What is the attractive nuisance doctrine?

You may wish you could follow your kids around whenever they left your home, yet that is simply not possible. There will inevitably be times when they are encountered with scenarios in San Jose where they would benefit from your judgment and supervision, yet you are not there to provide it. Fortunately, the law places the responsibility on others to protect your children from certain dangers that could potentially cause them harm. 

A legal principle exists known as the attractive nuisance doctrine. The Cornell Law School defines it as a form of liability placed on property owners in the event that artificial conditions on their land injure children. The attractive nuisance doctrine account for the fact that children (especially young children) do not comprehend the dangers a feature present; rather, they simply view it as an attraction. The property owners on which these attractions are found are thus asked to protect children from them by restricting access to them. 

The most common form of attractive nuisance cited today is a swimming pool. Your kids may not understand that jumping into a pool puts them at risk of drowning (especially if they are not strong swimmers); they simply want to play in the water. A pool owner, then, must ensure that kids cannot easily access their pool (even kids that they have not invited on to their property to use it). 

Restricting access to the pool absolves them of liability should your child be injured in it while not being supervised. That likely means putting a fence or gate around it, or some other barrier that keeps kids out. If they do nothing, and your child get in the pool and drowns, you could initiate legal action against them. 

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