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What is an attractive nuisance?

Summer means more kids running around the streets of Brooklyn. While it is great to see such youth and the vibrancy it brings to local neighborhoods, having more kids out of the house also increases the risk of them being exposed to danger. You no doubt school your children on what they should avoid in order to stay safe, but try as you might, kids are naturally curious and often unaware of the risks certain things pose. This is what makes an attractive nuisance so dangerous. 

What is an "attractive nuisance?" The Cornell University Law School defines it as any property feature or condition that attracts children to it while also presenting a risk to their safety. The acknowledgement of the presence of attractive nuisances allows for the application of the attractive nuisance doctrine, which states that property owners can be held liable if they fail to protect child from the dangerous features on their lands. 

The attractive nuisance doctrine was actually first called "the turntable doctrine" due to railroad turntables being recognized as the first official attractive nuisance. Over the years, the definition as expanded to include: 

  • Swimming pools
  • Construction sites
  • Electrical towers and power lines
  • Ponds and fountains
  • Holes, canals and exposed pipes
  • Discard or unused cars and other large equipment

Those who own the properties on which these artificial features are located have duty to protect children from them by restricting access. If they do not, and your child is injured playing on or around such an attraction, you can seek compensation to help the expenses arising from such an injury. This is true even if your child was on the property without the owner's permission. 

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