Medical Professional Publications

Research Now: Deciding Which Smoke Alarm is Most Likely to Wake Children

Being asleep at the time of a residential fire is an important risk factor for fire-related death.  Previous research by Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy, and colleagues has shown that the typical home smoke alarm often fails to awaken children.

Drs. Smith and Mark Splaingard, MD are now testing different types of alarms to find out which one is best for waking children and other family members and prompting their escape in the event of a residential fire.  Their previous research contributed to a change in the US Fire Code to allow voice alarms in residential settings. The current investigations will lead to an optimization of the alarm signal for children and other occupants in the home.

Select citations
Smith GA, Splaingard M, Hayes JR, Xiang H.  Comparison of a Personalized Parent Voice Smoke Alarm with a Conventional Residential Tone Smoke Alarm for Awakening Children.  Pediatrics. 2006;118(4):1623-1632.

Splaingard M, Hayes J, Smith GA.   Impairment of Reaction Time Among Children Awakened During Stage 4 Sleep. Sleep. 2007;30(1):104-108.

Contact: Gary Smith, PhD

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