The death of a six-year-old boy in a house fire in Derbyshire has raised questions about the continued use of halogen bulbs in homes.
Riley Jake Jackson died in hospital from “fire related burns and carbon monoxide toxicity” after being rescued from a house in Ilkeston in October.
An inquest at Derby Coroner’s Court heard the fire started when the heat from a halogen bulb set a lamp shade alight.
How safe are halogen bulbs and why have they been banned?
How dangerous are halogen bulbs?
Coroner Robert Hunter recorded a conclusion of accidental death but expressed concerns halogen bulbs were still widely available to buy.
Halogen bulbs are seen as a bigger safety risk than modern LED bulbs as they reach higher heats, creating a fire risk if they come into contact with flammable materials.
In Riley’s case, the inquest was told his bedside lamp had fallen over and the heat from the bulb had caused the lamp shade to set alight.
Why were they banned?
Halogen bulbs were banned from sale across the European Union in September on environmental grounds, rather than safety grounds, as they are seen as less energy efficient than other types of bulbs like LEDs.
However, retailers are allowed to sell remaining stocks and there are no restrictions on them being used.
How can parents keep their children safe?
Child Safety Europe recommends parents opt for LED lamps, which do not produce heat, over those with halogen bulbs.
They said lamps should be placed a safe distance from pillows and duvets to avoid being knocked over and children should be discouraged from pulling them under the covers to create a “cosy tent feeling”.
Should we throw away our halogen bulbs?
Adam Hind, station manager at Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, described Riley’s death as a “tragic accident” but stopped short of telling people not to use halogen bulbs.
He said: “Table lamps are safe. Bulbs are safe. Unfortunately I think it was just circumstances that led to this tragic accident.
“It has been stated by the coroner that halogen bulbs do burn a little hotter than the bulbs we used to use, whereas LED bulbs that are now available but more expensive are actually a lot cooler.
“So it’s basics about trying to make sure that table lamps do not get knocked over, they do not come into direct contact with things that will ignite and to make sure you put a reasonable shade on them as well.”
How can I tell if my bulbs are halogen?
The best place to check is the box but failing that, halogen bulbs are distinguished by their bulb-within-a-bulb appearance.