Home safety delivered in style

But if clunky safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and metal grab bars, don't suit your idea of home décor, there are some stylish alternatives.

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Homeowner Stacey Sevinor likes everything in her home to look nice.

"I like a beautiful home, but I like a comfortable home," Sevinor said.

Comfort means more to Stacey than just cozy furniture. She's focused on health and security, too.

A growing number of home health and safety products are getting makeovers, from streamlined fire extinguishers and keyless doorknobs to humidifiers that look like works of art. Form is finally starting to follow function, and it turns out there's a real demand for pretty home safety décor.

"I would call it the next phase in safety," said Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council.

The products fall into three basic categories: security, such as bio-metric or keyless doorknobs and peepholes concealed in door knockers, then health and comfort, like home humidifiers that look like sculpture and flameless candles.

"Many of these products look just the same as a product without the safety feature, or even better. They are smaller -- sometimes you can't see them at all," Appy said.

Safety can come in the form of restyled night lights and streamlined fire extinguishers.

"10 years ago, people would say, 'I don't want my home to look like a nursing home.' Nowadays you can get grab bars designed to go with your décor," Appy said.

It's critical that designer products work as well as traditional safety items. About 20,000 people die in home injuries each year, so check that pretty products are designed with your well-being in mind first.

"The best thing to do when you're selecting a safety product is to look for the label of an independent testing laboratory. Underwriters Laboratory is one, or UL," Appy said.

Appy also said any trend that increases the likelihood that consumers will keep safety products handy is a good one.

For more information about home safety, visit http://www.homesafetycouncil.org/about_us/au_mission_w003.aspx .


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