How to Child Proof Your Home Theater
Curious youngsters can develop a fascination with your shiny home theater system. Those blinking knobs, flashing lights, mechanical sounds, and glowing buttons lure them in. Before they start to mess up your TV settings, use your A/V furniture as a jungle gym, or stuff a Goldfish cracker into your DVD player, take the necessary steps to avoid home theater hazards. Make your home theater safe for (and protected from) your precious tots. When you get all child-safety measures covered, all you need to worry about is cleaning their snack-sticky fingers.
Conceal the Components
When children see your flashy, sparkly home theater gears, they see it as an invitation to explore. Anything within their touching distance is fair game. Whatever they can touch, they will press, nudge, poke, and even nibble at as well. Tinkering with plugged-in appliances is very dangerous, so hiding your electronics from little kids should be a priority. You can get a cabinet to house all your components, or you can also use a dedicated entertainment unit with doors that close and proper vent grommets for good airflow. You can also secure the entertainment unit to the wall so that the wires and cords are hidden. For added security measure, use childproof locks for the cabinet doors.
Toddlers can easily climb on speakers, tip them over, and tug on the wires. In-wall speakers are a good alternative to speaker stands. These tiny speakers use walls as a resonating cabinet. You might require professional sound installation services when using in-wall and in-ceiling surround sound to optimize the audio quality. For the subwoofer, consider placing it behind sofas/sectionals or other heavy furniture so it’s not easily accessible. Low-frequency sounds travel well, so placing subwoofers in inconspicuous spots does not sacrifice bass quality.
Secure the TV
People like their flat-panel TVs huge and thin – but this kind of design poses a great threat to kids, and even adults. According to Consumer Reports, TV tip-over injuries are on the rise. When a front-heavy TV is simply perched on a small, lightweight base, kids might easily topple it off a stand. They might also tilt or lean on unsupported fixtures. Barking “don’t touch the screen!” will not always work. You need TV wall mounts to safely secure your television and keep it out of reach. Anchoring your TV to the wall avoids sacrificing floor space and gets rid of exposed wiring – which is an added safety measure. Never place the TV on top of a unit with drawers. A toddler may pull them out and attempt to climb, tipping the whole thing over. Before you get a wall mount, check the weight requirement of your TV. Make sure the mount supports the allotted weight and screen size of the television. You can also find an equipment cabinet with a dedicated TV mounting bracket that provides anti-tip protection – an easier solution than mounting the TV to the wall.
Watch Out for Wires and Cords
Little children are easily captivated by the most mundane things – including wires, cords, and cables. These are electrocution and strangulation hazards, so it’s very important to properly manage home theatre cables and wires. If you can keep all power outlets covered and all the cords out of their sight, they can quickly forget about them. Cover your cables with some wire loom which will give them a protective shield. You can organize cords and cables with zip ties to bundle them together, so they are not crawling all over the place. Another easy way to tuck the cables away and out of reach is to hide and route them through walls or under the carpet (for thin wires) or lift them off the floor and affix them to surfaces.
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