Does the arrival of your baby mean you have to forego decorating your home with beautiful accent plants? The good news is: not necessarily. Simply baby proof your plants and you can have it all — a stunning home AND a happy toddler. Today I’ll teach you how to child proof plants in your home — the right way.
How to Baby Proof Plants
I know all too well how inquisitive growing babies can be. They simply love to explore. I’ve had the privilege of watching my growing toddler go through the same process. Babies are keen to try out their developing sense of taste. They’ll literally try to touch and taste anything — and everything — they can get their hands on. And your dog bowl, cabinets, wine racks or even plants aren’t exempt from this experiment. You want to make sure you don’t leave out your plants when baby proofing your home.
Why Baby Proofing Plants is Important
Watching your baby evolve can be one of the most fulfilling experiences for any parent. Before you know it, your child is no longer stuck in a swaddle but keen to explore all corners of your home. And you should let them! Because that’s how babies develop their cognitive function. You just need to make sure the process takes place in a safe environment. The whole point of implementing a baby proofing exercise is to make your home safe and child friendly when your little one is exploring. Your kid ingesting toxic plants certainly falls under the high-risk category in this regard. Allergic reactions, poisoning, and even death can result if your child happens to eat the wrong plant. Ideally, you’d want to keep your eyes on your little one 24/7, but this is simply unrealistic. The best you can do is to remove any items that might cause your baby harm.
Plants to Keep Out of the House When Baby Arrives
I’ll admit that plants make your home look attractive and homely. While you can afford to keep around a few plants, there are certain plants you should rather get rid of as soon as your baby arrives. It’s better to be safe than sorry. I’ve taken the liberty to highlight a few of them below.
- Philodendron: These plants are very easy to care for which is why they are common in most homes. But upon ingesting them they can cause skin irritation, burning, and swelling.
- Oleander: This beautiful shrub is one of the most poisonous plants you can find around the house. When eaten, it causes a slow heartbeat, low blood pressure, and even death.
- English Ivy: The pointed leaves on this plant make it look unique and downright pretty. However, it’s extremely toxic when ingested. Vomiting, lethargy, and throat swelling are just a few symptoms that can occur if this plant finds its way in your baby’s mouth.
- Cyclamen: It’s hard to believe that this brightly colored attractive plant can cause untold misery for your little one when consumed. Bouts of diarrhea and vomiting may result. And as you’re probably aware, excessive vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration which is very dangerous in babies.
- Caladium: This is yet another attractive plant that’s characterized by inviting bright colors. You know how kids are drawn to all things bright and beautiful. Ingesting this plant can lead to swelling, eye irritation, and diarrhea.
- Peace Lilies: Peace lilies are undoubtedly a common feature in most households because of their stunning white color and low maintenance requirements. But despite the stunning aesthetics, they are pretty toxic.
- Devil’s Ivy: This leafy plant is also common in many homes. When ingested it can also cause swelling and vomiting.
Baby Safe Plants
Now that you know what to keep out of your house, here’s a short list of plants you should bring into your home. Not only are these plants baby safe, but they’re also thought to be beneficial.
- Boston Fern: The Boston fern looks beautiful and has impressive air-filtering properties.
- Spider plant: Despite its scary name, the spider plant is one of the safest plants around. It is exceptionally easy to care for, has air purification properties, and is also safe for pets.
- African Violets: African violets are bright and beautiful! On top of that, their flowers are edible so if your little one accidentally munches on a leaf or two you have no need to be concerned.
- Blue Echeveria: These low maintenance succulent plants are baby safe and are thought to purify your home’s air, improve its humidity levels AND increase oxygen production.
How to Baby Proof Your Plants
Now let’s move on to practical ways on how you can effectively baby proof the plants in your home. You don’t need to throw all your plants out—save for the ones I’ve just listed. Try out the following:
- Keep your plants off the ground. That’s probably the number one rule of baby proofing your home if it has plants. Just bear in mind that childproofing your home is an on-going process. When your baby is still crawling, you can get away with placing these plants on an elevated surface. But once they are now toddlers, the dynamics are a little different. It’s easy for your child to climb on a chair and reach the plant. In this case, discarding it entirely would probably be best.
- You can cover the pot plant with chicken wire or screen. In this case, the plant and soil still get enough air and water, but your little one’s fingers are kept out.
- Move the plant to a room where your little one can’t access it like your study or bedroom. You’ll just have to be extra vigilant and make sure the doors to those rooms are always locked.
- Opt for kid-friendly plants that aren’t toxic. Since you’re likely to have your hands full with your baby, it’s a good idea to pick plants that can withstand considerable neglect. Christmas cactus, Burro’s tail, and fern are excellent examples of kid-friendly plants.
- Baby proof your flower pots. Aside from ingesting plants, babies love to dig their hands into the flower pots and eat the soil. Consider building a protective structure for your flower pot and cover it with a mesh screen like in the video below.
Is it safe to put plants in the nursery?
As long as your child is still very young and hasn’t reached the exploring stage, I don’t see why not. Just make sure you rather opt for kid-friendly plants.
How can I baby proof a Christmas tree?
The arrival of your baby doesn’t have to dampen the Christmas cheer. You can still go ahead and buy a Christmas tree. Just be sure it’s out of the way so your baby isn’t tempted to play with it, use shatterproof ornaments and be sure to place them high up the tree. Or you could buy a fake Christmas tree since it’s softer and doesn’t lose its needles. It’s better than nothing, right?
As a new parent, you have a decision to make: do you discard your plants as soon as your baby arrives or take some measures to keep them out of your baby’s way? I believe this is entirely up to you. If you feel your home can’t do without some bright and beautiful plants at least make sure you purchase non-toxic options. And even if they are non-toxic, try out the tips listed here to create a safe and happy baby-friendly environment. Your little one’s safety comes first — ALWAYS.