Sleep :: Parent voice alarm more effective in awaking sleeping children

Smoke alarms with a personalized parent voice recording were significantly more effective in awaking sleeping children than standard residential tone alarms, according to a new study.

In “Comparison of a Personalized Parent Voice Smoke Alarm With a Conventional Residential Tone Smoke Alarm for Awakening Children,” researchers attempted to wake 24 children, ages 6 to 12, from stage 4 (deep) sleep with two different smoke alarms, both much louder than alarms currently on the market and not commercially available for use by families: a standard tone alarm, and personalized alarm with the voice of a parent asking the child by name to wake up and leave their bedroom.

Twenty-three of the 24 children awoke to the parent voice alarm, while just 14 awoke to the standard alarm.

Of the children who awoke to their parent’s voice, 86 percent successfully performed a simulated rescue escape procedure, significantly outperforming children awoken by the standard alarm.

Because smoke alarms should consistently and successfully awaken both adults and children, the study authors recommend additional smoke alarm research, and changes in smoke alarm signals, that address the unique needs of children.

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