So, you're familiar with the risks of an "attractive nuisance" and want to make sure you can protect yourself. Here are some everyday examples and simple steps you can take to ensure you won't fall victim to a lawsuit:
If your property hosts a swimming pool, fence in the area around the pool. While in many states this is the law, putting up a fence is simply good common sense. A fence tells neighborhood kids the pool is off limits, unless they have your permission. If you have a trampoline, swing set or any other sporting equipment that could create an attractive nuisance, it might be in your best interest to consider fencing in your yard.
Remove the doors from refrigerators and washing machines or otherwise dismantle appliances before placing them on the curb for pick up. A young child is sure to see a lone refrigerator as an ideal hiding spot. By removing the door, you're not only protecting children, you're protecting yourself.
Don't leave power tools unattended. If you're working outside with your table saw, turn off the electricity or unplug the extension cord. Before you go inside for lunch, take a bathroom break or step away to chat with the guy next door, make sure your power tools are inoperable. Leave heavier equipment such as tractors or lawn mowers completely shut off. If keys are needed for the machinery to run, take them out of the ignition and keep them with you. Finally, always place tools, lawnmowers and other small, hazardous objects in a tool shed or the garage when you're finished using them. Heavier equipment should also be put away or kept covered in a fenced in area.
What child wouldn't want to play in a pile of bricks or discarded lumber? Construction debris contains a number of potentially lethal child hazards so you want it to look as unattractive as possible to the youngsters in your area. If you can, keep debris in a dumpster or fenced-in area and cover it with a tarp. Place "Do Not Touch" or "No Trespassing" signs around the pile so older children can read them. Let parents of young children know what's there and advise them to caution their children to stay away.
Teenage children are likely to find a liquor cabinet very attractive. The last thing you need is for an adolescent to drive or have some other accident after drinking at your house. Keep alcohol locked or hidden away at all times.
Regardless of whether or not they run, cars should always be off limits to neighborhood children. Roll up the windows, remove the keys and lock the doors. If your car is a convertible, keep the top up.
Keep wells, sinkholes, trenches, construction ditches and anything else a child can fall into covered. If you have a well or abandoned mine on your property be sure to block off the entrance, preferably with a cement cap.
You may have other objects in on your property that aren't included in this list. Any object on your property, no matter the size, has the potential to be an attractive nuisance. In order to better protect the kids in the neighborhood and, by extension, yourself, consider whether or not what's in your yard can be harmful. Think back to when you were a kid - would you have played with it? If so, how? Remember to take all necessary steps to prevent a possible tragedy.
You're not legally obligated to practice child safety procedures. After all, it's your home, they are not your kids, right? Unfortunately, curious children can be oblivious to words like "hazard," "property" and "trespassing." It's up to you to patrol your area for potential hazards - if not for their safety, then for your family's peace of mind.