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Choosing Plants Wisely When You Have Children or Pets Blog Post

Choosing Plants Wisely When You Have Children or Pets

The Green Dilemma: 

Plants are nature's beautiful gifts that can transform any space into a lush oasis of tranquility. However, as much as we adore the greenery and the benefits it brings to our lives, it's crucial to exercise caution when selecting plants, especially if you have children or pets at home. While plants can be visually appealing and even provide health benefits, some can be hazardous if ingested or touched by curious little hands or paws. Let's delve into the importance of making informed choices when it comes to selecting plants for your home or garden to ensure the safety and well-being of your loved ones.

Toxicity Matters

Grey cat that knocked over a plant which spilled to the floor

One of the primary reasons to be cautious when choosing plants with children or pets in the vicinity is the potential toxicity of certain plant species. Many common houseplants and garden plants contain compounds that can be harmful when ingested. For example, plants like philodendron, peace lily, and oleander contain toxic substances that can lead to digestive issues, skin irritations, or even more severe health problems if consumed by children or pets.

Toddler watering flower pots on a floor

Children, in particular, are naturally curious and may explore their surroundings by putting objects into their mouths. Similarly, pets, especially puppies and kittens, have a habit of chewing on things they find interesting. This makes it crucial to choose non-toxic or low-toxicity plants to minimize the risk of accidental ingestion.


Allergies and Skin Irritations

Aside from ingesting plants, contact with certain species can also lead to skin irritations or allergies. Children, who often have sensitive skin, are more susceptible to rashes or itching caused by contact with plants like poison ivy or poison oak. Even non-poisonous plants can cause skin irritations if their sap or leaves come into contact with the skin. Pets, too, can develop skin issues if they rub against or chew on certain plants.

To avoid these issues, it's essential to research plants thoroughly before bringing them into your home or garden. Opt for plant species that are known to be non-irritating to both human skin and pets.

Choking Hazards

Another aspect of plant safety to consider is the size and shape of plant parts. Some plants produce small berries, seeds, or flowers that can be choking hazards, particularly for young children and small pets. These small objects can be tempting to put in their mouths or swallow accidentally.

To minimize the risk, choose plants with larger, non-toxic, and non-choking hazard plant parts. Additionally, be vigilant about regularly inspecting your garden and indoor plants to ensure no small objects are accessible to children or pets.

Sharp Edges and Thorns

Picture of three small cacti


Plants with sharp edges or thorns can pose a significant danger to children and pets who may inadvertently come into contact with them. For instance, cacti and succulents often have sharp spines that can cause injuries if touched or played with. Certain garden plants, such as roses, also have thorns that can be hazardous.

If you decide to include plants with sharp edges or thorns in your home or garden, place them out of reach of children and pets, or create physical barriers to prevent contact. Always teach your children about plant safety and the importance of not touching or playing with such plants.

Safe Alternatives

Fortunately, there are numerous safe and child/pet-friendly plant options available for those who want to enjoy the benefits of greenery without the worry of potential hazards. Some popular choices include spider plants, Boston ferns, and pet-safe herbs like catnip and cat grass for feline friends. These plants not only add beauty to your space but also provide a safe environment for everyone.

Educating Your Family

Perhaps the most crucial aspect of ensuring plant safety when you have children or pets is education. Teach your children and family members about the importance of plant safety and the potential dangers certain plants can pose. Make sure they understand not to ingest or touch plants without your guidance. Encourage them to ask questions if they are unsure about a particular plant's safety.

Incorporating plants into your home or garden can bring numerous benefits, from improved air quality to enhanced aesthetics and stress reduction. However, when you have children or pets, it's essential to exercise caution and choose your plants wisely. Toxicity, allergies, choking hazards, sharp edges, and thorns are all factors to consider when selecting greenery for your living spaces. By making informed choices and educating your family, you can create a safe and beautiful environment that everyone can enjoy. So, take the time to research and choose your plants carefully, ensuring the well-being of your loved ones in the process.

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