Could You be Guilty of Child Endangerment?

Attractive nuisance

Children need protection—special protection. They’re naturally curious and they aren’t yet aware of potentially dangerous situations. Society has acknowledged these facts with special laws to protect them. This is especially important to remember as a homeowner because your property and the things you’ve placed on it could unwittingly be responsible for drawing children toward danger.

In the eyes of the law, an item that holds both an appeal and a potential danger to children is referred to as an Attractive Nuisance.

There are few greater attractions and obvious dangers to children than an unattended swimming pool, pond or other water feature. In fact, pools are so attractive to children they are their own brand of Attractive Nuisance. If children know it’s there, they’ll want to ‘take a dip.’ And we’ve all heard reports of tragedy.

As a property owner and as a responsible neighbour, you must take precautions to keep your young neighbours out of your yard. A high fence that locks is the first step to securing safety. There are also pool covers that can be locked. Some people use both.

If you’re contemplating having a pool installed, then walk the perimeter of your property and include sightlines into your plans for its positioning. The more private you can make it, the better.

Consider the work you do on your property weekly, monthly, seasonally. A leaning ladder, a lawn mower of the push or ride-on variety, a snow blower, and power tools can become irresistible to the young and fearless.

This doesn’t mean that we can never work in our yards, never beautify our landscape or never reward ourselves with a swimming pool, if that’s a dream. However, it is our duty as property owners to take every reasonable precaution to ensure our homes are free of anything that might seem enticing to a child and therefore be defined as an Attractive Nuisance.

Even if a No Trespassing warning is posted, many children can’t read or understand the meaning of that complicated word. It’s true, they may have no business on your property and in all senses are indeed trespassing but they are children after all. There’d be cold comfort in that knowledge in the event of a serious accident.

By its very definition, an Attractive Nuisance has an allure to a child and could present a danger to any who encounter it. Try to view your property and your outside belongings through the eyes of a child and reduce the risk of harm.

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