I don’t keep plants in my house because I have a very curious cat. In fact, I have had at least one cat throughout my whole life, even as a child, and my family quickly learned the dangers of keeping a birthday bouquet on the kitchen table. Recently, my sweet friend brought over flowers for me, and I had to explain why I was putting them all the way up on the fridge. As we discussed the dangers of plants around cats, I wondered about whether or not plants are okay around babies. In some basic ways, cats and babies are very similar. They are extremely curious, and they will immediately eat anything they find that seems out of the ordinary. I did research about plants and babies to find out which are poisonous, and research shows that few plants are actually fatal.

Believe it or not, most plants are safe for babies, even if they take a few bites. The toxic ones might cause a stomach ache, but few are actually dangerous. In fact, there’s a good chance none of the plants in your yard or home could kill your baby even if he ate enough until he threw up. However, while you’re baby proofing your home, look up each plant in your yard to double check. If you’re not sure what kinds of plants are growing outside, you can actually bring a clipping to your local garden center or nursery to identify it. You can also ask your baby’s pediatrician about certain plants.

The best defense against plant poisoning is constantly supervising your baby. Until he or she is old enough to understand the difference between food and landscaping, there is no telling which plants will end up making their way through the digestive system. If you have a plant indoors that’s dropping leaves onto the floor, assume your baby will pick the leaves up as a snack. When it’s playtime in the yard, never let your baby out of your sight long enough to pick the leaves off of the garden plants.

If you think your baby has swallowed a poisonous leaf, call the poison control center immediately. Luckily, few plants will cause anything more than a bellyache. Assuming you are watching your baby diligently and never leaving him or her unsupervised, there will be little chance for him or her to make a poisonous salad in the backyard.

Source: Ruth Lawrence: Poisonous Plants: When They Are a Threat to Children. Pediatrics in Review Volume 18 Issue 5 pp. 162-168 May 1997

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