TV Installation Safety

How to Prevent Your TV from Falling on On You or Your Children

iCooker Pro-Strap Anti-Tip Furniture Flat Screen TV Safety Strap
iCooker Pro-Strap Anti-Tip Furniture Flat Screen TV Safety Strap. Images courtesy of

There are those that say that watching TV can be bad for you and your health, and they may be right, but not only for the reasons, some may think.

TV Dangers Revealed

One reason that a TV can be unhealthy, is not due to what you might see on the screen or how much time you spend watching it, but the physical injury, or death, it can cause, if not securely placed or mounted. This is especially important to note for children.

According to Consumer Products Safety Commission Estimates, approximately 15,400 emergencies were reported involving TVs or Furniture between 2011 and 2013 (the most recent numbers available as of 2016), with 279 reported deaths related to falling TVs or furniture. Children aged 2-3 years were the most common victims.

Obviously, when compared to other types of accidents, the number of incidents from falling TVs is quite small, taking into consideration approximately 110 U.S. million households that own at least one TV. However, the point is, that in almost all cases, these accidents are completely preventable with just a little common sense foresight.

Today's LCD, Plasma, and OLED TVs are deceiving, they are much thinner and lighter than their older CRT cousins from years past. Because of this, there is an illusion that they are less dangerous - after all, some of these old bulky CRT sets weigh as much as 200-to-300 pounds.

If you still have a CRT set they are especially dangerous if placed in a high spot, such as a dresser or a high spot within an entertainment center.

On the other hand, because of their large screen surface area, which is composed almost entirely of glass, LCD, Plasma, and OLED TVs can still be deadly, or a least cause serious injury if they fall, especially on a child, or even the family pet.

Flat Panel TVs of particular concern are those that employ center anchored stands, which consists of a "next" that comes out the bottom of the TV frame to a stand that spreads out onto the table or additional furniture stand. Since all of the weight of the TV is funneled through the bottom center, the sides of the TV can sometimes wobble at the slight touch - and just a little more pressure could cause it to tip on the side or even fall.

A more stable option is a flat panel TV that has feet on both the bottom left and right of the TV frame. This provides more stable placement and does not have near as much less susceptible to wobbling. However, for both types of TVs, further care needs to be taken to insure against unexpected tipping or falling.

Keys to Safe TV Installation

When installing a TV, make sure it is securely anchored to the wall, and I don't mean just when the TV is actually mounted on a wall. Even if a TV is placed on a stand or table, it should still be anchored to the wall to prevent it from tipping, either by its own unbalance due to a less-than-adequate provided stand, or from being unintentionally being knocked over by movement (earthquake or other natural disaster) or from intentionally, or unintentionally, bumping it or hitting it.

In addition to instructions on how to attach a TV to its provided stand or mount on a wall (for LCD, Plasma, or OLED TVs), a growing number of TV makers include diagrams on how to securely anchor a flat panel TV to a table surface, rack, or a wall.

It is important that if such instructions are included in your TV's user manual, that you seriously consider following them - some TV makers even provide a small harness or anchor cable to assist in the installation.

Also, if you are planning to mount your TV on a wall, only use the correct type of mount and screws required for your TV - this can also be found in your user manual. Also, make sure your wall can support the weight of your TV.

However, even if accessories for securing your TV safely to a rack or wall are not provided in the box with the TV, there are other ways you can make your TV more secure from falling.

One method I have used, if the TV has a cylindrical neck coming out of the bottom center between the TV frame the bottom of the stand, is to wrap a thick insulated wire (can be lamp cord or even speaker wire) around the neck (loop it around the neck twice) and tie it off and then screw it, or otherwise securely fasten it on the back of the frame on a rack or cabinet that the TV stand is resting on, or anchor it to the wall directly behind the TV. This will help prevent the bottom of the TV stand from rising up if it the TV is bumped, reducing the tipping danger.

Also, check for small holes on the back of the base portion of the TV's provided stand. You can thread a thin cable through the holes, tie the two cable ends together, and then finish as I mentioned in the above paragraph.

No matter how you secure your TV, the important thing is that it is safe from tipping as a result of bumping or pushing it, or from falling off the wall as a result of improper mounting, the wall's weakness, or an earthquake.

Additional Tips and Resources on Safe TV Installation

Available after-market TV Safety Products

KidCo Anti-Tip TV Safety Strap

Peerless Stabilis ACSTA1-US Clamp Mount for Flat Panel Display

Dream Baby DreamBaby L860 Flat Screen TV Saver 2 Pack

Roundsquare Anti-tip TV Furniture Wall Straps

Quakehold! 4520 Flat Screen TV Saftey Strap

iCooker Pro-Strap Anti-Tip Furniture Flat Screen TV Safety Strap

Omnimount Flat Panel Child Safety Kit (OESK) - Official Product Page