October 22, 2015

It’s very important for homeowners to know what an attractive nuisance is and whether or not they have these on their property. If a child is injured while playing on one, it’s possible that property owners in Pennsylvania could be liable for those injuries, even if they never told the children they could come on the property in the first place.

Generally speaking, an attractive nuisance is something—usually man-made—that a child may notice and decide to explore. Examples include staircases, roofs, tunnels, swimming pools and more. It is understood that children may not always realize they are in danger, so they have to be protected from dangerous situations.

The key to the whole thing is knowledge of a risk. If you have a swimming pool that can be seen from the street and you know that kids may come by it while you’re away, the court may decide you have some obligation to stop them by putting up a fence. You know it’s a risk and you need to take action.

Of course, the counter-argument that people will often use is that they put up signs or simply didn’t give the children permission to be near the pool in the first place. How can they be liable for people who are on the property illegally? The lines here can be blurred a bit, but again, the court recognizes that children don’t always use common sense and may not realize they are even trespassing, especially if they’re very young. Homeowners are not supposed to assume that they’ll act like adults.

These cases can get very complex when trying to determine what a child knew, how much the homeowner did to protect the child, and the like. Still, the first step is acknowledging the role of attractive nuisancesand the risk they pose.

Source: FIndLaw, “Dangers to Children: What is an Attractive Nuisance?,” accessed Oct. 22, 2015