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Children At Play Signs: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do you ensure children's safety while playing?

A.

There are various steps you can take to ensure kids are safe while playing - 

  • - Actively supervise kids while they are climbing, jumping, swinging, or playing on dangerous surfaces. 
  • - Choose the right play area based on your child’s age. See that kids are not running or playing on streets with vehicular traffic.
  • - Sand, pea gravel, wood chips, mulch, and rubber are safe surfaces where kids are less likely to hurt themselves.
  • - Dress your kids appropriately for playing. Necklaces, purses, scarves, or clothing with drawstrings can get stuck in play equipment and create a strangulation hazard.
  • - Install traffic control devices such as signs to slow down and alert motorists of an upcoming children’s zone.

Q. What does a “Children at Play” sign mean?

A.

Children At Play Signs are traffic control devices that are intended to slow down speeding vehicles. Signs notify drivers there are children at play and may reduce the risk for kids. These signs may be installed in areas that require drivers to be alert and extra careful of kids at play. These signs are used in private communities where the community maintains the street and not the city. The Federal Highway Administration does not recognize children at Play and similar signs as official traffic control devices and, therefore, are not installed by the City on public streets.

Q. Are Slow Children At Play signs legally enforceable?

A.

State and federal standards do not recognize the use of ‘Slow Children at Play’ signs. In fact, there is quite a lot of debate on whether Children At Play signs must be used or not. Many policymakers argue that Children At Play Signs give parents and children a false sense of security. The sign suggests to the driver that it is OK to speed or be less careful on streets where the sign is not present. Also, by relying on the sign, parents might supervise their children less carefully and think it is acceptable for their kids to play on the designated street.

However, these signs are often seen at the end of a driveway, yard, or other outdoor play areas of private communities to alert drivers to proceed with caution. That’s because small children are unable to detect the approaching speed and distance of cars above a speed, say—20 mph, while crossing a road. This lack of judgment and other safety concerns make it imperative for parents and HOAs to install Children At Play signs in neighborhoods. 



Q. What is the speed limit on residential streets where kids are at play?

A.

The speed limit in residential or school districts is 25 mph unless otherwise posted. School zone speed limits in most states are 15 to 25 MPH in urban and suburban areas. These speed limits are used in specific locations when children are going to and from school. Citizens frequently request 10 mph speed limit signs on residential streets where kids often play in many cities. 

Q. What are the advantages of portable Children At Play signage?

A.

Visual Warning Signal: Portable signs are a visual alert for drivers to slow down in designated areas.

Portable: Whether at home, camping, or near playgrounds, signs can be easily lifted and carried anywhere. Children keep changing their play areas - these signs can be placed just where kids’ safety is required.

Easily Removable: For optimal effectiveness, these signs can be placed during playtime and be removed from the area when not in use.

No installation: Unlike wall or post-mount signs these signs do not require any setup.

Changeable Message: Our A-frame signs come with changeable message panels. You can use the same frame and buy new sign panels to display a completely new message when you don’t need the Children At Play sign.



Q. What is the best location to place a Children At Play sign?

A.

Parents and residents must not place Children At Play Signs right in the middle of the streets to become an obstruction for the traffic. Instead, the best location to place a Children At Play Sign is on the curb. These signs are best suited for schools and playgrounds along with private driveways in residential areas. The New York State Supplement guidance mentions that: “Use of the CHILDREN AT PLAY sign should be limited to locations where, because of unusual conditions, motorists might not expect children to be playing in the vicinity of the roadway. The CHILDREN AT PLAY sign should not be used on highways where obvious residential development alerts drivers to the possibility of children at play.”

Q. What are MUTCD/DOT guidelines about Children At Play Signs?

A.

There are no specific guidelines by MUTCD/DOT about Children At Play Signs on private roads. The manual mentions that “The use of warning signs should be kept to a minimum as the unnecessary use of warning signs tends to breed disrespect for all signs. In situations where the condition or activity is seasonal or temporary, the warning sign should be removed or covered when the condition or activity does not exist.

However, municipalities can post signs for school zones, pedestrian crossings, and playgrounds for road safety purposes. 

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