A mother’s voice wakes a child before smoke alarm

A random study shows that a child will wake to a Mother’s call before a smoke alarm.

The research was carried out at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio where the study compared a traditional high-pitched smoke alarm to a voice-based one. The study found that children were ‘remarkably resistant’ to being woken up by sounds because they have longer and deeper sleep than adults.

According to US scientists, adding a mother’s voice to a recording in place of a conventional smoke alarm could save lives, providing them with the vital life-saving seconds to escape a smoke filled or burring building.

During the experiment, 176 children took part in the study which was carried out in a sleep laboratory. A child’s Mother’s recorded her voice on the alarm instructing their child to wake up. The alarms were played when the child was found to be in their deepest sleep at the lab.>

While only half woke up to the blaring noise of a conventional smoke alarm, 9 in 10 woke up to the voice alarms.

Fire chiefs welcomed the research; however, they have said families should not worry about the alarms currently in their homes.

Carlow FRS
Pic: Carlow Fire & Rescue Service. (Photo: Enda Curran)

In a report on BBC News, Rick Hylton, from the UK’s National Fire Chiefs Council, said he was looking forward to seeing how the research panned out. “People shouldn’t be concerned about the effectiveness of their current smoke alarms. We know smoke alarms save lives, so we ask that people ensure they have installed smoke alarms. They will alert occupants early if working, fitted and installed in the correct location. This gives adults, parents or guardians the opportunity to wake children, and leave the house.”

Dr Mark Splaingard, one of the researchers, said: “The fact that we were able to find a smoke alarm sound that reduces the amount of time it takes for many children five to 12 years of age to wake up and leave the bedroom, could save lives.”

The researchers now want to test whether any voice will do, or if it has to be the mother. And they want to assess what impact such alarms might have on waking up adults.

The full report is available here

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