With schools closed and learners getting some much-needed rest, parents are urged to keep an eye on their children this holiday season.Ward councillor Kevin Southgate says there is serious concern about what children are doing as they have noticed that there has been an increase in the number of empty cough mixture bottles being found.Southgate says for two consecutive weeks, empty bottles of Stilpane and BronCleer have been found by a safety warden in the Steenberg area at the Solo Park sports field. The cough mixture is apparently mixed with a soft drink to create a high in those taking it. “This is a huge concern for us and City officials. We are urging parents to be careful and know the whereabouts of their children, especially this holiday. This is the new thing now and learners are doing this. This is a new trend to put people on a high. The risk is that when the people take it they become uncountable and very aggressive. As the holiday is here we are concerned that more children will be doing it and parents must be aware of this,” he says.Southgate says the safety wardens discovered four empty bottles discarded and then the following weekend another 10 empty bottles. “This is something that you will not get at a pharmacy and now our worry is that they might be buying this from the drug lords. We need to raise awareness and parents must keep an eye on their children. The festive season is very busy and children can easily be left to their own devices but we urge parents to be aware of what is happening in the area,” he says.Southgate says he has requested that the Solo Park sports field be patrolled at least twice a day to ensure that such activities don’t happen.Steenberg Police Station commander, Colonel Jan Alexander, says the police have not heard any report of such incidents. “We have not heard any reports of such in the area. This could be in the beginning stages and they are still experimenting with it in the area and it is still in the early phases for us. Seeing that we have a number of schools here, we will be on the lookout and monitor the situation for such drug use. Learners like to experiment with things so we will be on the lookout. We haven’t received any complaints from schools [either],” he says.Steenberg Community Policing Forum chairperson Gavin Walbrugh says they have not picked up on such incidents in the area. “I know children are using the cough mixture and soft drinks to get high but not in our area. I have heard that it is more prevalent in Grassy Park and people have been arrested. However, we will be in the lookout,” he says. People’s Post ran a story about this in Grassy Park (“Cough medicine concerns cops”, 23 October). Southgate urges parents to take their children to aftercare programmes or holiday programmes. “There are a lot of NPOs in the area that are doing a lot to keep children busy. We urge parents to make use of those to ensure that children are kept in a safe space,” he says.