BROOK PARK, OH (WOIO) - Parents set out to learn how a simple search of their teenager's bedroom could turn up some hidden dangers in plain sight with a "Snoop and Search" workshop Thursday night in Brook Park.
Police officers started the workshop at Ford Intermediate School by letting parents search an exhibit designed to look just like a teen's room.
They had 30 minutes to try to find items that could pose a danger to their children.
The mock bedroom contained more than 150 items that could point out risky and dangerous behaviors.
Lisa Baker, a dispatcher with Bath Police, showed us some of the items that can be used to fool parents.
"Slide that off and it's an actual cover," Baker said as she took what appeared to be a soda can and slid a cover off of it, revealing a beer can underneath.
Next, she held up a hairspray container.
"Unscrew the bottom and you'll get a hold of their pills," she said.
Even water bottles are not always as innocent as they seem.
"You pull the top off and it's an actual safe," Baker said, holding up what looked like a half-full bottle of water.
The examples were endless.
Tampon wrappers can be used to store booze tubes.
A lipstick case can be a "one-hitter" for smoking marijuana.
A bottle of hand sanitizer can become dangerous if kids decide to drink it for its alcohol content.
"It's not obvious. Because I grew up in the 80s and I thought I knew everything. After the first presentation, we had the display set up and I was in shock," Baker said.
Most parents felt the same.
"The stuff that kids are putting alcohol in to hide it and conceal it, that's just crazy to me, I would've never thought of that," said Jim Cook, a father of two middle school children.
"If only they would take that complexity and put it into their school work," said one mom.
Bath and Copley Police have now shocked and educated parents at nearly 130 "Hidden in Plain Sight" presentations like this.
Their message is simple: snoop on your kids.
"Be their friend but you gotta be mom and dad first. Know what they're doing all the time," Baker said.
Police say you can't just walk around their bedrooms and expect to find things like this. You need to pick things up and examine them closer.
Even a working mouse for a computer turned out to have a hidden compartment.
If you slide the cover of it off, it's a scale for drugs.
Police say you should also check clothing lying on the floor. What looks like a pair of used underwear can have another purpose. It's called the "brief safe."
"You can hide your drugs, I say you can hide your goods!" said Baker, pointing out a secret compartment built inside of men's underwear.
Even parents who thought they knew all of the tricks were impressed.
"Now I realize there's some things out there I had no clue about and I need to educate myself, we all do," Cook said.
Police say most teens are buying these items online or in smoke shops.
You'll never look at your child's bedroom the same, and police suggest checking on more than their bedrooms.
"It's your house, your car, your phone, your rules," Baker said.
Dozens of parents showed up for the program. Many said they heard good reviews of it and were excited to be a part of it. The program covered topics like substance use, violence, eating disorders, juvenile crime and technology.