Children in California and all around the country love to play, and they sometimes find it difficult to resist yards that feature swimming pools, playgrounds, or construction equipment. These enticements can be extremely dangerous when there are no adults present to prevent children from engaging in risky behavior, which is why lawyers call them attractive nuisances. Homeowners can put up warning signs that order children to stay away, but that may not be enough to protect them against lawsuits filed by the parents of injured children.
Cases involving negligence are argued differently when young children are involved, and property owners may be held responsible in premises liability lawsuits when they did not do all that they reasonably could to prevent an attractive nuisance from causing injuries. At the very least, homeowners are expected to follow local building codes and regulations. In California, swimming pools must be surrounded by a fence with a gate that latches automatically, protected by an alarm that sounds when unauthorized entry is detected and equipped with an approved safety cover.
Homeowners who wish to protect children and avoid litigation can go further than local rules require. Steps they can take to reduce the foreseeable dangers of attractive nuisances include:
• Placing life rings and ropes near swimming pools and keeping all pool toys secure
• Making sure that swings are at least two feet apart and placed on a surface like sand or gravel that can absorb shocks
• Separating play areas that will be used by toddlers and making sure that toddler swings have bucket seats
• Not allowing construction debris to accumulate and locking power tools up when they are not being used
Taking legal action
If your child was hurt while playing in a yard with an attractive nuisance, an experienced personal injury attorney could study the facts to determine whether the homeowner acted negligently. If the homeowner acted recklessly or was in violation of building or safety regulations, an attorney could file a lawsuit on your behalf seeking compensation for your child’s medical bills and pain and suffering.