Safety is something most adults take for granted. Most of the time, you may be too busy to think about whether you are in danger, but still, you are probably less likely to place yourself in dangerous situations than when you were younger. Ff you have children, you likely put more focus on their safety than on yours.
This is why you may have concerns about neighbors who have dangerous conditions on their property. Perhaps it is even the landlord of the building where you live who allows hazards to remain unsecured at the risk of injuring your children. These kinds of hazards are known as attractive nuisances. An attractive nuisance is alluring to children and may cause them to venture onto private property and place their safety in jeopardy.
What is an attractive nuisance?
A property owner who allows an attractive nuisance on his or her property risks liability if a child suffers injury because of the hazard. Anything can be an attractive nuisance if it is enticing enough to bring a child onto the property and dangerous enough to result in injury. Some common examples of attractive nuisances include the following, but there are countless other examples:
- A swimming pool without a fence surrounding it
- Other water features, such as fish ponds, fountains or wells
- Piles of debris, lumber or other construction materials
- Machinery such as a lawnmower or tractor
- Vehicles like ATVs or golf carts
- Old appliances such as freezers or refrigerators
- Dilapidated buildings or sheds
- Trampolines or other play equipment
In some cases, the simplest fix is to remove the hazard. For example, it is easy to store equipment in a locked shed or to haul away construction debris. It might be necessary to tear down on old building if it is placing curious children at risk. Another option is to secure an attractive nuisance, such as putting a fence around one’s property or chaining the doors on old appliances.
Is the property owner doing enough?
If you have complained to the property owner about the attractive nuisance, he or she may have put up signs that say “No Trespassing,” “Private Property,” or “Beware of the Dog.” However, not every child can read, and your child may not even notice a sign or appreciate the danger if he or she is intent on getting to whatever is in your neighbor’s yard.
The last thing you want is for your child to suffer injuries because someone else failed in the duty to keep his or her property reasonably safe. If your child is hurt because of an attractive nuisance, you may benefit from seeking advice about your legal options.