You hate to think about your family facing an emergency situation such as a fire—but being prepared is the best way to stay safe. Keeping fresh batteries in your smoke detector and practicing safe exiting is helpful, but what if your kids don’t hear the alarm go off? A new study shows that a smoke alarm with a mother’s voice is more effective at waking kids.

It can be hard to miss that high-pitched squeal your smoke detector blares out when the batteries are in need of changing, but how can you be sure that same sound will wake you when you really need it? According to a new study  having a smoke alarm that uses a moms voice woke kids up from sleeping much faster than a traditional beeping alarm.

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“Children sleep longer and deeper than adults and require louder sounds to awaken than adults. For these reasons, children are less likely to awaken and escape a nighttime home fire,” expalined study co-author Dr. Mark Splaingard, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Kids were three times more likely to awaken to the sound of their mom’s voice than the beeping. In the study which included 176 kids, five to 12-years-old, 86 to 91 percent of the kids were awakened by the sound of their mom’s voice versus only 53 percent with the beeping sound.

“These new findings put us one step closer to finding a smoke alarm that will be effective for children and practical for parents,” said study lead author Dr. Gary Smith, director of the hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy.

He continued, “This study confirmed that a maternal voice alarm is better than a traditional high-pitch tone alarm for waking children and prompting their escape under conditions typical of homes.”

More studies will be conducted to determine if any generic female or male voice will work as well as a child’s own mother.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

 

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