City reminds residents of pool regulations and safety tips

Published 5:08 pm Friday, June 14, 2024

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With the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1 to 4 years old, the city of Albert Lea is urging residents to be aware of pool safety and local regulations.

“Drowning can happen fast, even when children are not expected to be near water. Unsupervised access to pools is a big risk. That’s why proper fencing, screening and pool placement are so important,” said Wayne Sorensen, city building official.

Even if not fatal, drowning can cause brain damage and other serious, long-term issues.

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To keep swimmers safe, the city urges residents to call City Development Services, 507-377-4340, before buying an above- or below-ground pool to ensure it will meet zoning requirements.

People should also follow city code requirements, including:

  • Fencing or walling to prevent unsupervised access by children.
  • Minimum 5-foot distance from property lines.
  • Screening with a wall, fence or hedge to obscure the pool view from streets and neighbors.

Additional safety tips:

  • Always supervise swimmers. Never leave children unattended, not even for a moment.
  • Use self-closing or self-latching gates on fencing around pools.
  • Enroll children in swimming lessons at the Albert Lea Aquatic Center or Albert Lea Family Y. Young children who can’t swim well are at higher risk, even with flotation devices.
  • Remove pool toys after swimming to prevent children from reaching for them and falling in.

These guidelines also apply to hot tubs and ponds.