Indoor and outdoor plant safety – Tips from AboutKidsHealth

Some plants can cause illness, skin irritation, allergic reactions or serious poisoning depending on the type of plant and how much is eaten (if at all). Find tips from AboutKidsHealth for preventing poisoning from plants, both outdoors and around the home, and learn what to do if you suspect your child has touched or eaten a poisonous plant.

To protect children from potentially poisonous plants around the home:

  • Make sure to keep all plants, berries, seeds and bulbs out of reach of young children.

  • Keep tags on plants and make sure all caregivers know the names of all the plants around your home.

  • Be careful with any jewellery or toys, such as maracas, that were made outside of Canada, as they may contain poisonous seeds.

To prevent poisoning from outdoor plants:

  • Teach children to stay away from plants and not to eat non-food items when outdoors.

  • Do not suck nectar from flowers or make tea from flowers or leaves.

  • Do not assume a plant is safe to eat just because birds or wildlife eat it.

  • Check your lawn for mushrooms before children go outside to play. Poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms grow side-by-side, and only mushroom experts can tell them apart, so it’s safest to just remove and throw away any mushrooms you see growing near your home.

If you suspect your child has touched a poisonous plant, wash the skin immediately with lots of soap and lukewarm water, and call your local poison information centre. If your child has eaten a poisonous plant and they appear well, look for pieces of the plant in their mouth and remove any pieces you can see. Give them small sips of water and call your poison information centre. Do not try to make them throw up, and do not taste the plant yourself to check if it’s poisonous.

If your child is choking, unconscious or has trouble breathing or swallowing, call 911 immediately.

Find out what information you should have ready before calling your local poison control centre, as well as a list of some poisonous and non-poisonous plants in the AboutKidsHealth article, Plant safety.

AboutKidsHealth is SickKids’ health-education website and features more than 3,500 articles on a range of health topics. For more information on plant safety and other health topics, visit aboutkidshealth.ca.