Children and liability


I have a group of guests who are trying to book our space with two infants (toddlers) and one 2-year old. Our property is in Costa Rica. I pointed out that the space is not safe for infants.

Thank you for your request. We wanted to clarify that the house is not suitable for infants and young children under 6 to 8 years old. Many places around the house lead directly into the jungle or on steep slopes where young children could be injured. There is direct access to the pool of the house.

I got the following reply

Hello, we thank you for your quick response. Thank you also for warning us of the potential dangers surrounding the house. However, we are aware of the dangers and are ready to assume them entirely. Our two youngest will not yet be able to walk during our visit and we will be 5 adults to watch the 2 year old. He is very calm and no adventurer. We have looked a lot of houses and yours is really our favourite. We would really like to have your permission to stay there. I’m impatiently waiting for your answer. Thank you and with pleasure

Following up further, with

Let me check the situation regarding liability in case something happens to your children during their stay here and how to make sure we are both covered. I may not be able to answer this question until Monday, because of the Easter holidays.

I got

Perfect, thank you for your flexibility. If necessary, I can send you our private travel insurance policy

What do I do?

  • Do I reject the offer? That feels discriminatory: I don’t mind them staying with children, but I am concerned about liability
  • Do I get them to sign a liability waiver? If so, are there good templates? Are they enforceable?


  • Would they be covered by the AirBNB liability insurance? I could not find anything otherwise.
  • The property is owned by a Costa Rican company, we are UK residents owning the company. Costa Rica is not a litigious country, but of course there is the risk that a case could be brought on in Canada (where the guests live) or in the UK

I’m supposing that you state in your listing no children or infants due to safety issues.

In your shoes, and from experience, I really would not accept this booking. My second ever booking was from a couple who declared their ten year old, but not their allegedly under two year old until the last minute. I was given all the assurances under the sun that they would supervise him on staircases and in the garden and I gave in against my better judgement and with naive inexperience. Not only did they leave him unsupervised, but I ended up supervising their ten year old’s breakfast!

To cut a long horror story short, they left him asleep while they had breakfast together and I’m left with the 10yr old in the kitchen. Their toddler awoke, came to find them and fell down the kitchen stairs head first. I just caught him before he hit his head on a granite worktop.

I was here to read them the riot act but I dread to think what would have happened had I not been.

You will not be covered by Airbnb; it’s not liability insurance, just a so called Host Guarantee and we all know it’s useless. As for their travel insurance, yeah, great but why would you take the risk? You have real risks posed to children on your property and although Costa Rica may not be a litigious country, they may well be from one themselves, as mine were.

My penance for reading the riot act was that Mum became very hostile for the rest of their stay (2 nights), left dirty nappies in a flooded bathroom, and a revenge review.

I now refuse any begging requests for children under eight and even non mobile infants.


Air doesn’t have “liability insurance”. The Host Guarantee is basically worthless. In Florida we pay $5000 a year for homeowner policy to cover the house and rental. Our pool is 6 feet from the rental’s door.

Se what their travel insurance says. If they send you a copy, call the carrier, explain the situation, and ask if they’ll cover.

We refuse children because I personally don’t want to go out in the morning and find a kid floating face-down in the pool…


Correct. The house is in the jungle perched on top of a crest of a hill with steep slopes on all sides. The outside area has steps without railings one can fall off. When the front of the house is opened, there is a big area leading out to the pool and outside areas which is not fenced off.

1 Like

Thank you. That sounds like a lot more work than it is worth.

I would refuse the request. You have an age limit for children at your listing for a reason. As @Joan says whatever assurances a guest gives, doesn’t mean they will follow through.

" I am sorry however for the safety of the child we must decline your request. We find that we can not take the risk or accept the responsibility under any circumstances." Not only financial but the emotional risk that you could endure if something would happen.

1 Like

Definitely reject the booking.

We’re reviewing our policy for kids under twelve (got a toddler in one apartment just now) as I noticed him playing with a limquat that had fallen from one of patio trees. I was mentally going over how to do the Heimlich Manoeuvre on a two year old!

We have our own, independent from Airbnb, public liability insurance but from the human perspective it only takes an unsupervised minute for him to stuff one in his mouth…


I simply don’t take the risk I prefer to have my flat empty than having to deal with children/safety issue. Too risky business.

Although I absolutely understand and certainly appreciate the concern, especially since I am a parent, I do question the legality of what could be considered discrimination based on age. These are unfortunately the times that we are in. I think a call to Airbnb customer service for insight may be helpful. This potential guest is in writing fully aware and acknowledges your concerns and assume his responsibilities as well as seemingly has an insurance policy.

I vote against approving this request.

1 Like

This is an easy one. Just! Say! No!

1 Like

You have to do what’s right for you, of course. But it’s a shitshow when you can’t take your children anywhere because someone, somewhere will scream INSURANCE aka $$$$

Of course you will say no to this request because that is the “sensible” thing to do. That does not mean it is the “right” thing to do.

I am old enough to remember the freedom to wander, climb trees, jump in lakes, blah blah blah. Yes, some of us died. And guess what, some of us STILL die. The only people that benefit from the mythical Fear are those that make money out of it.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all just turned round and said FUCK YOU? You don’t get to make a ton of money off imaginary fears. We’ll manage fine without you, thanks v much.

Yeah… pissed as a fart.

1 Like

I am of a similar generation as yours however I have noticed that instead of accepting the situation as an accident, kids being kids or the child getting into trouble and suffering the consequences the parents will head lawyers and the courts and claim you are at fault for the what happened to the child. There is little or no parental responsibility even if it happens to be true.


There is NO AirBnB liability insurance. As many folks in this forum will tell you, the “host guarantee” is useless.

Do you have Costa Rican homeowners’ insurance? Does it cover short term rentals? And if a case goes to court, how much corruption in Costa Rican courts? You need to talk to your insurer and make sure you are covered, because AirBnB ain’t going to do diddly for you.

1 Like

Airbnb allows hosts to put age limits for children if there are features which would impact on their safety such as a pool, or a pond, an open fire, or steep stairs.

1 Like