As parents, we may be diligent to baby proof our homes, yet fail to recognize the dangers in the form of plants around us. Plant poisoning can happen to anyone at any age. The highest risks are to young children under the age of three. Easy access for poisonous plants and children, or pets can be a hazardous situation.
It is imperative that parents and anyone caring for children, to become aware of poisonous plants and symptoms of plant poisoning. These can affect pets too.
What Plants are Dangerous Plants for Children?
Many poisonous plants are very common in our gardens, and in our homes. They also include some of the most popular holiday plants.
- Educate yourself about poisonous plants and symptoms of plant poisoning
- Have the Poison control center, your doctor’s, and emergency room phone numbers easily available to find anytime
- Keep all plants up out of the reach of children
- Teach children not to eat any plant without your supervision
- Close parental supervision is needed
What To Do if a Child Ingests Poisonous Plants
Immediately call the poison control center Call (800) 222-1222 (national in the United States), your doctor, an ambulance, or emergency room. Do not give any type of home treatment without first consulting a medical professional for the specific type of poisoning. Remain calm, and try to keep your child calm.
Poisonous Plants and Symptoms of Poisoning
Azaleas and Rhododendrons – Both the leaves and flowers can be deadly. Symptoms can be delayed but may include watery eyes, runny nose, salivation, nausea and vomiting, stomach ache, weakness or paralysis of arms, legs, hands and feet, hypotension or slowed pulse rate.
Autumn Crocus – Blooms in the fall. The bulbs are poisonous and cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and can be fatal.
Bleeding Heart – Leaves and roots are poisonous and cause seizures and other nervous symptoms.
Buttercups – Are most toxic while blooming. Symptoms include blistering of skin, stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, rash and can cause kidney damage.
Calla Lily – Are highly toxic and may be fatal if eaten.
Castor Bean Plant – Causes burning in mouth and throat, seizures, and is often fatal.
Cherry Trees – The seeds, leaves, twigs and bark can be deadly. A person could stop breathing, lose their voice, muscle twitching, spasms, or coma.
Daffodil – The bulbs are poisonous and cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Stems also cause headaches, vomiting, and blurred vision and can be fatal.
Daphne – The berries (either red or yellow) are poisonous, causing burns to mouth and digestive tract, followed by coma, and often fatal.
Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia) – All parts of the plant are toxic in this houseplant. Symptoms are burning and numbness in mouth and tongue. Slurred speech.
Elephant Ear or Caladium – All parts of the plant are poisonous. Symptoms are irritation, pain, and swelling of tissues. If the mouth or tongue swells, breathing may be fatally blocked.
Foxglove – The leaves, seeds and flowers are toxic, with leaves being fatal if ingested. It causes mental confusion, nausea and heart problems.
Jerusalem Cherry – All parts, especially the berries, are poisonous, causing nausea and vomiting. It is occasionally fatal, especially to children.
Jimson Weed or Stinkweed – All parts of the plant contain dangerous levels of poison and may be fatal if ingested by humans or animals, including livestock and pets.
Mistletoe, Holly and Poinsettia – All three classic Christmas plants. The berries of holly and mistletoe, leaves and sap of the poinsettia are poisonous. Symptoms they can bring on include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash to the skin.
Hyacinth – The bulbs of this powerfully fragrant plant are poisonous, causing nausea, vomiting, gasping, convulsions, and possibly death.
Iris – Causes burning in mouth and throat, stomach pain, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.
Lantana Camara – The immature fruits and leaves are very toxic. May cause jaundice, light sensitivity, and nausea.
Larkspur – All parts of the plant are toxic and can be deadly in larger doses. Symptoms are burning and numbness in mouth, nausea, sweating, breathing troubles, heart problems and depression.
Lilies – Most are poisonous, especially to cats.
Lily of the Valley – Can cause headaches, confusion, dizziness, slow or irregular heartbeat, nausea and vomiting.
Lupine – Symptoms include sleepiness, foaming at the mouth, convulsions, slowed heart rate, and slowed breathing.
Mayapple – The root and fruit of this plant is poisonous, with the root being deadly. It can cause respiratory stimulation, vomiting, coma and death.
Mushrooms – Stems and caps of some variety, and the symptoms vary according to which type of mushroom. Unless a person is an expert at mushroom collecting, do not eat any wild mushrooms.
Nightshade – Part of the Datura family – see the Jimson Weed or Stinkweed for more information.
Oleander – All parts are very toxic, but especially the leaves and woody stems. They cause severe digestive upset, heart trouble, rashes. The smoke of burning oleander can cause reactions in the lungs that can be fatal.
Philodendron – This houseplant is toxic on all parts. It causes burning in the mouth and throat, inhibited breathing problems, digestive issues and skin problems.
Poison Ivy and Oak – The leaves, fruit, stem and even smoke from burning these plants can cause severe reactions. Some people will react even if a dog has brushed against a plant, then pets the dog. Severity of symptoms varies with people, but terrible itching, pain and rash are likely.
Rhubarb – The leaves are poisonous and can be lethal. It causes burning mouth, stomach aches, vomiting, difficult to breathe and internal bleeding.
Swedish Ivy – An indoor plant that is common, its leaves are toxic and causes nausea and vomiting.
Water Hemlock – All parts of the plant are poisonous and can be deadly. Poisoning symptoms are stomach pain, vomiting, tremors, convulsions, delirium, stoppage of breathing / death.
Wisteria – The seeds are poisonous causing nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea.
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The proximity between poisonous plants and children needs to be well informed. The list above reveals some of the more common dangerous plants. It is by no means an exhaustive list. I recommend the book Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants for further information.
Until next time,
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