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Special rules for property owners to keep children safe

Most people who have children in Georgia know that they are curious and can get into many things. They tend to learn by experiences, both good and bad. Until something bad happens to them, many times children do not fully understand the potential dangers and can get badly injured as a result. Parents will not be able prevent all bad things from happening to their children, but they should try to keep an eye on them and try to put in certain safety measures to protect them against dangerous situations.

This duty extends beyond parents as well. Property owners also have special responsibilities to keep children safe from various objects on their property. Generally a property owner only owes trespassers or licensees a duty to refrain from causing willful or wanton harm. However, they have a duty to protect children from being able to access potentially dangerous items on a property regardless of their intent.

This is known as the attractive nuisance doctrine and may be utilized in a premises liability claim. Basically the doctrine assumes that children cannot fully comprehend the dangers. So, if a property owner knows or suspects that children may wander onto their property, they must protect them from the dangers of these attractive nuisances. Common objects that are considered attractive nuisances are pools, machinery, such as lawnmowers, wells and holes, dangerous animals and many others.

Whether a property owner would be liable depends on a number of factors though based on the children's age and comprehension level, the property owner's level of knowledge that children may access the property, how much the property owner did to protect children and many other factors.

Many people in Georgia have pools and other objects which children may want to use. Some of these objects can be very dangerous if used incorrectly or without the proper supervision. If a child is able to access the object and is injured as a result, the property owner may be liable for the damages. These are very fact specific cases though and experienced attorneys may be a useful resource.

Source: RealEstate.FindLaw.com, "Dangers to Children: What is an Attractive Nuisance" accessed on Nov. 13, 2017

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