Poison-proofing Your Home

Vol 2 -Issue 4 Poison-Proofing

Children explore the world by putting things in their mouths. That’s one of the reasons why more than 1 million children under the age of 6 are victims of accidental poisonings every year.

What are poisonous substances?

Some hazardous substances most commonly ingested by children are:

  • cosmetics and baby care products
  • cleaning products, such as detergent, bleach, drain openers
  • pain medicines such as paracetamol
  • prescription drugs
  • cough and cold medicines
  • vitamin supplements, especially iron pills
  • household plants
  • paint and varnish products
  • insect and mosquito sprays, mosquito mats
  • petrol, kerosene oil, acids, etc.

How to poison-proof your home?

  • Conduct a room-by-room inventory of non-food substances. This is to ensure poisons are clearly labeled and locked out of reach of children.
  • Lock up all medicines and harmful substances.
  • Secure all cupboards that contain poisons, even those that seem out of reach. Young children can reach them by climbing.
  • Don’t trust child-resistant containers.
  • No bottle top can be made so secure that a child can’t find some way to get it off.
  • Keep medicines, pesticides, even detergents in their original containers.
  • Never store poisonous or toxic products in containers that were once used for food. A child can mistakenly use them.
  • Never refer to any kind of medicine as candy.
  • Even if you’re trying to get a reluctant child to take cough syrup, don’t treat it as something good to eat. Children learn by imitation, so take your own medicine, when they aren’t watching.

In case your child has swallowed something bad, rush to the nearest emergency center as soon as possible. Don’t wait to confirm, if something happens or not!

Call for help (Karachi)

  • Aga Khan Hospital Stadium Road: 4930051
  • Aga Khan Clifton Medical Services: 9250051
  • Civil Hospital: 9215740-28
  • Edhi Ambulance: 115 / 2310066 / 2310077
  • Jinnah Hospital: 9201300-39
  • NICVD: 9201271-5

What to keep in the medicine cupboard

With a young child around, it’s important to have a well-stocked medicine cabinet or medicine bag, so you can quickly deal with the rashes, colds, and other common ailments that children are prone to, as well as handle the basics of daily care. Here are our must haves:

  • thermometer
  • children’s pain reliever (paracetamol or ibuprofen)
  • calamine lotion for insect bites or rashes
  • alcohol swabs to clean thermometers, tweezers and scissors
  • antibacterial ointment for cuts and scrapes
  • tweezers for taking out splinters and ticks
  • a pair of sharp scissors
  • a pair of safety scissors for clipping little nails
  • child-safe insect repellent
  • pediatrician-approved children’s-strength liquid decongestant
  • nasal aspirator bulb syringe for drawing mucus out of a stuffy nose
  • an assortment of adhesive bandage strips in various sizes and shapes
  • sterilized cotton balls
  • mild liquid soap (antibacterial and deodorant soaps may be too strong for children’s sensitive skin)
  • moisturizing cream
  • a medicine dropper, oral syringe for administering medicines
  • a heating pad
  • a hot-water bottle and ice pack
  • a small flashlight to check ears, nose, throat, and eyes
  • rehydration fluids, such as Pedialyte/ ORS

If your child is allergic to bee stings, peanuts, or shellfish, or if he has some other type of allergy, carry an epinephrine kit with you and keep another one in your first aid kit. (Discuss this with your doctor.)

How to Raise a Reader

Vol 2 -Issue 4 How to Raise a readerNot all of us were raised in a house full of books; many of us never began reading early and constantly. Now that we have children of our own, we sometimes worry, whether they will turn out to be good readers.

The best you can do is pave the way for your child to developing love for language and books. The following are a few tips you can follow to improve your child’s interest in reading.

Let your child see you read

There should be role models, who read in the home. Parents, who read, are likely to have children, who read. We should not make the child feel that reading is exclusively a school activity. By setting aside time to read books and letting your child see you read, you subtly inform your child that reading is important.

Share information from your own reading

Children, who read on their own, are not always aware of the informative purpose of the written word. Adults read primarily for information. Prepare your child by sharing information from your own reading. Encourage children to share information from their own reading.

