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Children Warning Signs

County Engineers/Superintendents of Highways Municipal Engineers/Directors of Public Works/Mayors Consulting Engineers

Neither the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices nor the Standard Highway Signs and Marking book provide a standard symbol warning sign for the following Slow Children Playing or Slow Children at Play signs. Therefore, these signs are not in compliance with the MUTCD.

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), Section 2A.06 Design of Signs, Paragraph 09, requires “All symbols shall be unmistakably similar to, or mirror images of, the adopted symbol signs, all of which are shown in the Standard Highway Signs and Markings book (see Section 1A.11). Symbols and colors shall not be modified unless otherwise provided in this Manual. All symbols and colors for signs not shown in the Standard Highway Signs and Markings book shall follow the procedures for experimentation and change described in Section “1A 10”.

Children warning signs should not be used since they may encourage children to play in the street and may encourage parents to be less vigilant. Such signs also provide no guidance to motorists as to a safe speed, and the sign has no legal basis for determining what a motorist should do. Furthermore, motorists should expect children to be at play in all residential areas, and the lack of signing on some streets may indicate otherwise. The signs are unenforceable and act as another roadside obstacle to pedestrians and errant motorists. Use of these nonstandard signs may also imply that the involved jurisdiction approves of streets as playgrounds, which may result in the jurisdiction being vulnerable to tort liability.