At some point this Sunday (no one knows what time exactly), millions of Americans will gather around their TVs to watch the Big Game. Two veteran powerhouses will exhibit towering feats of athleticism at midfield, and then Shakira and Jennifer Lopez will leave and there will be more football. In a country that loves television more than literally anything else, this is the thing we love to watch most of all.
But have you ever wondered whether it's safe? Not for the players, obviously. That much we've accepted. We mean for you, red-blooded member of the viewing public, plunging a chip into reheated bean dip and silently wondering why Tyler offered to host the party when he clearly doesn't have enough seating in his tiny apartment to accommodate the group. Could you be in danger?
Yes, according to the NY Department of State. On Thursday, the state's Division of Consumer Protection issued a warning alerting New Yorkers to the imminent threat posed by "TV TIP-OVER INCIDENTS."
Numerous unexpected hazards lie in wait, such as "homemade brackets" and "unsecured furniture" and "climbing temptations"—this last tip is primarily aimed at children, but feels generally appropriate for adult sports fans as well.
"The Super Bowl brings together family and friends to enjoy football in front of the TV," explains New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. "Securing your television and furniture before the big event is the best way to ensure your home is prepared for a safe, fun evening.”
Before you scoff — "I''m great at watching TV, idiot" — consider the fact that a shocking number of Americans are hurt by their sets every single day. According to the consumer protections agency, 441 children died from tip-over incidents between 2000 and 2018. Falling televisions injure roughly 18,000 people a year, and send a child to the ER every 30 minutes.
A spokesperson for the Department of State could not immediately confirm whether these incidents were especially common during the Super Bowl (indeed, the game has been associated with other ugly statistics that turn out to be untrue).
Still, it seems worth taking the necessary precaution to guard against the possibility of your beloved flat screen turning against you in the moment you need it most. The same warning, as always, goes for cats:
Below, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection tips for a tip-over free viewing experience:
- Inspect the area – When buying a new TV, be sure you position it on a sturdy, low base and push it back as close to the wall as possible.
- Anchor TV or furniture – Secure the TV to the wall with straps or brackets.
- Secure flat screen televisions – If you mount your new flat screen on the wall, consider having it mounted or installed by a professional.
- Avoid homemade brackets and shelving – They might not be appropriate for the new device.
- Make sure all heavy furniture is secured – Do not place TVs, whether new or not-so-new, on bedroom furniture, dressers, and particularly, children’s or nursery furniture.
- Avoid climbing temptations – Never leave or store items, such as toys or remotes, above TVs or on top of furniture where children might be tempted to climb on the furniture or TV trying to reach them.
- Be alert in someone else’s home – If you go to someone else’s home during the Super Bowl, especially if children will be playing in another part of the home or away from the adult game-watchers, check to make sure that there are no TV and/or furniture tipping hazards in that area that could be especially dangerous to unattended or wandering children.
- Secure the TV cables and cords – Keep them out of a child’s reach. Exposed cords and wires between outlets and the screen also create hazards for everyone.