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What is an attractive nuisance and what can I do about them?

You may assume that if an individual is trespassing on your property and causes injury to him or herself that you would not be liable. In many cases this is true, but if the trespasser in question is a child the rules are different.

If child trespassers injure themselves on your property, it is possible that the law may hold you liable. Particularly if you have “attractive nuisances” on your property, you must take care. According to FindLaw, an attractive nuisance is something on your property that may attract child trespassers and injure the children as a result.

How can I identify an attractive nuisance?

The most common example of an attractive nuisance is a home swimming pool. This is an item that may attract child trespassers looking to play but may also cause serious injury or death. Other examples of attractive nuisances may involve animals on your property (like horses or dogs), broken gates, ladders and certain landscaping features.

What should I do about an attractive nuisance?

It is of course your right to have a swimming pool or large animals on your property if zoning allows this. You must ensure that you abide by all local regulations regarding certain kinds of attractive nuisance. For instance, it is very common for local community laws to require fences installed around swimming pools in order to discourage unattended children.

If you notice something on your property is attracting children, make sure to address the matter immediately. For instance, if you notice children playing around a ladder on your property, put the ladder in a shed. Document everything you do to protect children from attractive nuisances on your property.