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How to keep your TV from falling over

All TVs are tall, heavy, and have pointy parts. Best not to let them fall on you (or smaller versions of you that cohabitate in your abode).


Safety 1st ProGrade TV Lock (left) and KidCo Anti-Tip TV Strap

Mini-humans are an inquisitive bunch, poking, grabbing, and pulling everything in sight. If that "everything" is a loose glass of water, it's inconvenient. If a cat, it's potentially disagreeable. If it's a 65-inch television, the result can be...

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 43,000 people are injured each year in TV- and furniture-related incidents. And it's not just kids getting hurt, either. So let's figure out how to prevent your TV from falling over.

My friends Carrie and Steve are awaiting the stork to bring their first offspring (that's how it works, right?). Their apartment is inching, step-by-step, toward a being a habitable bouncy house. There are enough pastel colors to make it look like a garage sale watercolor painting. I can't even stick my fingers in the electrical sockets anymore. Lame.

But what to do about the 50-inch plasma?

There are a few options available to them, and to you 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. Don't rely on me, an inveterate bachelor whose experience with childfolk was that he was one, once (I'm told).

Strap: On
The easiest, and likely cheapest, method to secure your TV is one of the many varieties of TV straps. These attach to the back of your TV and secure it to either the wall or a TV stand.

Here's a serious-looking one available from Walmart for $22 (shown at top, left). Here's a nylon version from Amazon for $27 that sticks on (4.6/5 from 32 reviews).

At first glance and based on absolutely no real-world testing, this option from Babies "R" Us (is that where you get babies? I'd wondered), seems well designed and is just $10. It screws into the TV using its mounting holes and into the TV stand/wall using wood screws (shown at top, right).

It's available on Amazon for a touch more money.

It's also possible your TV came with a strap like this, or one might be available from the manufacturer.

Another use for these straps is for earthquake-prone areas. 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.

Stand: Taller
In the short term, while the kidlet is still short, you can get a taller TV stand. True, you don't want to put the TV too high, but out of reach is a good step.

However, once they get to the point where climbing is a brilliant activity, you're back onto the danger of the TV getting knocked over. Worse, now it's falling from even higher. The math in this case is simple: F=m*a where a=9.80665 m/s2. Or, if you were educated in the U.S. like I was, this is equal to "lots."

So once they can climb, one of the other options here is necessary.

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Wall: Mount
You might as well put the TV well and securely out of childperson'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 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 or 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, too, just to be safe.

Precautions: Other
It's also worth considering keeping fascinating objects, like remotes, away from the TV. Cables too interesting not to tug on is another potential issue. These may be fairly harmless themselves, but could lead to climbing and other shenanigans near the TV with undesirable results.

Bottom line
It's easy to forget about the television in the 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, curious hands. Definitely worth securing (ideally the hands, but what do I know?).

So, what have you done to baby-proof your TV?

Got a question for Geoff? First, check out all the other articles he's written on topics like why all HDMI cables are the same, LED LCD vs. plasma, active versus passive 3D, and more. Still have a question? Send him an e-mail! He won't tell you what TV to buy, but he might use your letter in a future article. You can also send him a message on Twitter @TechWriterGeoff or Google+.