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What is an Entertainment Center?
Sometimes called an entertainment complex, an entertainment center refers to a furniture, in most cases comprising of shelves and might sometimes include cabinets, with a design of housing major house components like television sets and consumer electronics. It can also house a DVD player and satellite or cable television receivers.
Unsecured house components like your television and other large pieces of home consumer electronics have been known to be the cause of serious accidents and even death of children in our houses today. Most of these accidents and deaths recorded in our homes can be prevented. Whether you have a little one on board or are expecting one, having a baby proof entertainment center is critical in preventing such accidents and deaths. In modern homes, entertainment centers are placed in our living rooms or sometimes in our bedrooms. Our home components and other large electronics can easily be accessed with our children.
How do I baby proof my entertainment center?
As entertaining as your entertainment center might be to you, to your baby, it is time to explore. When your baby starts crawling or walking, there is nothing that will stop him/her from doing something they see worth of exploiting. They will want to try on the television buttons, and can pull hanging cables which can cause serious accident or death. This is the reason why you need baby proofing media center. We have seven easy steps that can help to protect your baby from accident.
7 Steps to Baby Proof Entertainment Center
1. Secure the Television and Furniture
The television and your furniture are the most available things in your living room or bedroom that your baby can easily accessed. They are the main causes of most accidents and deaths reported all over the world and they need to be baby proofed. A report by United States Consumer Safety Commission for example, noted that in 2006 alone, almost 16, 000 cases of injuries on children were caused by televisions and a total average of ten deaths are reported every year.
These occurrences are manageable only if safety measures are put in place. In this case, your television or furniture should be in a position where you child cannot reach. It can be enclosed so that the toddler cannot tip it down. Alternatively, you can anchor the television on the wall out of reach of the child. This can be achieved by the use of television wall mount which are readily available. Child-proofing-your-tv is therefore the best safety measure in your home when you already have a baby on board or you are expecting one. The exposed buttons on the television can also be covered using button shield.
2. Ensure Components are locked in cabinets
When your components are within the reach of your children in the house, they will try to all manner of things with them. They can decide to change channels on the television device, they might want to insert objects or snacks into the inputs or outputs of the television or DVD player or even play with the buttons or knobs on your system and turning on and off the television or home theater. To maintain control of this situation, you can use two different ways:
The first thing is to put the components in a simple media cabinet and if necessary, put child lock. Also, buy the remote extender kit. Logitech Harmony Extender System can be a good option for that matter. The small receiver will be positioned next to the television which receives IR commands straight away from the IR remote control. The commands are then transmitted to your components which are in the media cabinet.
Another way is using the customized Plexiglas to shield the components so that the child cannot have direct access. To achieve this, you have to buy clear Velcro tape and know the measurements of the opening of the components. You should also consider the tape thickness on two sides which are longer and leave an allowance of ¼ an inch for ventilation purposes. Then get a Plexiglas from the nearest store according to your measurements and fix it.
3. Cover Outlets and Power strips
If you are concerned about your little one having the capability of playing or removing plugs from the wall, it is good to buy outlet covers. Special outlet covers will ensure the plugs remain in walls, making it hard for the child reach it. Sometimes kids tend to insert their small fingers in sockets. They can easily be electrocuted and as a safety measure, in is good if you invest in outlet covers which hides the holes automatically.
4. Hide the cords
Children are fond of picking any kind of stuff and start chewing. Cords that transfer electricity are very dangerous and children can be electrocuted instantly when the wires are exposed. To avoid this menace, use cord concealer so that you can run the cables along the wall. You can alternatively implement zip ties and hide the cables behind your entertainment center. It is good and convenient when the cables of your entertainment center are concealed in a common place. It is also the safest way to prevent children from accessing them and also trapping anyone in the house.
5. Cover all Sharp Corners
As you baby grows up and starts to crawl or walk using the support of things within your house, the chances of them getting bruised are very high. Sharp corners can also bruise grown up adults. It is necessary therefore to be cautious of such dangers we expose our young ones and children into and look out for measures of preventing the accidents from occurring.
If you have an entertainment center or furniture that has sharp corners, it is important to invest in quality corner protectors. Corner protectors don’t stick out firmly and you might reinforce them with some form of extra adhesive so that they don’t fall off quite easily. Always make sure that the adhesive used doesn’t incur damage on the finish. It is also recommended to pad all the knobs or handles that are on the level of the baby’s eyes as they might cause great harm too.
6. Make Glass panels replacements
When your children are moving within the house, they are on the high risk of falling in a glass panel that covers the cabinet housing the entertainment center. This can result to serious injuries to the young ones. As a safety measure, it is vital if you can replace the glass pane with something else like Plexiglas cut sheets, with dimensions of your cabinet in consideration. You can get help from a local store near your home so that you get correct size of sheets and the tools you will use for the task to be successful.
