TV Installation Safety

How to prevent your TV from falling on you, your children, or your pets

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 Amazon.com

Some people say that watching TV can be bad for you and your health, and they might be right — but not for the reasons that first come to mind.

TV Dangers Revealed

For now, forget the influences of what you or your kids might see on the screen or how much time you spend watching TV: We're talking bodily harm. An improperly placed or mounted TV can cause serious injury and even death should it fall.

According to a 2017 Consumer Products Safety Commission report , approximately 10,100 emergency room visits from 2014–2016 resulted from injury involving televisions and associated furniture. Such accidents actually killed about 332 people during this period; of these, 35 percent involved televisions only, and 29 percent involved tvs and the furniture on which they sat. Children between the ages of infancy and nine years old were the most common victims.

When compared to other types of accidents, the number of incidents from falling TVs is quite small, taking into consideration that approximately 110 U.S. million households own at least one TV. Still, even one such injury is tragic, given that these accidents are completely preventable with just a little common-sense foresight.

Today's LCD, Plasma, and OLED TVs are deceiving when it comes to potential dangers. They are much thinner and lighter than their older CRT cousins from years past. Because of this, a common misperception is that modern flat-panel TVs are less dangerous; after all, some of the old, bulky CRT sets weighed as much as 300 pounds. The statistics, however, bear out the fact that the improper, insecure placement of even a modern TV can be problematic. Because of their large screen surface areas, which is composed almost entirely of glass, they can still be deadly or at least cause serious injury if they fall, especially on a child or a family pet. Plus, their thinner, lighter construction means they're often placed on shelves and walls from which they can fall. In contrast, the much heavier old TVs were more often situated on the floor or close to it.

Flat-panel TVs of particular concern employ center anchored stands, which have an appendage that comes out the bottom of the TV frame to a stand that spreads out onto the table or additional furniture stand. Because all of the weight of the TV is funneled through the bottom center, the sides of the TV can sometimes wobble at a slight touch — and just a little more pressure could cause it to tip on its side or even fall.

Keys to Safe TV Installation

When installing a TV, make sure it is securely anchored to the wall — even if you're placing it on a stand or table. Attaching it to a wall can help prevent it from tipping, either because of its own imbalance, unexpected movement (earthquake or other natural disasters), or contact-related accident (a bump from an object or person).

Increasingly, TV manufacturers have taken to including diagrams for securely anchoring a flat-panel TV to a table surface, rack, or a wall in addition to instructions for attaching a TV to its provided stand or on a wall mount. If such instructions are included in your TV's user manual, follow them. Some TV makers even provide a small harness or anchor cable to assist in the installation. Use only the correct type of mount and screws required for your TV; you'll find information on this in your user manual. Also, make sure your wall can support the weight of your TV.

When choosing a TV, go for one that has feet on both the bottom left and right of the TV frame. This provides more stable placement and is not nearly as susceptible to wobbling. Even still, you should take maximum care to guard against unexpected tipping or falling.

Other Preventative Measures

Even if accessories for securing your TV safely to a rack or wall don't come in the box with the TV, you can take other actions to secure your TV against falling.

For instance, if the TV has a cylindrical neck coming out of the bottom center between the TV frame and the bottom of the stand, wrap a thick insulated wire (try a lamp cord or even speaker wire) around the neck twice. Tie it off and securely fasten it to the back of the frame, rack, mount, or cabinet that the TV 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 above.

Helpful Products

Many aftermarket products are available to help prevent a TV from falling. Just a few include:

  • 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)

Additional Tips and Resources on Safe TV Installation

For more information on securing your TV against falls, see: