Pothos, also known as devil’s ivy, is a popular houseplant known for its easy care and air-purifying qualities. However, many new parents wonder if this plant is safe for their babies. In this article, we will explore the potential risks and benefits of having pothos in a home with infants.
Is Pothos Poisonous to Babies?
Toxic Components in Pothos
Pothos plants are known to be toxic for babies, as they contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals within their leaves and stems. These crystals are similar to shards of glass, causing significant damage to soft tissues when ingested. While the toxicity is not typically fatal in humans, it can still be dangerous for babies.
Signs and Symptoms of Poisoning
If a baby consumes any part of a pothos plant, they may experience various symptoms. These can include:
- Irritation in the mouth and throat
It is essential to keep pothos plants out of reach of babies and contact a medical professional immediately if a child is suspected of ingesting any part of the plant. Proper steps should be taken to ensure the safety of children around pothos plants, including placing the plants in areas inaccessible to young children and educating family members about the potential risks.
How to Prevent Exposure
Safe Plant Placement
One crucial factor in preventing exposure to potentially poisonous plants like pothos is placing them in safe locations within the household. Pothos plants should be placed where children and pets cannot reach them, such as on a high bookshelf, dresser, or in a room where they aren’t allowed (HappySprout).
Another essential aspect of ensuring your child’s safety from hazardous plants like pothos is employing effective childproofing techniques. This includes:
- Keeping all potentially toxic plants, including pothos, out of reach of children and pets.
- Wearing protective gloves when handling pothos plants to protect yourself from harmful calcium oxalate crystals (Nature of Home).
- Being cautious not to touch your face, especially your eyes, while handling pothos plants.
- Storing all medications, herbals, vitamins, and homeopathic remedies in childproof cabinets or medicine cabinets that young children cannot access (Babylist).
By taking these precautionary measures, you can minimize the risk of your child being inadvertently exposed to the toxic properties of pothos plants.
What to Do in Case of Ingestion
First Aid Measures
If a baby ingests any part of a pothos plant, it’s important to act quickly. First, gently wipe out the residue of the plant from the baby’s mouth using a clean cloth or tissue. Next, offer a cool drink or snack, such as:
- A popsicle
These can help soothe the baby’s mouth and minimize discomfort from irritation (source).
When to Seek Medical Attention
While pothos plants are not typically fatal in humans, their toxic effects can be more severe in babies (source). It’s essential to watch for any signs indicating that medical attention is necessary. If the baby experiences any of the following, go to the nearest emergency department immediately:
- Swelling that prevents taking anything by mouth
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of consciousness
It is best to contact your medical doctor or the poison control center for advice on what to do in these situations.
Safe Alternatives to Pothos
If you’re looking for some pet-friendly alternatives to the toxic pothos plant, consider adding the following plants to your home:
- Peperomia: This plant is a great alternative to pothos, as it also has a crawling and trailing growth habit. They come in various leaf shapes and colors, making them an attractive choice for any space. Peperomia plants are non-toxic, making them safe for households with babies, kids, and pets (source).
- Spider Plant: Spider plants are not only easy to grow but also safe for children and pets. They can thrive in various conditions and produce small, white flowers and spiderettes, which make them visually appealing. Spider plants effectively purify the air, removing pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene.
- Boston Fern: Boston ferns are lush, green plants that help increase humidity levels in a room, making them a perfect choice for those with dry skin or respiratory issues. These plants require regular watering and thrive in bright, indirect light. Moreover, they are non-toxic to kids and pets.
- Maranta (Prayer Plant): Maranta, also known as the prayer plant, gets its name from the way its leaves fold together in the evening, resembling hands in prayer. This plant enjoys a humid environment and can improve the air quality in your home. Additionally, it is non-toxic, adding a safe and unique touch to any interior.
In summary, while pothos plants are known to be toxic, especially for babies, many other houseplants can provide a safer, non-toxic environment for your family. By choosing alternatives like peperomia, spider plants, Boston ferns, and marantas, you can create a beautiful and secure indoor space without worry.
My name is Daniel Elrod, and I have been houseplant love ever since I was 17. I love how much joy they bring to any room in the home. I’ve always been amazed at how a few pots of flowing leaves can turn a drab and sterile office into an inviting place where people love to work at.