Read aloud

Reading aloud provides time for parents and children to experience the written word together. It focuses your children’s attention on language, providing vital comprehension skills that your children will use in school and beyond. Read with expression, involvement, active questioning, and eye contact. You may read one line and ask the child to read out the next.

Read the newspaper as a family

If you have little time to read to your family, the newspaper can be a lifesaver. Make comments of your own and ask your child to comment from what he has read in the children’s section. Oral commentary encourages children to read actively, and they can retain and appreciate what they read.

Encourage intra-generational reading

Having children read to children benefits the reader, the listener, and you. It teaches children to read with articulation and expression. Hearing their siblings succeed at reading motivates the younger ones to read themselves.

Talk about family members’ reading choices

If you are reading something, talk about it. It does not matter, if your children are too young to read it themselves. It is enough for them to know you enjoy reading, it interests you, and you care enough to share your interests with them.

Act out favorite scenes as a family

Break off after an action packed scene and try on the roles yourselves. Choose a simple scene, assign roles, brainstorm to recall what happened first, second and third in the scene, act it out with movement and dialogue, following with discussion.

Recommend beloved books

Share your enthusiasm for a book with your child. Don’t be disappointed, if your child does not share your passion for a particular author or book. Just the implication that you, also, once were a child with a child’s abilities and interests may open new avenues of communication between you and your child.

Keep reading materials in your home

When reading at home, accessibility is important. Children should not take reading as something that only occurs at school. If you have books at home, you will never have trouble finding a story to read at bedtime. Establish a reference library for school reports.

Take books with you, wherever you go

Children hate to wait (e.g. when the car breaks down). Prepare yourself for emergencies with a variety of distractions. Besides toys and games, books should be a part of your carry on bag. Before you leave the house, have your child select his favorite book or magazine to take.

Invent reading related jobs

You probably have jobs around the house that you don’t feel like doing or have not had the time to do. Children can be lured into taking the chores involving reading. If your telephone directory is worn out, have your child read out the names and phone numbers and write them down in a new book.

Subscribe to children’s magazines

Pride of ownership can make the most unwilling reader eager to turn pages and read. Receiving a magazine in the mail addressed to him or her stimulates a child of any age to want to read. Books are rewards we want them to value. Reward minor accomplishments with a puzzle book, while more significant deeds might merit a picture book.

Introduce your child to series books and books on tape

Once children locate a series they like, they may disappear entirely, only emerging at the end to cry: “Where’s the next one?”

Books on tape exist for children as well as adults. A variety of children’s favorites are available in packages as ‘read alongs.’ The child follows the text as read on the tape.

Make library visits a family routine

The library provides a seemingly limitless resource of reading material, making sure we find something suited to our age and proficiency. Libraries provide a habit of reading that a family can share. At times, your budget may not allow buying books; that is where the library comes in.

Showing your children that you enjoy reading sets an example for them to emulate. Showing that reading is a chore, it is only related to school work, or it is something that must be done to please you, you will be robbing the child the experience of its innate pleasure. You will wind up with children too tense to relax into reading, children, who will never love to read.

How to teach respect for books

  • Remind children to handle books with clean hands.
  • Discourage tearing, folding down pages or coloring and writing in books, especially in library books.
  • Help children design bookmarks and propose they use them, rather than straining bindings by placing open books face down.
  • Work together to repair damaged pages and bindings.

Glory for the Green Thumb!

Vol 2 -Issue 4 Glory for the Green thumbA reader of Hiba Magazine advises us to get our hands dirty and reap rewards in this world and the hereafter

Anas (rta) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “When a Muslim plants a seedling, or cultivates crops and then the birds animals or men eat from it, then it will be an act of charity for him.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Jabir (rta) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “There is no Muslim except who plants a seedling then, if it is eaten from it, it will be an act of charity for him, and also what is stolen from it is an act of charity for him, and what the beasts eat will be an act of charity for him, and what the birds eat from it will be an act of charity for him. None of it is a loss for him, and all of it will be a Sadaqah (on the Day of Resurrection).” (Muslim)

Anas (rta) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “If the last hour comes and you have a date palm seedling in your hand, and you are able to plant it just before that, then do so.” (Ahmed)

Sheikh Nasir ud-Deen Al-Albani said: “These noble Ahadeeth clearly encourage one to cultivate, in particular the last Hadeeth. For it contains a strong incentive to seize an opportunity in the last period of one’s life in the path of cultivating, so that people can benefit after ones death. The reward will continue, and it will be recorded as an act of charity until the last day.”

