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Home and Garden: Protecting Your Child from Poisonous Plants

Child gardening and learning about plants.

Home and Garden: Protecting Your Child from Poisonous Plants

Most young children know to stay away from poison ivy, but there are many plants that cause allergic reactions or poison children. The best home and garden safety tip is to identify any existing plants in your home or yard. Take special care to only plant child-friendly plants in areas that your children access. Remove highly toxic plants such as Angel Trumpet Trees when you have small children. According to a report by aboutkidshealth.com, it’s important to call a local poison center immediately if you suspect your child consumed a poisonous wild mushroom, plant, berry, seed or flower. Let officials know your child’s age, symptoms and how recently they touched or consumed the plant. If you know what part of a particular plant your child ate, it helps since sometimes it’s the leaves and not the berries that are poisonous or vice versa.

Teaching your child about plants

While you don’t want your child to feel afraid to eat plants, it’s important to talk about which plants are edible. One idea is to let your child help you plant an edible herb and flower garden. Explain how these particular plants feed people, but some plants are only food for wildlife. For example, holly berries provide a great food source for birds but poison humans. Teach your children to avoid sucking nectar from flowers that are not in the edible garden.

Labeling indoor and outdoor plants

It’s a good idea to label plants. Cactus plants cause skin irritation, while aloe plants health soothe the skin. Keep harmful plants out of reach. Label plants. If you aren’t sure what’s poisonous talk to officials with a local extension office or your plant nursery. Some of the poisonous plants that parents often avoid include Arrowhead vine, black locust, chrysanthemum, daffodil, bittersweet, caladium, delphinium, amaryllis, azalea, Boston ivy, castor bean, daisy, clematis, Chinese lantern, Rhubarb leaves, oleander, snow on the mountain, wisteria, Virginia creeper, Pokeweed, nightshade, Mistletoe and lily-of-the-valley. When planting poisonous plants, keep them behind a barrier so your children can’t reach them.

Some of the non-poisonous plants that make for a child-friendly flower bed include African violet, alyssum, coral bells, jade plants, money plants, freesia, hoya, fuchsia, petunia, zinnia, Easter lilly, yucca and portulaca.

For more home and garden tips regarding plants and child safety, talk to a local horticulturist. If you feel worried about skin irritations, rashes, blisters or sudden illnesses after consuming wild berries, mushrooms or plants, contact a local poison control center or dial 911.

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