Monday, October 24, 2011

If your child eats bad berries during a hike

Though these baneberries look appetizing, they're
actually poisonous to humans/ Photo courtesy NPS.
Certainly the pleasure of some hikes is tasting the ripe, natural berries found along the trail. Before eating any berries, though, children should ask you if it’s okay to do so. That means you’ll need to familiarize yourself with differing berries to give the right answer. If you don’t know the answer, it’s best to never eat any found on the trail.

That won’t stop a few overly inquisitive kids from sampling a few when you’re not looking, of course.

The symptoms of poisoning from berries differ with each type, but generally nausea, vomiting and diarrhea will result. Blurred vision, drowsiness, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, and an accelerated heart rate also can occur. Shock is a distinct possibility.

If your child eats potentially poisonous berries, treat for shock if necessary and seek medical attention immediately. Do not induce vomiting, as sometimes this may be more harmful than beneficial. Also, try to identify which berries were eaten to help doctors with a diagnosis.

Read more about day hiking with children in the guidebook Hikes with Tykes.