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House plants

Watch Little Children Around These Indoor Plants

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When I visit friends or family who have houseplants and young children, they compare me to “Aunt Bonnie” from the Geico “Aunt Infestation” commercial.

In it, a young couple who have just moved into a new house complain about having pests, not ants, but overbearing “aunts.” Like the one who declares that the condiments in your fridge are “Expired! Expired! Expired!”, he would invariably invade room after room of my hosts’ homes exclaiming, “Toxic! Toxic! Toxic!”

I am pointing out houseplants that should be kept out of children’s mouths. And I don’t mind dashing my friends’ hopes of an Instagram-worthy indoor jungle if it means potentially preventing damage.

“We get an average of 33,000 calls a year from people whose children put different plants in their mouths,” said Kaitlyn Brown, chief clinical officer at the United States Poison Centers in Arlington, Virginia. “It is mainly toddlers who are crawling who have problems with houseplants because they explore their environment and put everything in their mouths.”