Mum’s voice wakes children much faster than a screeching smoke alarm!

A new study tested how responsive sleeping children were to different types of smoke alarms: a smoke alarm that made a traditional loud screeching sound, and a smoke alarm that played a recording of that child’s mother’s voice telling the child to “Wake up! Get out of bed! Leave the room!”

The results in The Journal of Pediatrics were overwhelming: On average, children woke up and responded to the sound of their mother’s voice warning them about a fire within 2 seconds; the median time for a child to awake from a tone alarm was 156 seconds—nearly 3 whole minutes.

The authors note: “Maternal voice alarms woke 86 to 91% of children, prompting 84 to 86% to successfully perform the escape procedure within five minutes of the alarm’s onset. That’s compared to 52% of kids waking to the standard alarm and 51% escaping.”

The recording of mother’s voice was dramatically more likely to result in the child waking up from sleep and taking action during the event of a fire, compared with the ‘traditional’ screech of a non-voice alarm.

The study indicates that there is something unique in a child’s brain that actually enables them to hear their mother’s voice. So while it may sometimes feel like your child is drowning you out (at least during waking hours), it indicates a powerful connection between a child and mother even while children sleep.

Share your comments below

  • If you are a Mum who yells at her children all the time they are less likely to respond. They tend to “switch off”


  • Such an interesting read. I would never have thought my voice was better at waking my kids then a screeching sound. Just when you think your kids never listen…..


  • Not a surprise in any way to me either


  • Soon you’ll have to record your voice in the smoke alarm plus have an ordinary one for us adults.


  • Thats interesting !


  • This doesn’t amaze me.


  • So true in so many ways, just have to get to listen better when awake.


  • So true! My baby wakes up most mornings as soon a so start talking.


  • So true. As soon as i speech, my kids are awake


  • Every morning…lol


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