It is reported about the companions that they were keen to act upon this Sunnah, encouraging each other to build one’s deeds for the future, even if it was by planting one seed. Do not waste this opportunity, and do not think that is unbeneficial to grow and water your plant at the end of your life.

Ibn Jareer related that Umarah bin Khuzaimah bin Thabit (rta) said: “I heard Umar bin Al-Khattab (rta) say to my father: `What prevents you from cultivating your land?’ My father said to him: `I am an old man and I may die tomorrow.’ Umar (rta) said to him: `I think you should cultivate it.’ Then I saw Umar bin Al-Khatab (rta) planting with his hands along with my father.”

And it is reported that Amr ibin Al-Aas (rta) had a huge farm near Ta’if, where he used to grow grapes. It had thousands of wooden posts, and each one cost one Dirham.

Islam encourages the cultivating and farming of the earth. Those, who enjoy gardening and planting trees, go for it! It has countless merits to its effect. It helps clear out air pollution and invites rain. It provides shade, fruits, and flowers. It adds to the beauty of the cities. It gives everyone a chance to appreciate the wonders of nature. It provides animals with habitats and prevents their extinction.

Parents with green thumbs have a deep impact on their children, because they act as positive role models. It sets a chivalrous example for children to respect other life forms, and contribute to improving the environment they live in. When you are gone from this world and lying in your grave, you will continue to reap the benefits from what you have planted, Insha’Allah.

The colour green is said to be sight for sore eyes. People working on their computers are recommended by researchers to place a plant nearby, so that after staring at the monitor for hours, they can refresh their vision by glancing at the plant at intervals.

Preventing Wastage at Home

Vol 2 -Issue 4 Preventing Wastage at Home


  • Don’t waste electricity by leaving unnecessary lights and other electrical appliances on.
  • Try to utilize daylight as much as possible during the daytime and do not keep curtains closed, so that you have to switch on lights.
  • In summer nights, if you have to keep the air conditioner running, try to sleep in one room to cut down on electricity consumption.
  • If you plan to buy an air conditioner for the next summer, go for split AC because it consumes less electricity as compared to its counterparts, i.e., window AC.
  • Use energy saver bulbs to reduce energy consumption.
  • When using the e-mail, stop junk mail and faxes through the mailing preference service to save electricity, paper and your time.
  • Cancel delivery of unwanted newspapers, donate old magazines to libraries and doctor’s waiting rooms.
  • Use your own cloth shopping bags, when visiting the supermarket, Sunday Bazar, etc.
  • Grow your own vegetables. Many varieties can be grown in small gardens.
  • Save up washing water for your garden or plant pots.
  • Don’t throw away food. Feed to a poor. Crumbs and leftovers can also be given to pets or animals.



  • Reuse scrap paper for writing notes, etc.
  • Reuse envelopes – stick labels over the address.
  • Donate old computer and audio-visual equipment to community groups or schools.
  • Buy rechargeable items instead of disposable ones e.g. batteries and cameras.
  • Take old clothes and books to charity shops or donate them to the poor.
  • Reuse aluminum foil and cling film to cover food.


  • Some retailers take back old electrical items, when delivering a new one.
  • Local charity shops, schools, and community groups can sometimes use unwanted furniture.
  • Set your printer to print paper double sided.
  • Old greeting cards or paper cartons of tea, biscuits, etc., can be cut up in thin strips to light stove instead of using match sticks for each burner.
  • Give away old newspapers to the Raddi Wala for recycling.
  • Reuse fabric cuttings left over from stitched materials for stuffing cushions and pillows.

Some organizations in Karachi that accept donated household items for re-use:

Alamgir Trust

Edhi Trust