July 07, 2008 —

Earlier this spring, I visited my family in Kansas City, Missouri. My mother lives there, so my daughter and I traveled to visit her for spring break. My two nephews also joined us so they could spend time with us.

The kids love to play in my mom's house. Especially in the bathroom. For the kids, it's wonderful for them to have such a large room, one for them that is filled with possibility and imagination. They had make-believe meetings and went through all of the dresser drawers—the types of things that kids love to explore.

On the second day of my vacation, I was in the bathroom and I saw one of the open drawers filled with many bottles (prescription and over-the-counter, including cough medicine). I immediately recognized the problem. I was most concerned because my mother didn't keep her medicine in the medicine cabinet above the sink. I felt that I needed to do something immediately.

I called the children in to the bathroom and talked with them about how we use these medicines to make us feel better when we are sick and that only an adult should give medicines to them. I talked to them about the difference between drugs you get on the street and the medicines we use for our health. Even though they are young, they were very attentive and even asked questions.

After talking with the kids, I talked to my mom about the reasons to safeguard medicines. Even though she may feel like her grandkids know better, I wanted to remind her that it is an important task for their safety and hers. Keeping medicine in a safe place, knowing how much she has, and constantly checking her inventory are important steps in protecting her many grandchildren who visit.

The Five Moms campaign has been a blessing to me and other parents who I have talked with. Learning that cough medicine is being abused by teens is still shocking parents—and grandparents, like my mom—all over the country. Remember to keep spreading the word about abuse. You may have already told your friends about our campaign, but make sure you tell your parents, so they are prepared when the grandkids come to visit.

Safety in your home starts with the simple things you can do. Here at Fivemoms.com, you will find many resources and tips on safeguarding the medicines in your home and having conversations with your children. That way, under your roof and out with their friends, you know your children will be safe.