Many homeowners in Florida have swimming pools. In a state that can see hot weather year-round, swimming pools are a great way to cool down. However, property owners should understand that when it comes to swimming pools and children, the property owner could find themselves the subject of a premises liability claim.
If a person's premises has features -- such as a swimming pool -- that attract a child's attention but could also harm a child, then under the "attractive nuisance" doctrine, the property owner has a duty to protect children who may enter their premises. An attractive nuisance is an item that a child would be so interested in that they would go onto a person's premises to explore it. In general, attractive nuisances are man-made and need maintenance in order for the property owner to face liability if a child is hurt.
In general, there are three parts to the attractive nuisance doctrine. First, per law the child cannot be expected to fully understand how the item they are attracted to is dangerous. Second, the property owner must have a reason to think that a child might enter their premises. Thus, they have a more stringent duty to keep their premises safe for children. Third, if a property owner does not meet this duty, then he or she could face liability if a child is injured by the attractive nuisance. However, the law does recognize that a child could be hurt by just about anything, and certain threats such as tall heights and fire are known even by children to be dangerous.
So, when it comes to swimming pools or any other attractive nuisance, property owners should take steps to try to prevent a child from being injured. For example, a property owner could put a tall fence with a lock around his or her pool. It is more likely that liability will be imposed if a property owner showed a lack of care toward children with regards to the attractive nuisance and put forth no effort to make it safe. Of course, every person's situation is unique, so whether a property owner will be liable for a child injured by an attractive nuisance on their property will depend on the facts of the case.