Over Fifty Years Of Personal Injury Law Practice

Playground peril: Attractive nuisances and child safety

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | Personal Injury

Louisiana boasts beautiful parks, playgrounds and public spaces. These areas are vital for children’s development, encouraging exercise, exploration and socialization. However, lurking within some seemingly harmless features can be hidden dangers known as attractive nuisances. These elements, while potentially enticing to a child’s curiosity, pose a significant risk of serious injury.

An attractive nuisance is a property feature that is likely to attract children and is not adequately guarded. In Louisiana, the legal concept of attractive nuisance falls under the state’s premises liability laws. These laws dictate the responsibility of landowners to keep their property safe for visitors, especially children who may not understand the dangers they encounter.

Common examples of attractive nuisances include the following:

  • A pool’s inviting coolness can be irresistible to a child, especially on a hot day. Unfortunately, without proper fencing and access restrictions, a pool can become a drowning hazard.
  • Empty structures hold a certain allure for children, but their dilapidated state can conceal hazards like falling debris, exposed electrical wiring and unstable floors.
  • The heavy machinery and uneven terrain of a construction zone can be a playground for a curious child, but the risk of getting crushed or struck by equipment is significant.
  • Broken swings, rusted slides and malfunctioning equipment at a playground can also lead to falls and other injuries.

Property owners, including municipalities responsible for public spaces, have a duty to take reasonable steps to eliminate or guard against attractive nuisances. This may involve fencing off hazardous areas, posting clear warnings or maintaining playground equipment in a safe condition.

Taking action

For a lawsuit based on attractive nuisance to succeed, the landowner must have known or should have known, about the dangerous condition and the likelihood of children being attracted to it.

Public spaces should be havens for children to play and explore. Recognizing and addressing attractive nuisances is the legal responsibility of property owners. Parents whose children get hurt due to attractive nuisances can pursue compensation for their kids’ injuries.