The Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus conducted a sleep study on the effectiveness of smoke alarms. The study specifically looked at how likely children ages 5 to 12-years-old would wake up to the beeping of a traditional smoke alarm compared to a personalized alarm with the voice of the child’s mother. The recorded voice told the children to wake up and leave the room.
Results from the experiment were published in The Journal of Pediatrics and feature nearly 180 kids. The study shows kids were three times more likely to wake up to the alarm using their mother’s voice, and had quicker response times once they were awake.
“It shook me, because as a parent I was assuming that a smoke alarm going off in his room was going to wake him up,” Tracy Mehan, mother of 12-year-old sleep study participant told the Huffington Post.
Mehan watched in shock as her son slept through the high-pitched alarm, and then woke up almost immediately to the alarm that played a recording of her voice.
Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told the Huffington Post that the next step is to determine if the recorded voice has to be a mother or if another voice would generate the same results.
While this research is providing important data, it is critical to recognize that the messaging from this study is not that fire alarms are not worth it. The death rate is twice as high in homes with no smoke alarms, so keep those alarms up and running properly.
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Sandee Gruner is a full-time working mom with a love for writing and communications. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two children, where she enjoys spending time with her family, exploring local attractions and volunteering.