The Manitoba Poison Centre receives many calls about exposures to plants. Often, it is children who have eaten or touched a plant that may be poisonous. Plants and berries are attractive to young children who like to put things in their mouths. Make sure you know the names of plants that grow inside and outside of your home. To help you keep your children safe follow our plant safety information.
When you call the Manitoba Poison Centre about a potential plant poisoning, be prepared to give the following information:
- Any symptoms of illness your child displays.
- The name of the plant, if you know it. The Specialists in Poison Information at the Centre cannot identify plants over the phone.
- How much and what parts of the plant were eaten or touched.
- How recently the child ate or touched the plant.
Prevent Plant Poisonings
- Know the names of all the plants and trees inside and outside your home.
- Leave the name tags on your household plants. If you don’t know the names, an expert from a plant nursery may be able to help identify the plant for you.
- Keep all plants, berries, seeds, and bulbs out of reach of young children.
- Teach your child to ask before they put anything in their mouth.
- Do not assume that a plant is safe for people just because birds and wildlife eat it.
- Do not suck nectar from flowers or make tea from flowers or leaves.
- Keep cactus plants away from young children. They can cause skin irritations.
All plants are choking hazards, including non-toxic plants. If a child has swallowed a piece of a leaf, make sure that they are not coughing, choking or having difficulty breathing. Also, be aware that jewelry, crafts and maracas purchased outside of Canada may contain poisonous seeds. It is important for you to know what types of plants are growing inside and outside your home. Speak with someone at your local garden centre to help you identify plants that you do not know.