View Full Version : dangerous plants?

Ali M
02-09-2012, 09:06 PM
Hi anyone got any wisdom on this one please? I'm aware I have fox gloves in my garden which are known to be pretty dangerous if consumed, but before starting to remove them I came across a list of poisonous plants that includes on the list potato and tomato plants which if consumed could cause 'intense digestive disturbances and in high enough doses, death' !! Other common plants on the list are holly & ivy. My thinking is if half the plants in my garden are potentially poisonous I leave it all looking beautiful and just supervise (as I would anyway) and teach children not to pick or eat anything. Will I be in trouble with Ofsted as in my pre-reg visit we had a discussion and I agreed them might need removing.

Any thoughts?

02-09-2012, 09:21 PM
If you agreed to remove them then Ofsted will probably have a note of that.

If you choose not to remove them then you will need to RA and show how you will keep the children safe.

Miffy xx

02-09-2012, 09:25 PM
At my pre-reg the inspector noted the poisonous plant in my garden and told me to leave it - she said just be watchful, teach the children the dangers, and children have to learn.

That said, now that the plant has died off for the year I'm going to prune it back and move it to the front garden ready for next year. The Ofsted inspector I had was reasonable but the next one might not be.

I suppose the question to ask is, does the plant mean that much to you that you would take the (small?) risk?

02-09-2012, 09:29 PM
I too would say if Ofsted have already brought it to your attention then they will most definately be checking next time they visit to ensure what precautions you have taken , so if you decide not to remove then make sure you do a comprehensive risk assessment but maybe you might like to read this article which I was quite surprised :eek:http://whatscookingamerica.net/Information/Foxglove.htm


02-09-2012, 09:51 PM
Here is a general RA check list for the home:


Here is a list of Plants and some info from The Royal Horticultural Society:


02-09-2012, 11:03 PM
I think you have to proportionate, the lady in the link was allergic to foxgloves - hence the extreme reaction. That can be true of anything - some children are allergic to strawberries, that doesn't mean every childminder should immediately clear their fridges and rip up strawberry plants on the off chance.

As mentioned, the leaves of potato and tomato plants are poisonous - they are from the same family as deadly nightshade, as are peppers and eggplants! The potatoes themselves can also be poisonous if they are green (which happens if they aren't covered over).

Even non poisonous flowers can attract potentially deadly bees!

I think a sensible approach would be things like:

Avoid plants that commonly cause skin reactions in areas children brush past

Cut seed heads off plants that are poisonous or have seeds that could cause choking hazard before they drop seeds in play areas - nasturtium seeds for example are safe to eat (if you aren't allergic) but some are large enough to choke on.

Explain to children about not putting any plants in their mouth without checking at that some can make you sick.

Wash hands after handling plants.

Anyone got any others?

03-09-2012, 06:57 AM
Lots of plants are dangerous if you research. We cannot remove all dangers. What we can do is supervise and educate. Do a thorough RA. I will not tear my garden up. I have been known to temporary block a plant from crawlers but now my mindees are 2yrs and above and they know not to put anything in their mouths.


03-09-2012, 07:29 AM
Just remember it is your home first. I have electric wire to stop my dog escaping from the garden, i told my inspector and she was fine as we turn it off when the children are here and they are taught not to touch the fence. We also have a glass greenhouse, again i have things in place to protect the children. Like others have said as long as you risk asssess and the children are supervised etc... don't worry.

03-09-2012, 07:54 AM
I have 8 acres in my garden and have so many dangerous plants it's amazing. I pointed all these plants and trees out to OFSTED (we had a few laburnum) and told them what I do to make sure they don't eat them I.e teach the children that not all things are safe to eat. I have three under 3 and they all learnt very quickly what they could and couldn't play with in the mud kitchen. I did get rid of the laburnum trees as their seed spread do far and wide I could not garentie a safe part of the garden.

03-09-2012, 07:56 AM
Essentially, everything can be dangerous and almost anything can be made safe enough to live with. That's what risk assessment and risk management are all about. People can be allergic to just about anything in your garden or house: sometimes dangerously so.

Plants, pets, roads and your kitchen are all potentially lethal, but that doesn't mean you have to avoid them all.

Agreed, digitalis (foxglove) can be dangerous on touch alone, but I have some and Ofsted were happy with that. They are at the back of the bed, away from where the children play on the grass. My inspector accepted that I supervise the children outside; I have behavioural boundaries (i.e. don't set foot in the flower beds); and simple rules (such as have already been mentioned, about not putting plants into mouths, handwashing, etc.)

If the OP has actually agreed to remove them (or had it listed as an 'action') then that's probably become a necessity. If not, then it will call for a clrear and robust RA, but it can certainly be managed safely.