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Slow Children at Play Signs

These signs are not used by Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) on the rural state highway system and ODOT discourages others from using them. It should also be noted that the rectangular children at play signs that are often seen are a nonstandard shape for a warning sign. Warning signs should be diamond-shaped. It should be noted that if there is a "designated children's play area" the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices does have a "playground sign."

The following is from the Traffic Engineering Manual of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). It discusses ODOT's position on the use of signs with wording such as children at play, slow children or watch for children. 

Signs intended to alert drivers that children may be present in an area, such as CHILDREN AT PLAY or WATCH FOR CHILDREN, BLIND CHILD, DEAF CHILD or AUTISTIC CHILD have not been shown to have a discernable benefit to traffic safety but still remain popular with the public. No factual evidence has been presented to document the success of this type of signing in reducing pedestrian accidents, operating speeds or legal liability. Studies have shown that many types of signs attempting to warn of normal conditions in residential areas, or conditions that are not always present, have failed to achieve the desired safety benefits.

Children should not be encouraged to play in the roadway. If signs encourage parents and children to believe they have an added degree of protection, which the signs do not and cannot provide, this can result in a disservice. This type of signing has long been rejected since it is a direct and open suggestion that this behavior is acceptable.

For these reasons, ODOT does not provide CHILDREN AT PLAY or similar signing. This type of signing is not recommended for use on any roadway at any time.

Children at Play Signs - Seldom Effective, and Usually Unnecessary and Confusing - from the University of New Hampshire Technology Transfer Center


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