As a parent in Kansas City, you naturally worry about your kids. Yet you likely take some comfort in knowing that your teaching and example at home have taught them sound judgment (and that such judgment will help keep them out of potentially dangerous situations). While that may be true in many cases, there may be some things that seem so enticing to children (particularly young children) that they cannot be expected to understand the dangers that they pose. Such things are often referred to (in the legal world) as attractive nuisances.
The concept of an attractive nuisance first arose due to railroad turntables. It was recognized that children were drawn to them as objects of play, not comprehending the dangers that they posed. This gave rise to “the turntable doctrine,” a legal principle which recognizes that some artificial attractions are enticing to young children, and thus puts the liability for any injuries suffered by children due to these attractions squarely on the shoulders of the owners of the properties on which they are found. This principle holds true even in cases where a child is on the property without the owner’s permission.
Over the years it was recognized that there were several other types of artificial attractions that enticed young kids, including:
- Swimming pools
- Construction sites
- Power lines and electrical towers
- Ponds and fountains
Thus, the turntable doctrine morphed into the attractive nuisance doctrine. According to the Cornell Law School, many of the principles of the current standard remain the same. However, you should know that if a property takes steps to restrict children’s access to an attractive nuisance (such as erecting a fence around it), the may absolve themselves of liability.