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What are Some Examples of an “Attractive Nuisance”?

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Kathy McArthur with McArthur Law Firm.

What are Some Examples of an “Attractive Nuisance”?
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An attractive nuisance is anything which can be predicted to attract the attention of children who would not be safe interacting with it. Children have not yet learned to comprehend danger in their environment, and are known to approach unsafe conditions out of curiosity. If there is any chance that a child may be attracted to something on your property that would not be safe for them to interact with alone, you have a legal obligation to provide some kind of safeguard. If a property owner fails to take adequate precautions to prevent a child from engaging with an attractive nuisance, and the child is injured as a result, they may face a premises liability lawsuit.

Common examples of attractive nuisances include but are not limited to the following:

  • Swimming pools
  • Trampolines
  • Treehouses
  • Forts
  • Fountains
  • Wells
  • Holes
  • Gravel pits
  • Unsecured material (i.e. rocks, wooden planks, building supplies)
  • Machinery
  • Tunnels or caves
  • Animals
  • Paths
  • Stairs
  • Ladders
  • Accessible rooftop
  • Broken gates or locks

Swimming pools are one of the most commonly discussed examples of attractive nuisances. It is highly recommended that pool owners build a fence around their pool, with a gate that cannot be accessed without the help of an adult. Similar measures should be taken if an attractive nuisance exists on your property on a long-term or permanent basis.

Tips for mitigating danger to children from attractive nuisances include the following:

  • Take precautions. It is important to take precautions as soon as possible if there is something on your property which is or might become an attractive nuisance. Fences, gates, floodlights, alarm systems, rescue equipment, and handy first-aid kits are all good ways to prevent children from injuring themselves on your property.
  • Talk to parents in your neighborhood. It’s important to keep the people who live around you up to date on any existing or soon-to-exist attractive nuisances on your property. This can help them prepare in advance to make an effort to keep their child safe and away from your property.
  • If you see children on your property, ask them to leave. If you spot children exploring near or hanging around what might be an attractive nuisance, tell them to leave, and then if possible let their parents know about the problem. Teenagers are known to put themselves in hazardous situations, and may or not may not be considered children in an attractive nuisance case, so it is always better to be safe rather than sorry.
  • If a child is hurt, help. If a child has already been hurt by the attractive nuisance, it is important to give them immediate medical help. If the injury might be severe, call an ambulance and the child’s parents if possible.

To learn more about what constitutes an attractive nuisance, or for help understanding premises liability, reach out to a premises liability attorney to discuss your situation. Similarly, if your child was hurt on someone else’s property, talk to an attorney about your options for recovery.

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