7. Use a baby gate
Also called child safety gate, a baby gate basically is a protective barrier that is designed to bar babies and toddlers from going to areas in the home which are regarded hazardous. They are commonly used in kitchens and on stairways. Parents can use them in the bedroom or in the living room to prevent the little ones from accessing the entertainment center. Baby gates come in different designs depending on the manufacturer. Some are in metal form while others have plastic forms. There are situations where you will find baby gates made of wood.
Depending on how you want to use the baby gate in baby proofing media center, you can choose from either pressure-mounted or hardware. When you use pressure-mounted baby gates, you will hold them around the entertainment center by the action of friction. With hardware-mounted, you will require to screw them within the area so that you can secure the entertainment center out of reach of your children. Some hardware-mounted gates are customizable and can fit wide areas as well as openings which are irregular. Also, there are mesh retractable baby gates that rolls out of way. Depending on the nature of the opening of your entertainment center, there will always be a baby gate that can be used to keep your children away from that area. Since baby gates are removable, you can do away with it once the child is past that age and look at for alternative safety measures you can use at that particular age.
Essential Items needed to baby proof the entertainment center
Your home entertainment center is an area that carries great risks for your baby when they start crawling or walking. Before they can reach that stage, it is vital to know the risks and prepare early. In order to baby proof your entertainment center, there some essential items you need to bring on board. They include the following:
1. Television Ceiling and Wall Mounts
Television wall mount is a bracket that can be mounted on the wall so that you can anchor your television on it. Most flat screens have been specially designed to allow you to attach them on the wall. This is one way of securing it out of reach of your children. Another alternative is to use ceiling mounts if you don’t have enough space on the wall.
2. Child proof tv stand
One way of baby proofing your components and the television in this case is by using the television stand. If you like doing things yourself then using the stand is the most convenient method. It is made of very simple materials and works effectively and doesn’t require experience cleaning it. You can check the Best child proof Tv stand from Amazon’s baby proof tv stand list.
3. Cabinet Locks and Straps
Once your little one starts becoming mobile, there is nothing that will stop him/her from discovering. They will try out everything, from opening drawers, toilet doors, to opening drawers. To prevent them from accessing these areas, you will have to baby proof them using cabinet locks and straps which locks them tight.
4. Hook and Loop Strips
A hook and loop basically is a type of fastener closure system, having two sides: the rough and softer mate. Hook is the roughest side while loop is the softer mate. Hook and loop straps therefore are essential items you can use when it comes to baby proofing the entertainment center in your living area or bedroom.
5. Cable and Outlet covers
Once you have mounting options for your entertainment center, it is essential you secure the wires and all electrical outlets.
The most secure and reliable way you can hide the cables or electrical wires is using the cable cover. Any loose cable dangling around might tip your child to fall down or even strangle them. It is necessary therefore to secure them correctly and if possible, babyproofing all electrical outlets to avoid damaging the entertainment center or injuring the baby.
A cable concealer kit has all that is needed to organize and secure the cables. Cable covers are usually fixed on the wall securely with adhesive tape and then screwed. The cables are then concealed in the covers and blends well with your decor.
If you don’t prefer fixing cables on to the wall by way of using cable covers, alternatively you can use cable sleeves. This solution ensures all the loose cables hanging around are concealed in one position and still can be accessed easily when there is need. Cable sleeves are designed with zippers which you can open and close easily.
Cable ties are simply fasteners which you can use to bundle cables or wires together. It is another way of organizing and securing your entertainment center cables to prevent damage or injury. Cable ties are manufactured in different sizes and lengths. They also come in different colors and made from different materials.
Electrical outlet cover
Using electrical outlet cover is another option you can use to prevent your baby from accessing and playing with cables. If they can’t be hidden behind your furniture, you can use electrical plug covers. It is the best alternative of childproofing and prevents children from accessing and unplugging cables from their position.
Power strip outlet cover
A power strip outlet cover is designed to prevent children reaching the cable. You can use this option by mounting it on the wall and you can adjust it to any length. When using the power strip to secure cables from the reach of the kids, it is recommended you use a baby proof cover to secure it.
Electrical Plug cover
An electrical plug cover is an ideal item to use in preventing little ones from accessing any electricity source which can shock them. This babyproofing option is a common one in our homes and is helpful for curious children who want to explore. They can insert objects in the sockets and this tool simply snaps into the socket to prevent the danger.
How to Child Proof Your Living Room in 30 Minutes
It is a good idea to baby proof the entertainment center when you are raising your children. When children are growing up, they start learning new things and by the time they begin moving around, here things they will admire to exploit. To prevent any accident or damages, it is critical to baby proof your entertainment center.
For more information about child-proof your home check out this article I have written how to child-proof your home.