I Have a Kid on the Way – What Should I Change in My Home Theater
We’ve written an article about how to childproof your home theater speakers when you have small children or pets. But what if you have a kid on the way and you want to be proactive about making changes to your home theater? What should you do to make your home theater as safe as possible for your forthcoming offspring? Let’s discuss!
You Could Do Nothing
I’ve got three kids and I’ve never had a problem with them touching, knocking over, or damaging my gear. You put up a couple of roadblocks between them and the buttons they want to push or give them something more interesting on the other side of the room, and they stay away. Of course, I know that every kid is different and you very well may need to make changes to your home theater to keep them, and your gear, safe. So, you could do nothing and hope that you don’t have a problem. Or you could…
Open Gear Rack
If you are rocking an open gear rack, you probably decided to get one for a lot of reasons. Tons of airflow, easy access to all sides of your gear, and maximum flexibility for placing gear that might not be a standard size. Unfortunately, all those things make them extremely attractive (and useful) for tiny hands.
You may be tempted to swap out for something with a door, or maybe a closet somewhere. Those are certainly options (and if the gear closet is one, then you can still use your open rack in there). Enclosed racks do require a bit of planning and measuring. Make sure not only will your gear fit inside, but that the connectors coming off the back will also fit.
We’ve talked about speaker stands in our childproofing article. There are ways to make them work. You may be tempted to “upgrade” to floorstanding speakers. That’s certainly an option. But a good set of speaker stands that can be filled so that they are heavier at the bottom will be just as sturdy.
Your speakers had grills when they shipped (probably, there are a few that don’t). Some people like the looks of their speakers more with the grilles removed. If you are one of those, you’ll want to dig them out of storage and replace them on your speakers. Sonically, it’ll make no difference but it will protect your drivers from prying fingers.
Room acoustics can make a big difference in your home theater. We’ll literally use any excuse we can think of to get people to add acoustic panels to their rooms. While they are great for home theater, they also create a space that is quieter and therefore more serene. When my children were young, my wife loved having them in the home theater room as the panels kept the reflections down and the kids seemed calmer. And remember, you don’t have to only have them in your theater space. They can go anywhere.
If you’ve got a large projection screen, you are definitely going to want to put a barrier between it and unsteadily walking children. We’ll let you come up with what works for your decor. But if you have been thinking about wall mounting your TV, now is the time. The last thing you need after your child is born is to take on a project that will create dust, debris, noise, and stress. Get that TV on the wall now before it is too late. Just make sure you run the cables safely.
Buttoning It All Up
The last step (if there is one) is to look around the room for buttons. Home theater gear is known for two things: blue lights and buttons. The blue lights will attract your kid and the buttons will give them something to do. I’ve seen my kid somehow switch my receiver into “display” mode by mashing on the front plate. It took me an hour of Internet sleuthing to switch it back. Kids are amazing sources of chaos.
I can’t stress enough how these changes in your home theater might not be needed for your kid, or might not be enough! Kids have a way of getting into things you thought were completely childproof. I also understand that having a child on the way can be an exciting time. Especially for your first, you just want to do something…anything…to make sure the little tyke has what they need to be safe and to succeed. First of all, congratulations on your upcoming little one. Second, take a breath and try to relax. Do what you think is necessary and be vigilant at first. Hopefully, your kid won’t take an interest in your home theater gear and none of these changes will be necessary.