Four Backyard Plant Hazards All Parents Should Be Aware Of

Playing outdoors? Nature is a child’s best friend. In order to have the best play time out in the open, children need to learn to respect nature and get to know it better.

Why not teach your child the names and features of some plants? There are some that children should avoid playing with, so the sooner you tell them about these plants, the better.

Paediatric nurse, Sarah Hunstead from CPR Kids, warns parents of the four most hazardous plants they could have in their own backyard.

Sarah highlights that, “while there’s no need to chop all green matter down, we should be aware of what the most common hazardous plants are and the effects these plants can have on us.”

1. Oleander

The oleander is a small tree with pointy green leaves. The colour of its beautiful flowers can vary from white, pink and apricot. Being such a beautiful flower, it’s attractive to children – and also poisonous.

Sarah warns that, “every part of the oleander plant is poisonous. She goes on explaining, “everything, including the sap, the leaves and the flowers.”

Parents should be careful because their children might be easily mesmerised by the beauty of this flower. “Often what happens is that they’re such pretty flowers,” Sarah says, “that people want to pick them.”

Many people aren’t even aware of how toxic oleander sap can be, so Sarah shares the experience of one of her family members. They were trimming an oleander tree and got some sap on their glove. Unaware of how poisonous oleander sap is, they wiped their eyes while still wearing those gloves. As a result, their pupils were dilated for 48 hours.

Oleander can be extremely poisonous if consumed in large amounts. For example, Sarah shares a case where someone used a twig from an oleander tree to stir in their cup of tea. Shortly enough, they suffered debilitating vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

So, whenever you spot a mesmerising oleander tree in full bloom make sure you and your children admire it from a safe distance.

2. Mushrooms

When it comes to mushrooms, the warning is pretty straight forward. Unless you really know the differences between the so many varieties of mushrooms, Sarah advises- “please don’t eat them!”

Poisonous mushrooms are no joke as they can make you seriously unwell.

3. Angel trumpets

Angel trumpets are also referred to as “Brugmansia”. They are stunning blossomy trees with long trumpet-shaped flowers. Their flower colours range from apricot, white and yellow.

Sarah says, “children, in particular, love picking them because they’re a beautiful bell shape and literally look like a trumpet.”

Why are they dangerous?

If ingested, “the flower has toxic effects on the body as well as being an hallucinogen,” warns Sarah.

Parents, be careful whenever you see an angel trumpet on your daily outdoor explorations. Make sure you keep a safe distance to avoid any potential ingesting accidents.

4. Narcissus bulbs

They also include daffodils and jonquils.

Why are they hazardous for children?

Sarah says they are especially hazardous because, “the bulb looks like an onion, we need to keep them out of children’s reach.”

Narcissus bulbs are toxic when ingested. Parents, make sure you keep them out of your child’s reach as much as possible.

The outdoor comes with its own share of potential hazards, but keeping your child away from nature’s miracles is not a solution. Children need to explore their surroundings in order to learn and develop accordingly.

How can you keep your child safe while giving them enough opportunities for healthy exploration? Keep a close eye on them while they discover the world at their own pace. Once you know the potential hazards in your backyard, you can plan and supervise appropriately.

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Playgroup NSW leads play-based programs and services for NSW families with children birth to school age, offering development, shared experiences, and family support, that results in active citizens and inclusive communities.