SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA) — Summer may be gone, but there’s still plenty of time to get out and play. And with fall sports kicking off, playgrounds and parks are seeing a lot of action. 

But when visiting your favorite parks and playground, Sergeant Gene Page says there’s a few check marks you need to make. 

“Is it in good shape? Are there any dangers there? We do need to make sure we check it before we let our kids play on it,” said Sergeant Gene Page, with the Bentonville Police Department. “The first thing I would want to do before my children even step foot on it is to look under it, make sure it has the proper padding, look at the bolt system, make sure there is nothing left on top of the slide that would cut, hurt or pinch.”  

Because it’s not just kids using this as a stomping ground. 

“If you have someone that comes in after-hours, maybe they will sit on the equipment overnight when it’s closed. You may find bottles, broken glass, needles, signs of drug use, things like that you need to be aware of,” Sergeant Page said. 

Also, be on the lookout for suspicious activity. Sergeant Page says the phrase “stranger-danger” is outdated. 

Statistics have changed, and victims often fall prey to people they know like neighbors or even family. 

“Train them on the tactics of these predators, of these abductors,” Sergeant Page said. 

If kids can begin noticing strategies like using candy and stuffed animals to lure them, they’ll be a lot safer. So keep your eyes peeled and ears open, so you can kick off your fall with some fresh air and some fun.  

It’s up to every parent to decide how they want to protect their children. But Sergeant Page says if something seems off to you, make sure you contact that school or park system. 

And don’t forget to check out Police Rapport, airing on Sundays right here on KNWA.