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Is an attractive nuisance a danger to your child?

From the time your children were old enough to hold up their heads and look around, you may have marveled at their curiosity and wonder. They wanted to see, touch and taste things to learn as much about them as possible. As they grew, you may have watched them take ordinary objects, like pots and pans, and create great adventures.

That natural curiosity may also get them into trouble. In fact, you may know that all you have to do is tell a child something is off limits, and from that moment, the object is the one thing the child must have. Unfortunately, this curiosity can also endanger your child's safety, especially if properties in your neighborhood contain attractive nuisances.

Protection for curious children

An attractive nuisance is anything that may lure a child onto the property and place the child at risk of harm. Swimming pools are one common example, which is why Georgia and many other states have laws requiring fences around private pools. However, other objects may entice a child, such as piles of construction debris, trampolines, machinery like tractors or ATVs, or large appliances like refrigerators.

If it is reasonable for a property owner to suspect a child may find an object attractive and that the object may result in injury to the child, the property owner may be held liable for any injuries if he or she does nothing about the situation. Some remedies for an attractive nuisance include the following:

  • Removing the object from the property
  • Securing the object from access, such as placing it in a shed or, as with a pool, fencing it in
  • Enclosing the property to prevent easy access to attractive nuisances

In some cases, such as if the hazard is a well or the property is too large to fence in, the remedy may be cost prohibitive for the property owner. However, this is an issue you may be able to successfully debate when comparing the cost of removing the hazard to the value of your child's health and life.

Failing to take reasonable care

Some property owners believe that if they place a warning sign on their property, they have protected themselves from liability for any injuries a child may suffer. However, not every child will be able to read such a sign. Additionally, a sign that warns, for example, of a dog that may bite may be overlooked by a child who is focused on reaching and petting the animal.

A property owner who fails to take adequate precautions to protect children who may be enticed by an attractive nuisance may be responsible if your child suffers injuries. You may have to prove that your child was not mature enough to understand the danger, and your attorney can help you build a case for claiming compensation from a negligent property owner.

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