No Trespassing

For Parents

Talk to your children about staying out of dangerous buildings.

a building behind a chain link fence

Just like you talk to your children about staying away from strangers, it’s important to talk to your children about staying away from abandoned properties and buildings.

Abandoned properties and buildings aren’t safe—especially for children and teenagers. These buildings are dangerous because they:

  • Aren’t well cared for and up to building standards. This means that the buildings are more likely to have structural issues like roofs caving in or weak floors that can fall through.
  • Can have dangerous chemicals. These dangerous chemicals can include barrels of toxic materials like you see in the movies, or it can be less obvious chemicals like lead paint. Breathing and touching these chemicals can cause lasting health problems for your children.
  • Can have dangerous people, animals, and pests living in them—and you can’t always tell if they’re inside.
  • Can be fire hazards. Abandoned properties and buildings often don’t have working smoke detectors or sprinkler systems. Add that to dangerous chemicals and people up to no good and it’s a recipe for a fast-moving fire.
It’s also against the law to trespass. Help keep your children safe by talking with them about the dangers of trespassing.
Here are some tips to get the conversation started.
  • Make sure your children know that you’re telling them this because you want to keep them safe.
  • Talk about abandoned properties and buildings in your neighborhood. Ask your children if they’ve ever noticed the buildings or thought about going into one.
  • Tell your children why these buildings are dangerous. Let your children know that these buildings can make them sick or cause them to get an injury. Also talk about how crimes can happen in these buildings.
  • Talk to your children about how they would say “No” to a friend who wants them to go into an abandoned building. Go through the different ways to say “No” to a friend. For example, your child can say no and walk away; suggest another activity like going to the park; or your child can make an excuse like, “I told my mom I wouldn’t go in there.”
  • Explain to your children that it’s against the law to trespass in abandoned properties and buildings.
Page last reviewed: October 29, 2015