How very interesting

Fire alarms would be more effective at waking sleeping children in the event of a blaze if they were fitted with the sound of their mother’s voice, a new study has shown.

Children’s hearing is different to that of adults, and British research last year showed that 80 per cent of under 13s do not wake up to the high-pitched sound of a normal home smoke detector.

You mean all that money spent on installing alarms absolutely everywhere – it’s worth it if it saves just one child! – was wasted?

14 thoughts on “How very interesting”

  1. I don’t hear high-pitched sounds ‘cos I’m a high-tone-deaf old coot. I’m not alone in the world. either.

  2. Empirical evidence would suggest that teenagers also ignore a mother’s voice screaming “Get Up!” over 80% of the time……

  3. I find this almost impossible to believe. The noise of these things is colossal, enough to drive me slightly mad in one instance when the fucking thing wouldn’t turn off. Literally ripped the plastic lid off and wrenched the battery, and one wire, out of it.

    The slightest, tiniest hint of smoke when cooking and bang, heart attack time. That’s why it now lives in the bathroom next to an open window whenever I am in the kitchen.

  4. In Michael Crichton’s “The Andromeda Strain” he mentions the finding that a woman’s voice is more effective at waking people than an alarm. Presumably these latest researchers have never read the book or seen the film in the past 49 years.

  5. ‘Are there abnormal ones?’

    Ones with mother’s voice?

    Tell you what, my ex wife’s voice on a smoke detector would get me out of the house. Quick time.

    ‘Children’s hearing is different to that of adults,’

    Ear drum, anvil, cochlea, cetera. What’s different? As KL points out, they hear BETTER than adults.

    ‘and British research last year showed that 80 per cent of under 13s do not wake up to the high-pitched sound of a normal home smoke detector.’

    I don’t believe it, ‘British research’ notwithstanding.

  6. Last place I was working they had to muffle them in the stairwells as they exceed the safe noise limits in such an enclosed space.

  7. At the age of about 9 or 10 I slept through our smoke alarm going off after Dad had a “mishap” while using a lit candle to clean boots or something like that. The smoke alarm was immediately outside my bedroom door but I knew nothing about any of it until the morning. It’s possible if the alarm had been going off for longer I would have eventually woken up but as it was a fairly small affair and my parents extinguished it quickly I expect they turned the alarm off if they could.

    Funnily enough I remember lying in bed a few years before that at my grandparents’ house being scared of the smoke alarm going off – not so much because I was scared of a fire, but because I was scared of the alarm itself.

  8. Well my daughter slept through the very loud in-room hotel fire alarm that went on Friday so I can believe it. I imagine it isn’t so much children’s hearing being different, but their brains not being wired to react to unexpected sounds in the same way as adults.

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