Study Finds Mom's Voice More Effective Than Smoke Detectors

October 26, 2018

ID 55581924 © Nikkytok |

Nothing can grab the attention of a child faster than the sound of mom's voice and that may be incorporated into the next generation of fire alarms. Smoke alarms are crucial in warning families of fires in the night but children are notoriously difficult to wake using sound alone as they sleep deeper than adults. So researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital studied children between five and 12 at a sleep research center to test which alarms would wake them up.  Sleeping children were about three times more likely to be woken by one of the voice alarms than by the shrill smoke detector. The study found that alarms using the mother’s voice roused between 86% and 91% of children, compared with 53% for the tone alarm. Researchers also looked at how long it took for the youngsters to ‘escape’ from the bedroom in which they slept. Children assisted by their mother’s voice freed themselves in 18 to 28 seconds, while the median escape time for the tone alarm was 282 seconds, or nearly five minutes. Tests also showed that the mother did not have to say the child’s name for the voice alarm to be effective, so smoke alarms of the future could work for multiple children sleeping near each other in a home.


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