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Child safety hot topic at Brooklyn Council

The topic of child safety was at the top of the Brooklyn City Council’s meeting held on Monday, Aug. 3.

Brooklyn resident Pauline Plants approached the council with several concerns for the safety of children in town. Her main concern was of pool safety.

According to Plants, there are approximately 27 pools owned privately by families or day cares.

According to national pool safety standards, privately owned pools must at least have a non-climable fence to keep children from entering the pool and prevent drowning. Pools must also have a safety cover that can bear the weight of a child.

“Of all the pools I counted, only two had a fence around them,” said Plants. Plants pointed out that most home insurance and day care insurance companies do not cover pool liabilities and the cost for a safety cover is extremely high. One of the easiest and cheapest ways is to protect a child from drowning is to construct a metal of wood fence.

Plants proposed that the city council pass an ordinance requiring pool owners to at least construct a fence around their pools. Plants said several cities, including Belle Plaine, Tama, Grinnell and Toledo have such ordinances.

Council member Ron Stonebreaker said he agreed with Plants, but was unsure of liability issues with the city. Council member Chris Keller said he is split on such an ordinance.

“I see the point because of safety reasons,” he said. “But that’s a person’s private property, a lot of this is the fault of the person.”

City attorney Fred Stiefel, who was absent from the meeting, wrote his opinion on the matter. He stated that some cities do enforce a pool fence ordinance, while others don’t. In either situation, the city is not held liable if anything should happen.

Council member Dean Huls felt a fence ordinance would benefit the youth of the city.

“With as many pools as we have in town, with or without fencing, it’s going to happen one of these days,” he said.

Stonebreaker, mayor pro tem for the evening, recommended the council table a decision until the next meeting when Stiefel would be present to give his opinion.


Plates also suggested the city install “Child at Play” signs along West Pershing. She said she has seen several cars speed down the street with no regard to the several children who play along it.

One suggestion from the council was to install speed limit signs, but Public Works Supervisor Lavern Bartacheck said it wouldn’t be a good idea.

“I agree with the ‘child at play’ signs, but speed limit signs would be ridiculous,” he said. “People are going to disregard those signs because we don’t have local police to enforce the speed limit.”

The council members said they would look around town for others areas that might need safety signs also and come back to the issue at the next city council meeting.



















UPDATED August 4, 2009 1:13 PM

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