Handyman: Take steps to avoid tipping furniture, TVs
When we hear of household accidents, we think of someone slipping in a bathtub, falling down stairs or tripping on a loose carpet. But one of the biggest hazards is tipping or falling furniture and televisions. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), cpsc.gov, there are 25,400 injuries each year as a result of a television, piece of furniture or an appliance falling on someone in the home. One child dies every two weeks because of these accidents. That is why the CPSC has launched the website AnchorIt.gov.
While bedrooms are the area where falling furniture injuries occur most, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other areas of the home that need attention. For example, if you use your basement as a recreation area, don’t have a TV on top of furniture that isn’t secured. Old wobbly dressers or cabinets can easily fall when kids are getting rambunctious.
The good news is these tragedies can be prevented by taking some steps to stabilize TVs and furniture. One thing you can do is anchor the TV to the furniture with straps, brackets or braces.
When putting a television on furniture, make sure that the furniture is designed to hold it, such as a TV stand or media center. Putting them on top of a table or dresser could be inviting disaster. If you are putting it on a dresser, for example, make sure it is on one that has a sturdy, low base instead of a tall piece of furniture that can tip.
You can anchor pieces of furniture with inexpensive anti-tip brackets, such as L-brackets attached to the back of the furniture and the wall, which many pieces of new furniture come with. You can also use anchoring straps that work much the same as L brackets in securing the furniture to the wall.
There are plenty of anti-tip straps available at your local home centers and hardware stores, online at Amazon or where you buy your TV.
Mike Bratcher of Bratcher Electric, (734) 722-0037, bratcherelectric.com, said he sees a lot of people incorrectly mounting their flat screens, which can result in both damage to the TV and injury to someone if it falls off the wall.
“You cannot mount a flat screen television on drywall using the plastic screw anchors you use when mounting a picture because they can’t hold that much weight,” Bratcher said. “You have to use something weight rated such as a toggle bolt to give it correct support.”
Bratcher also said that people who finish their basements often use metal studs in the walls, and those don’t offer the support needed to hold a heavy television.
Safety around the home is always important, but too often some of the most dangerous situations can go unnoticed. But with a little common sense and taking some preventative measures, you can make sure no one in your family will become one of the CPSC injury statistics.
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