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Study Suggests Traditional Fire Alarms May Not Be As Effective For Children

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New research finds the sound of a traditional fire alarm may not be the most effective at waking up young children.

Researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy and Nationwide Children’s Hospital tested three alarms that used the mother’s voice and found that a sleeping child was about three times more likely to be awakened by one of the three voice alarms than by the tone alarm. The average time to escape for the high-pitch tone alarm was nearly five minutes, but with the voice alarm children responded in 18-28 seconds.

Still, until more research is done, families should continue to use traditional smoke alarms, according to Dr. Gary A. Smith, lead author of the study and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy and Sleep Disorders Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

“Because about half the deaths that occur in home fires occur in households that do not have working smoke alarms, we strongly encourage families to continue to use traditional smoke alarms as our research continues," he said.

The study was published this week in The Journal of Pediatrics.


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