To you, your entertainment center means downtime: a chance to plop down and catch up on your favorite shows, movies or video games. But to baby, it's a life-size version of an ExerSaucer with tons of buttons, cords and gadgets to touch—and if it's not properly babyproofed, that TV stand can pose some serious danger. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child dies every two weeks due to furniture or appliance tip-overs—and televisions and related furniture are responsible for 70 percent of the accidents. Here's a quick babyproofing checklist to help make your media cabinet totally kid-safe.
Tie down your TV. Mounting your flat screen onto the wall is the safest option, but if you can’t do that, secure your television with a strap or anchor, says Howard Appelbaum, a certified childproofing expert and owner of Baby Proofers Plus in New York City. To prevent the TV from toppling over when baby grabs it, affix one end of the strap to the back of the appliance and mount the other end to the wall or cabinet behind it.
Keep it on lockdown. If your TV stand has doors, keep cable boxes, DVD players and game consoles behind them and then secure the doors with childproof locks—preferably those that screw into the inside of the cabinet. If your cabinet doors aren’t glass, buy a remote control extender, a small device that sits next to the TV, that can send signals to electronics hidden from view.
Protect your players. If your cable boxes and consoles can’t be concealed behind doors, Appelbaum recommends securing them with electronic equipment safety straps that use strong adhesive to anchor small electronics to the surface of your cabinet. You can also retrofit Apple TVs, Roku players, cable boxes and DVD players with small Plexiglass strips that’ll cover the fronts and prevent little fingers from pressing buttons—or inserting any weird objects into the DVD slot.
Control your cords. If possible, keep any wires for your electronics in the back of your entertainment stand. Invest in cord covers, which bundle the wires together and can adhere to the wall or floor to keep them out of reach.
Cover corners. Once baby is mobile, sharp corners on furniture become more of a danger than a design element. If your entertainment center falls into this category, cover the corners with padding. (Just be careful that the adhesive that often comes with these products won’t damage the finish.) While you’re at it, Appelbaum also recommends padding any handles or knobs that jut out at baby’s eye level.
Remove your remotes. Many remote controls don't have battery covers that screw in place to keep out prying little fingers. To avoid a potential choking hazard, keep all remotes away and out of children's reach.
Updated August 2016.
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