The Food Files
Jacqueline Corger, mother of four: "My 2-year-old son was accidentally poisoned when he ate the leaves of a decorative dried eucalyptus plant. His throat swelled shut and he was walking around wide-eyed and drooling. It wasn't until we found the plant knocked over and called Poison Control that we realized what had happened and rushed him to the ER for treatment."
Tip: Nurse practitioner and mother Paige Hastings, MSN, CFNP, of Grassland Family Care Center in Franklin, Tennessee, says, "It's probably best to keep all potted plants out of reach or not have any at all. Many are toxic in large amounts and can make a child very ill in small amounts." Hastings also cautions parents to beware of outdoor berries, which can be dangerous if ingested or shoved up a tiny nose for fun!
Diane Bowen, mother of two: "I didn't think I needed to babyproof until my daughter started crawling. Well at 9 months, she managed to roll herself over to a doorstop spring and pop the rubber cap into her mouth. I can't imagine what could have happened if I hadn't seen her gumming it."
Tip: Hastings says, "Parents should get on their hands and knees and crawl around their home" to explore it from an infant's eye level. She recommends designating a No Baby Allowed area of the house for older kids' smaller toys such as Polly Pockets and Legos.
Deborah Bohn, mother of two: "My 10-month-old daughter actually ate a few of the little decorative rocks at the bottom of our gas fireplace. Poison Control had never heard of that one so I had to get the hearth company to contact the rock manufacturer to determine what the rocks were made of or treated with. Basically, they were just rocks, so we watched for tummy trouble and all was well."
Tip: Besides preventing your own children from snacking on the contents of the fireplace, Hastings says to "Pad sharp hearth corners, remove pokers and other fireplace tools, and remove heavy iron or glass screens."
Cindy Chambers, mother of two: "My mother gave my 2-year-old daughter Laurie a gold necklace with a pendant that spelled out the word 'Jesus.' One minute we were admiring the jewelry and the next minute Jesus was missing. Laurie denied eating it, but it turned up in her dirty diaper three days later!"
Tip: Shiny objects are attractive to children, so hold on to gifts of jewelry until the kids are old enough to take care of them. Hastings says to beware of shiny coins too, so don't leave your spare change on countertops or dressers.