10 Toxic Plants That Could Put Your Child in Danger (PHOTOS)

Adriana Velez | Jul 11, 2014 Home & Garden

daphne toxicA garden is an amazing wonderland for children. There's so much to learn from plants, from smelling, touching, growing, and even tasting them. But not all plants are friendly to kids. Especially if you have a curious baby or toddler exploring your yard, you'll want to be extra watchful of them when they're near plants that are poisonous. 

Keep in mind, nature has its own defense mechanism to help protect your kids. Babies and children are extra sensitive to bitter tastes and will usually spit out toxic plants they taste, says landscaper Lisa Cangialosi of When In Bloom

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A much more dangerous toxic threat to kids are the chemicals you use to treat your garden in the form of pesticides and fertilizers, according to Cangialosi. She says parents should avoid treating their lawns and gardens with those, as they pose a much bigger risk than many people realize. And houseplants tend to be more toxic than garden plants, Cangialosi says, so keep them far out of reach of children -- and do some research on whether the kind you have at home could be dangerous. Better Homes and Gardens' list of poisonous house plants is a good start.

As for your outdoor plants, fence off what you can in your garden and just keep a close eye on your babies and toddlers, she advises.

Parents should be extra careful of these 10 common garden plants that could be fatal to kids if they're ingested, according to the Texas State Department of Health and the National Safety Council.

deadly oleander plant

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  • Poisonous Plants: Oleander


    The leaves and branches of Oleander can cause upset stomach at the least. At worst they can cause heart failure and death. Two toddlers died from eating Oleander in 2000, but officials said the case was extremely rare. That said, if your child puts the plant in their mouth, remove it immediately and call your doctor. Upset stomach, blurred vision, irregular heart rate, dizziness, and drowsiness are all symptoms of Oleander poisoning.

  • Poisonous Plants: Elephant Ear


    Also known as Dieffenbachia or Dumb Cane, any part of Elephant Ear can cause burning, itching, and swelling of the tongue. If tongue swells to the point of blocking your child's throat she could die. If you suspect your child has eaten Elephant Ear, call the National Poison Control Center ( (1-800-222-1222). Wipe out your child's mouth with a cold, wet cloth and wash off any sap around their face or in their eyes. Do not make your child vomit unless instructed by poison control or a doctor.

  • Poisonous Plants: Castor Beans


    Because it contains the poison ricin a single castor bean can be fatal to an adult. Definitely keep these away from babies and children. If your child swallows a castor bean without chewing it they may be all right -- it's when the skin is broken that it releases ricin. Regardless, if your child has any contact with a castor bean seem medical attention immediately. 

  • Poisonous Plants: Delphinium


    Delphinium, or Larkspur can cause upset stomach if eaten. Ingesting the plant or seeds can even lead to death. If your child puts Larkspur in their mouth, remove it immediately, do not force them to throw up, and call poison control.

  • Poisonous Plants: Foxglove


    How many of us grew up playing with Foxglove blossoms? Well, turns out the leaves can cause upset stomach and even death. If your child eats Foxglove call poison control or a doctor immediately. Do not make your child throw up.

  • Poisonous Plants: Rhubarb


    Eating rhubarb stalks is fine -- we all know that. But the leaves are highly toxic. If your child touches rhubarb leaves flush their skin with lots of water. If they eat the leaves call poison control immediately and do not force them to vomit.

  • Poisonous Plants: Daphne


    Daphne has a beautiful blossom, but the berries can be fatal. If your child touches Daphne sap, immediately wash with soap and lots of water. If your child eats a berry, rinse their mouth out with lots of water and seek medical attention.

  • Poisonous Plants: Azalea, Laurel, Rhododendrons


    All parts of these gorgeous flowering shrubs can be fatal if ingested, I'm sorry to say. If your child eats this plant seek medical attention immediately.

  • Poisonous Plants: Yew


    Yew leaves are highly toxic (as are the berries, though less so). The worst part is that you don't get warning symptoms before death strikes. If your child eats any part of a Yew call poison control immediately and do not make them vomit.

  • Poisonous Plants: Mistletoe


    So much for kissing under the mistletoe! The berries can kill adults and children. If your child eats Mistletoe seek medical attention immediately and do not make them throw up.