By Greg Andrews on Dec 23 2013 - 10:11am


TV Tip overs – The Emerging Threat

Nothing enhances your entertainment experience like a huge new flat-panel TV.

The larger sizes are definitely a selling point, but this could also be a danger. The average 32-inch flat-panel TV weighs as much as three average adult bowling balls, and that’s just the 32-inch models. TVs are getting bigger. Thinner, lighter panels and rapidly falling price tags have allowed us to add much larger screen sizes all around the house. But the thin form and lighter weight that make these TVs so appealing is the very thing that makes them so much easier to tip over.

In 2013, the demand for 55-inch and larger TV screens kicked off during Super Bowl season and by August, price points for Ultra HD TVs started to decline toward mainstream, making them more appealing to consumers. Industry analysts are predicting that sales of big screen TVs are growing and by 2018 ten percent of US homes will have 4K Ultra HD televisions. Focusing on bigger screens is a back-to-basics approach that easily resonates with consumers, and the Ultra HD TVs are taking TV sizes to a new high, but coming in around 150 pounds, a tip over would be disastrous, let alone with a child catching the fall.

You wouldn’t think to bring a baby home from the hospital without a car seat or have your child ride a bike without a helmet. Protecting your children from the potential risk of TV and furniture tip-overs is another important part of keeping them safe.  Children under the age of five make up nearly half of the total reported TV-related injuries. The numbers are real. You might be surprised to learn just how serious an issue this has become. According to a study released this summer by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the number of children injured by a TV tip-over has increased 125 percent between 1990 and 2011 and each year, more than 17,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for TV-related injuries. That’s one child every 30 minutes. What’s the most alarming statistic of all? Once every three weeks, a child is killed by a TV tip-over. Ninety six percent of those reported deaths were children under the age of 10.

These tragedies are becoming so common that safety experts and consumer agencies have issued alarming reports.  The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) report issued a report stating that 37 children were killed in 2012 by TV tip-overs, and more than 23,400 children were rushed to emergency rooms.

TVs are top heavy with a narrow base and small kids are curious. As people go after the big screens for their living room, they are moving the old TV models to the bedroom and sitting them on a dresser.  They should be safe – high enough and out of reach of children, right? Wrong. All a child has to do is pull out a drawer and start climbing up the dresser and in second it could all come down. And if you think that you don’t have to worry as much about the smaller TV on the bedroom dresser as you do about the 60-inch panel in the living room, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report actually states that more than 60 percent of the reported injuries were caused by TVs 27 inches or smaller.

SECURE YOUR TV

The safest way to make sure your TV is secure is by mounting it to the wall.  Always look for a mount that has been tested to UL standards.  The most current of which is called UL 2442, which will go into effect on April 7, 2014. Beyond UL listing, you should always look at quality of lag bolts and secondary locking mechanisms, and the easier the installation of the mount, the easier it is to get it right. You can also turn to a local custom installer, and for about $500 you get the TV mounted and all the cables hidden inside the wall, along with peace of mind.

While the best way to secure your TV is to mount it on the wall, you can also add safety to your home with a -inchdrill free-inch solution. A Furniture Mount System, or FMS, can greatly reduce danger in your home by attaching your TV to the back of your furniture. This will not only stabilize your flat-panel TV, but it will also give any seat in the room a better view.

At the very least, buy a special anti-tip strap for around $20 and place the TV on a low and stable piece of furniture, below the knee. Simply secure one end of the safety strap to your TV and the other to the wall and you can easily minimize serious injuries to pets and loved ones. An easy to install strap is the minimum way to increase safety within your home. If your TV is an old style CRT monitor, it is recommended that you recycle it. You can find out where you’re nearest recycling center is by visiting Greener Gadgets.

Flat screens should always be mounted to the wall when they can be. And with a wide variety of TV wall mounts on the market, you're sure to find a perfect mount for your exact need. Whether you're seeking a specific product, benefit or feature, chances are you're sure to find an easy to install mount that will take your TV to new heights. But remember, the worst decision is indecision, so make a plan to secure your TV today.

Greg Andrews has extensive experience growing consumer brands and previously worked at T-Mobile, Airborne Inc. and Heinz. 

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