My twins are four and my littlest is two and a half and they are in to everything. They are still in “that stage” where almost everything they pick up goes into their mouths.
If you have house plants around and they are in reach of your kids (or you think they are out of reach until you see your kid walking towards you with dirt on their hands and a leaf in their mouth) you may want to know if they can be harmful in any way to your children, especially when they are in “that stage”.
I spoke by telephone to Janet, who works at a lawn and garden store. She said that most house plants have some level of toxicity, ranging from mild to severe. She mentioned two that I have listed below – diffenbachia and oleander as ones to be particularly careful with. She advised parents to look up lists like the this one on the Internet and find out what plants they have in their houses. If necessary, remove the more dangerous house plants until your children are older. She also mentioned that some plants can be more dangerous to certain pets, and to look that up if you have an indoor animal.
Here is a short guide to some common house plants that may be dangerous.
Aloe Vera: The yellow liquid that initially comes out of this plant when cut can cause rashes, and the middle “gel-like” part can cause diarrhea if ingested
Amaryllis/Hippeastrum/Resurrection Lilly: If the bulb itself is eaten, it can cause diarrhea and vomiting
Angel’s Wings/Elephant Ears/Heart of Jesus: Ingesting the leaves can cause severe irritation to the mouth and throat
Devil’s Trumpet/Hell’s Bells/Devil’s Weed/Devil’s Cucumber/Pricklyburr/Jimson Weed/Thorn Apple: Ingesting this plant can cause agitation, jerky movements, drowsiness, hallucination, high fever,coma and death
Dumbcane/Diffenbachia/Leopard Lily: Chewing on these leaves will cause swelling of the mouth and throat that is very painful, may impede speech, and may last for several day. Also, if the juices get into the eye, it can cause intense pain and swelling.
Poinsettia: This was once considered a highly toxic plant, however, that opinion has been revised because of a lack of evidence. That being said, the sap has been known to cause skin rashes, and if ingested, can cause nausea and vomiting.
Hydrangea: Eating the flower buds can cause diarrhea, vomiting, breathing problems, and even coma
Philodendron: these plant juices can cause redness and itching on the skin, eating will cause burning and swelling of lips, mouth, tongue and throat
Peace Lilly and Easter Lilly: eating the leaves can cause burning, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, and in the case of the Easter Lilly, possibly death
English Ivy: ingesting can cause vomiting, convulsions, paralysis, or coma
Most of this information can be found in greater detail, as well as pictures of the plant atwww.blankees.com/house/plants/poisonous.htm.
This brochure put out by the Department of Social and Health Services also lists these plants as extremely toxic and advises that they should never be in a home with young children: Jatropha multifida (coral plant), Lantana camara (yellow sage), Rincinus communis (castor oil plant), taxus specius (yew) and Nerium oleander.
The poison control center website is also a great source of information on what to do IF you suspect poisoning.