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What is an attractive nuisance?

Children are curious, but their curiosity can sometimes lead them into potentially dangerous situations that they may not fully understand. If you are a parent or property owner, or if you are a Connecticut parent who also owns some property, you need to be aware of attractive nuisances that may be lurking on nearby property, including your own.

According to FindLaw, an attractive nuisance is something potentially dangerous that a child would find interesting enough to venture onto someone else's property or investigate without permission. Examples of attractive nuisances include paths and stairs, wells and tunnels, machinery (e.g., a lawnmower) and water features such as fountains or swimming pools. 

Property owners with a reason to believe that children may come onto their property have a special responsibility to prevent harm to them as children may not fully understand potential dangers. Therefore, if your child comes to harm as a result of a property owner's failure to meet the special responsibility imposed, the court may hold the property owner liable for your child's injuries. Not every potential hazard or enticing object on a given property is an attractive nuisance, however. Definitions may vary by jurisdiction, but generally speaking, an attractive nuisance must be a manmade object that requires maintenance. 

Be aware, also, that attractive nuisance liability is often not limited to very young children and may also include teenagers. While the law does not expect full comprehension of potential dangers from children, it does presuppose that children understand that some activities, such as coming into contact with fire or falling from a great height, pose some danger. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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