Accessorize: Here’s to a Safe New Year

Retailers should alert consumers to important safety features

As we ring in 2011, it’s fitting to add home safety to the list of New Year’s resolutions. The safety of A/V products is a relevant issue and one that should remain top-of-mind for manufacturers, retailers and consumers. In the same way that a parent protects a child from hazardous chemicals or hot appliances, taking the appropriate measures to protect children and pets around home theater equipment is necessary.

As our industry’s landscape continues to change, manufacturers have responded by focusing on smart product designs that integrate safety features from the onset. The result is a breadth of home theater accessories that protect children and pets from hazards.

Flat-panel TVs are getting increasingly thinner and lighter and the safest way to ensure they won’t tip over is to mount them on the wall. There are a lot of choices in mounting, but certainly ones with built-in locking mechanisms should be a priority. Consideration should also be given to mounts made from high-grade materials such as cold rolled steel, aircraft grade cable, aluminum and plastics reinforced with fiber. Certification from industry standards such as UL, which attest to a product’s capability, should be pursued and publicized.

For consumers who are intimidated at the thought of mounting a TV a good option is a mount designed with safety and ease-of-install. For example, OmniMount’s new LED Series Suspension System mounts are engineered to hang a TV flush to the wall, just like a picture frame. The mounts are designed with safety retention clips to ensure the suspension cable stays in place.

Low-lying media consoles are a safe place to centralize A/V equipment. Some mount manufacturers make a point to design an array of products with wide legs or solid bases that won’t tip if bumped by a rambunctious child or large dog. Better still are pieces with doors that hide components by tucking them out of sight. Furniture with shelves should be made from a sturdy material like wood, metal or tempered glass.

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