Adding Mom’s Voice To Smoke Alarms Triples Effectiveness To Save Children’s Lives


SCARE PEOPLE. YOU SEE PEOPLE ON THE STREET KIND OF LIKE FLINCH! I’D LOVE TO SEE PICTURES? NO, IT’S VERY DISTURBING I DON’T THINK IT WOULD WORK. IN HEALTHWATCH, SMOKE ALARMS SAVE LIVES. BUT SURPRISINGLY, THEY DON’T WORK AS WELL FOR KIDS AS FOR ADULTS. THAT’S PROBABLY BECAUSE CHILDREN CAN BE VERY SOUND SLEEPERS. BUT DR. MAX GOMEZ SHOWS US HOW ADDING A NEW VOICE TO A SMOKE ALARM COULD SAVE THEIR LIVES. Reporter: THAT’S RIGHT. NOT JUST ANY VOICE. IT’S MOM’S VOICE THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE. MOM? Reporter: ANY PARENT CAN TELL YOU HOW SOUNDLY KIDS SLEEP. PICK THEM UP IN THE CAR, CARRY THEM INTO THE HOUSE, PUT THEM TO BED AND THEY STILL DON’T WAKE UP. THAT MEANS KIDS MAY NOT RESPOND TO THE HIGH PITCHED SCREECH OF CONVENTIONAL SMOKE ALARMS. [ BEEP BEEP ] Reporter: IT’S A SOUND SOME HAVE SAID COULD RAISE THE DEAD! AND THAT’S A POINT. A PIERCING SCREECH MEANT TO ROUSE YOU FROM A DEEP SLEEP IN THE EVENT OF A FIRE. THE SINGLE MOST EFFECTIVE DEVICE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC TODAY TO INCREASE FIRE SAFETY. Reporter: TROUBLE, NOT EVERYONE IS EASILY AWAKENED BY THAT SMOKE ALARM SIREN. MOST AT RISK ARE YOUNG CHILDREN. CHILDREN SLEEP LONGER AND DEEPER THAN ADULTS AND REQUIRE LOUDER SOUNDS TO WAKEN THAN ADULTS. FOR THESE REASONS, THEY ARE MUCH MORE PRONE TO DIE OR BE INJURED IN A HOUSE FIRE AT NIGHT WHEN ASLEEP. Reporter: SO DR. GARY SMITH OF NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL SET ABOUT FINDING A BETTER WAY TO WAKE SLEEPING CHILDREN. FIRE, FIRE! Reporter: SOME ALARMS ALREADY USE A VOICE. BUT RESEARCHERS THOUGHT A CERTAIN VOICE MIGHT BE MORE EFFECTIVE. CHARLIE, CHARLIE, WAKE UP! GET OUT OF BED! LEAVE THE ROOM! Reporter: THEY TESTED A FEW DIFFERENT PHRASES WHICH ALL WORKED ABOUT THE SAME. THE KEY WAS THAT THE VOICE WAS THE CHILD’S MOTHER. MOST HOMES USE A HIGH PITCHED TONE SMOKE ALARM AND WHEN CHILDREN HEARD THAT ALARM SOUND, IT TOOK THEM ALMOST FIVE MINUTES TO ESCAPE FROM THE BEDROOM. HOWEVER, WHEN THEY HEARD THE MOTHER’S VOICE ON THE SMOKE ALARM, THEY WERE OUT WITHIN 18 TO 28 SECONDS. Reporter: IN OTHER WORDS, MOM’S VOICE MADE THE SMOKE ALARM THREE TIMES MORE EFFECTIVE WHICH COULD BE LIFE- SAVING. AND THE VOICE DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO USE THE CHILD’S FIRST NAME. WAKE UP! GET OUT OF BED! Reporter: SO ONE ALARM COULD BE USED FOR MULTIPLE CHILDREN IN THE SAME HOUSE. NOW, AT THIS POINT, THERE ARE NO COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE SMOKE ALARMS WHERE MOM OR DAD COULD RECORD THEIR VOICE. SO UNTIL THERE ARE, EXPERTS STRONGLY RECOMMEND FAMILIES MAKE A FIRE ESCAPE PLAN AND PRACTICE THAT PLAN DURING THE DAY AS WELL AS AT NIGHT.

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