A new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that children between the ages of 5 – 12 are three times more likely to wake if they hear their mother’s voice than they are if they hearing a beeping fire alarm. Further, the study found that children wake faster — and would therefore be more likely to escape — upon hearing their mother’s voice. Children typically woke within two seconds of a voice alarm and in 2.5 minutes for a beeping alarm.
About 85 percent of the children escaped the room within 5 minutes when the alarm used the mother’s voice while only 50 percent escaped in the same time frame when awoken by a high-pitched alarm. Based on these findings, the researchers will now examine whether fire alarms that use a voice other than a child’s mother, or that use a male voice, would be as effective.