Springtime and summertime are full of brightly colored trees and plants. Berries and mushrooms that spring up after a rain are naturally intriguing to children. And while it’s fun and okay to look and study, do moms and dads really know which berries and mushrooms are okay to touch?
What do poisonous mushrooms and berries look like?
According to mycologist David Fischer, while there are thousands and thousands of wild mushroom species in North America, only 250 are “significantly poisonous” mushrooms which fall under eight different categories, depending on the particular toxin and symptoms and syndromes that may result from eating them.
You can read a complete detailed list of mushrooms here.
To play it safe, it is best to not eat any mushrooms that appear in your path or yard.
Berries and plants also present a challenge in terms of identifying which are poisonous and which are not. Like mushrooms, berries can appear bright and colorful and enticing.
Here are two sites that can help you identify what’s in your backyard or vacation spot, or help you plan a child- and pet-friendly garden:
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Poison Control Center: Berries and Seeds
What to do if your child eats a poisonous berry or mushroom?
Sometimes the warning, “It’ll make your tummy sick,” isn’t enough to derail a child’s curiosity, especially if the berries or mushrooms are easily within reach. Sometimes temptation is much too hard to resist.
Symptoms of mushroom poisoning include:
· Delayed onset of symptoms, sometimes as long as 12 hours or more
· Symptoms may appear to go away, but then return
· Vomiting, sometimes acute
· Stomach cramps, sometimes acute
· Diarrhea, sometimes with blood