “Even when supervised, curious or active children quickly find trouble. There are simple steps parents and grandparents can take to protect children. Anchor It!”
“Anchor It!” has a separate Web site filled with information on what is needed to mount a TV and the steps that must be taken to do so as well as resources including public-safety-awareness videos and CPSC alerts and reports. Also on the Web site are printable brochures, handbooks and posters for those who want to promote the message within their community.
“With rates of injuries and fatalities higher than most people imagine, the Anchor It! campaign is raising awareness and providing simple and inexpensive steps to help prevent furniture, TVs, and appliances from tipping over,” the Web site states. “The campaign has driven more companies to provide anchors with their products, and most home improvement stores and websites now carry affordable anti-tip kits. While the threat is serious, the solution is simple – anchor your furniture, TVs, and appliances to help avoid a tragedy.”