• Nov
    Posted in:
    Posted by: Jarve Kaplan Granato Starr

    Leaf Piles Can Hide Dangers to Your Children and Pets

    Premises Liability

    When you think of life’s simple seasonal pleasures, jumping into leaf piles is at the top of the list. What adult raised in the suburbs doesn’t have memories of helping their parents rake leaves into nice, neat piles, then messing them up entirely by repeatedly running and leaping into them? Now that you’ve outgrown this practice and have children or pets of your own, you probably get the same vicarious thrill from watching them do the same. Unfortunately, like many of the things we did in the past, researchers are revealing that the innocent practice may hold hidden dangers. As a property owner, you also need to be aware that if people get sick or injured as a result of leaf piles on your property, you may be held responsible in a premises liability lawsuit.

    Though pediatricians and other experts are quick to say that leaf play is generally safe if the leaves are freshly raked, there are some risks in playing in them, and those risks increase the longer the piles can sit around. Once fallen leaves get wet and sit in piles, mold and other bacteria can start to grow on their surfaces. Mold is unhealthy for anybody to breathe, but this is especially true if a child has an already-existing mold allergy or asthma. Even adults who are vulnerable to allergies are advised to wear a respirator mask when they’re raking in order to decrease their own risk of experiencing breathing difficulties.

    In addition to mold, there is also the risk of exposing yourself to bugs and parasites. It is not uncommon for ticks to be present in leaf piles, especially in areas where deer live, and spiders can also make themselves at home within their depths. There are other hidden dangers that make leaf piles an unwise choice for play. Anybody who has ever walked their dog in the autumn knows that their animal will be attracted to the pile, and often urinates on the very leaves that your child wants to play in, and the leaves can also hide rocks, twigs, sticks, and even other small animals like mice or rats.

    Perhaps most dangerous of all, there have been an alarming number of instances of children hiding in leaf piles without realizing that they were about to be picked up by municipal leaf collection services, or having vehicles run over them if they are on the side of the road. Two girls were killed in 2014 in this type of incident.

    If you’re concerned about how leaf piles may subject you to a premises liability lawsuit, contact Jarve Kaplan Granato Starr today.

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