RE: public use of coho facilities & liability
From: Rob Sandelin (Exchange) (
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996 12:28:42 -0600
At Sharingwood the kids up the road play frequently at our playground, as
well as an organized home schooling group.  We have a one million dollar
liability insurance policy which covers all the common areas.  We did not
need a special policy for the playground because it is used by other kids -
and we are required to have this insurance anyway by our CC&R's and so their
is no net cost or impact on our insurance by having non-resident kids
playing at the playground.

However, there is a clause everyone might be well to know about.  Negligence
(on our policy anyway)  is defined as not regularly inspecting the
playground equiptment, and negligence gets insurance companies off the hook
for paying settlements.  You should record in the minutes of your
organization an annual playground equipment inspection. (You should do this
anyway just to be sure its safe)

The social  issues with outside kids using the playground dwarf the legal
ones in our experience.  We defined some rules for the kids using the
playground, with their input, so they understand that this is private
property that they can get kicked off by violating the rules.  There has
been some problems in the past with us having to call and conference with
the parents of a couple of the problem kids.  Its a continuing problem,
although basically since we involved the kids parents, they don't push the
limits very far because we just call their parents when there is a problem.

By having a playground open to others outside your neighborhood means
dealing with kids who have a very different notion of community than you do.
 It can also mean having to supervise other people kids, without being
asked, or without wanting to.  For example, there a couple of "latch key"
kids which hang out in summer all day while their parents are both at work. 
The adults at Sharingwood end up feeling they are responsibile for the kids.
 For example, if a outside kid fell and broke his arm, who would be
responsible?  This issue is not resolved, although we do get the phone
numbers from the kids who play regularily.  

There has been some grumbling amoung some of the Sharingwood kids that THEIR
space is being invaded by those other kids. The kids come and use the space,
but are not invited, nor do they necessarily play with our kids.  This issue
is very much still under discussion about how to deal with it.

Rob Sandelin


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