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The nuisance that can endanger neighborhood children

The weather is suitable almost year-round for children to play outside in Hawaii, which is good when you want to get them out of the house and away from video games, but can be worrisome if some of your neighbors have attractive nuisances on their property. This does not include the neighborhood bully or the annoying ice cream truck that drives down the street several times a week. An attractive nuisance is a legal term for something on a neighbor’s property that could threaten your child’s safety.

To understand the definition of an attractive nuisance, consider the items and features in your yard that might bring curious children over. Do you have a swimming pool, deep pond or fountain? What about a riding lawnmower with its keys in the ignition parked at the side of your house? Does your dog that is not too friendly with strangers spend most of his time in the backyard? Any of these things are attractive nuisances because they can prove too attractive for local kids to resist, and they may cause harm.

You have a responsibility to take reasonable measures to prevent children from coming onto your property and sustaining an injury by a known attractive nuisance. Your options might include the following:

  • Putting a high fence with a locked gate around your yard
  • Gating your swimming pool
  • Putting up signs warning your dog is aggressive and/or only letting your dog outside with your supervision
  • Parking your riding mower in a locked shed or keeping the key with you

Taking the necessary actions to keep curious children safe from hazards on your property can protect you from legal action. However, you cannot guarantee that your neighbors are doing their part. You might keep your children safe by instructing them to stay off other people’s property without your permission or supervision, as well as not letting very young children out of your sight. As you might expect, your neighbor could be held liable for an injury to your child if he or she did not safeguard an attractive nuisance.

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Honolulu, HI 96813

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