By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – House fires are especially deadly when they occur while people are sleeping. Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that kids are more likely to be aroused by smoke alarms using their mother’s voice than traditional alarms.

Smoke Alarm (WBZ-TV)

Children can be sound sleepers so waking them up can be challenging and when there’s a fire, seconds matter. So researchers tested four different smoke alarms on 176 children ages 5 to 12 at a sleep center in Ohio.

They found that a traditional high-pitched tone alarm awakened about 50% of the kids from sleep and it took them on average almost five minutes to leave the bedroom. But when the alarm featured their mother’s voice shouting instructions, 90% of the kids woke up and they left their bedroom in less than thirty seconds.

Calling out a child’s specific name did not make a difference so using one alarm with mom’s voice could work for more than one kid in a household.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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