Backyards are not inherently dangerous places to be. However there are a few backyard plants that are hazardous that families should be aware of.
Paediatric nurse Sarah Hunstead runs CPR Kids. Sarah says, “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”.
Sarah recently ran through four of the most common hazardous plants:
Listen to Sarah’s interview on Kinderling Conversation:
A small tree with pointy green leaves, oleander has pretty flowers that range from white, pink and apricot in colour. “Every part of the oleander plant, Nerium, is poisonous. Everything – including the sap, the leaves and the flowers,” says Sarah. “Often what happens is that they’re such pretty flowers, people want to pick them.”
Many people are unaware that oleander sap is very potent and toxic. Sarah gives an example of when a family member was trimming an oleander tree and got some sap on her glove. She then wiped her eye and as a result, her pupils remained dilated for 48 hours.
If large enough amounts of oleander are consumed it can be incredibly poisonous.
An example of this was someone used a twig from an oleander tree to stir their cup of tea. For 48 hours afterwards, this person suffered debilitating vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
The message here is simple; unless you really know mushrooms, Sarah says “please don’t eat them!” You can get really sick.
Also known as ‘Brugmansia’, these stunning trees have long flowers shaped exactly like a trumpet. These flowers range in colour from apricot, white and yellow.
“Kids in particular love picking them be because they’re a beautiful bell shape and literally look like a trumpet ” says Sarah. No one should eat them because, “the flower has toxic effects on the body as well as being an hallucinogen too.”
These include daffodils and jonquils. Sarah says that as “the bulb looks like an onion, we need to keep them out of reach of children.” The bulbs are toxic, so parents need to ensure they aren’t ingested in any way!
Sarah recommends that if anyone has ingested any of these or any unknown plant, they should call the Poisons Information line immediately on 13 11 26.
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