According to a recent Australian study published in the journal Fire and Materials, less than one third of children aged between 5 and 15 would wake up to the home smoke alarms.
This study focused on finding out the likelihood of school-aged children waking up to their home smoke alarm and it found that 78% of the children kept sleeping through a smoke alarm sounding for 30 seconds.
With the largest sample size among the related studies, this study highlighted that children were most at risk of not waking up to the sound of their home’s smoke detector though it has always been known to save lives in domestic fires.
To conduct this study, parents of 123 children were told to trigger their smoke alarm for 30 seconds after their children had been asleep for one to three hours. Children were divided into two groups with a younger prepubescent group as plasma melatonin levels dropped with puberty onset and the melatonin hormone was known to be sleep-inducing.
The results showed that out of a small number of children who woke, only half of them recognized the sound as a smoke alarm and half of those children knew they should evacuate.
Dr. Dorothy Bruck, lead author of the study at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, said, “In summary, home safety plans should not assume children will wake up to an alarm. This data suggests fire safety training needs more emphasis on the need for children to evacuate the home in the event of an alarm sounding”.