Who Cares About Attractive Nuisances?
What Is An Attractive Nuisance?
This is a term originated by a judge to describe property that attracts youngsters and, because of their dangerous nature, creates a special obligation to property owners. Examples are:
- Swimming pools
- Empty buildings
- Appliances kept outside
- Construction materials
All of these can lure children onto property and they all have the potential to cause serious injury. Why Do Attractive Nuisances Create A Special Obligation?
A special obligation exists because of such property's child endangering nature. Children do not have the reasoning ability of adults. When an opportunity to have fun pops up, it's a rare child who thinks about the chance of being injured. A property owner with an attractive nuisance on his property cannot escape liability because of a trespassing child. When an attractive nuisance is involved, adults have to make a special effort to protect children from their blind sense of adventure or face the consequences.
How Do You Handle Attractive Nuisances?
The answer is… do whatever it takes to prevent a child's access to the nuisance. Therefore, in order of their effectiveness:
1. Eliminate the nuisance:
- Have old appliances hauled to a junk yard
- Tow old, non-running vehicles away
- Get rid of construction materials immediately after a building project is complete
2. Secure the nuisance
- Take off doors or covers from large appliances awaiting garbage pickup
- Keep sharp tools, especially power tools and equipment, locked away
- Store construction materials in a garage or shed
3. Reduce the chance for injury from a nuisance
- Install a pool cover and have a locked fence to prevent access to pool
- Do not allow younger children to use equipment such as trampolines
- Make sure there's adult supervision of children using play equipment
- If you're not certain about whether you have an attractive nuisance situation, discuss the situation with an insurance professional.