Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.2 Quality of the Outdoor and Indoor Environment

5.2.9 Prevention and Management of Toxic Substances Prohibition of Poisonous Plants

Poisonous or potentially harmful plants are prohibited in any part of a child care facility that is accessible to children. All plants not known to be nontoxic should be identified and checked by name with the local poison center (1-800-222-1222) to determine safe use.
Plants are important to our health and well-being and are a great lesson in learning to understand and respect our environment. However, some plants can be harmful when eaten or touched (1,2). Plants are among the most common household substances that children ingest. Determining the toxicity of every commercially available household plant is difficult. A more reasonable approach is to keep any unknown plant out of the environment that children use. All outdoor plants and their leaves, fruit, and stems should be considered potentially toxic (1).
Cuttings, trimmings, and leaves from potentially harmful plants must be disposed of safely so children do not have access to them.

For toxic, frequently ingested products and plants, see the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Handbook of Common Poisonings in Children, available at

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
Appendix Y: Non-Poisonous and Poisonous Plants
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. 2011. Handbook of common poisonings in children. 4th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: AAP.
  2. Fiene, R. 2002. 13 indicators of quality child care: Research update. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.