Posted: 25/10/2012 at 14:33
Thanks for your comments - it does seem to be a parenting rather than gardening question for some and yes she is a supervised toddler and she has been prevented from eating them - of course... Nevertheless, the risk of someone missing her grabbing one and getting it in her mouth is always there and if they are poisonous and eatable then I was going to remove them... Cotoneaster seems to cover a fairly large number of plants but they do seem poisonous so I will remove them - thanks for your help!
Cotoneaster / Cotoneaster
Small dark green elliptical shaped leaves with bright red spherical berries.
This plant contains cyanogenic glycosides and all plant parts are potentially poisonous. When children accidentally swallow small numbers of berries, minor symptoms may develop including nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, and diarrhoea. Symptoms may be delayed for a few hours. This plant may also cause skin irritation, itching, and dermatitis. Serious poisoning is rare.
If berries are swallowed, give a glass of milk or water to drink. Wash any exposed skin with water. Always seek medical advice if symptoms develop.
I understand that the Yew tree berry's seed is poisonous rather than the fruit and many birds eat them without cracking the seed... so they can still be used to spread the plant.