Tyson Park, Knoxville (WLVT) - Your kids hear about it throughout school: Don't talk to strangers, but how much does that message really sink in? Police say it's important to talk to your kids time and time again to make sure they realize the threat strangers pose.
Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel has tips to avoid "stranger danger."
We've already heard from parents in one Knox County subdivision. They say their kids told them a stranger was driving through the neighborhood, trying to get kids to get into his car.
It's a problem parents face every spring when the weather gets warm and the kids come out to play. Strangers are on the prowl, putting parents on high alert.
"Every parent worries that their kid's going to get taken, but it's your job to make sure that they don't," parent Eric Irons said.
Eric Irons is keeping a close watch on his two boys.
"I'm always in motion when I'm with them," Irons said.
He knows how important it is to keep them safe from strangers.
"A lot of parents see going to the park as a way for them to get to relax and just rest while the kids play, but that's when you've got to be the most alert," Irons said.
Police say that's exactly what you should be doing.
"If there's an adult there and there's no small children with them, if they're watching the children too much, give us a call, we're happy to come out," Knoxville Police officer Tammy Chaney said.
In the meantime, you can teach your kids how to react if approached by a stranger. Make lots of noise keep their distance run to a safe location, use code words.
"If someone comes up and approaches them and says, 'Your mom's been hurt in an accident.' This person may have, if they are truly someone the parent has sent, they should know the code word," Chaney said.
"The little one wants to go one way sometimes and the older one goes the other way, so it's hard to keep them both happy and going the same direction," Irons said.
"They know they have to be responsible for each other, and I'm constantly watching them and watching their feet," parent Teresa Goldschmitt said.
Teresa Goldschmitt has a system worked out with her kids.
"They know they have to keep tabs on me as well, they know I'm not up walking around, they know where the one place is that they have to come back to," Goldschmitt said.
It's also a good idea to keep tabs on what your kids are wearing. That way, if something should happen, you will be prepared to give police the information they need to track down your child.