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Understanding the attractive nuisance doctrine

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2018 | Wrongful Death

Once summer starts, children in Louisiana and elsewhere will be spending more time outdoors. While this is a good thing, some homeowners should think about whether they have an “attractive nuisance” on their properties that might result in a child being injured.

FindLaw explains that an attractive nuisance is something that may entice children onto a property, where they may become injured. A good example of this is a swimming pool, although an attractive nuisance might also be a feature such as a fountain, well, path or tunnel. A homeowner with unusual machinery, such as a riding mower or woodworking equipment, might also face the problem of young people being enticed onto the property out of curiosity.

If property owners have reason to believe children will come onto the property because of an attractive nuisance, it is their responsibility to take measures to discourage trespassing or protect children from the enticing items. These steps might include locking equipment in a shed, installing a locked fence around a swimming pool and putting a high fence around the property.

A tragic accident occurred last March in Covington that illustrates the importance of securing attractive nuisances. The New Orleans Advocate reported that a 5-year-old boy drowned in a swimming pool in his grandmother’s backyard. The grandmother did not know where the child was, but said she was not initially worried because he liked to hide. Homeowners may prevent such accidents from occurring to their children, grandchildren and neighborhood kids by considering which objects may be dangerous for children and making them inaccessible without permission and supervision.