A recent study has revealed that children in deep sleep awoke to recordings of their mothers' voices - calling them by name and ordering them out of their bedrooms -although they slept through the beeping sound a smoke alarm makes.
Dr. Gary Smith, one of the co-authors of the study revealed that this study reaffirmed previous research which showed that what works for adults doesn't always work for children. "Clearly, the strategy that has been tried and true and used for years ... fails miserably for children," said Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus Children's Hospital.
The study performed on 24 children ages 6 to 12 found that 23 awoke to the recorded voice of their mother saying "(Child's first name)! (Child's first name)! Wake up! Get out of bed! Leave the room!" It was found that fourteen of the children also awoke to the traditional tone alarm. One child didn't wake up to either.
Smith said that both alarms were created using a large speaker as well as sounds measuring 100 decibels, about four times louder than levels used in standard home alarms. He said that the next step is to determine why children responded to the voice alarm differently, whether they were responding to their names, their mothers' voices or the frequency at which the sound was delivered, which was lower than the frequency of a beeping alarm.
The Ohio Department of Public Safety's Division of Emergency Medical Services and the Ohio Emergency Medical Services Board gave the grant for the study.
John Drengenberg, manager of consumer affairs for Underwriters Laboratories Inc.said, "We have a piece of the puzzle now and we're really happy someone has taken up this research and we hope it moves forward."
The U.S. Fire Administration has estimated that 3,300 fatal fires killed 3,380 people in 2005, with 14 percent of victims younger than 10. In 42 percent of the cases smoke alarms were not present and alarms did not operate in 21 percent.
According to Drengenberg statistics do show that any child has died because they didn't wake up to a smoke alarm. He said, "What we do know is parents instinctively ... will go to a child's room and grab a child out of the crib or out of the bed."