What is the status of the “Children at Play” sign?
What is the status of the “Children at Play” sign? I cannot find it in the National MUTCD or the Cornell Local Roads Traffic Sign Handbook for Local Roads.
The “Children at Play” sign (NYW 7-4) can be found in the New York State Supplement in Section 2C.112. It is not in the National MUTCD.
NYS Supplement guidance for this sign is as follows:
“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.”
Studies have found that excessive use of this sign causes drivers to develop an insensitivity to the to the sign’s intended goal. It is recommended to use this sign only in limited critical situations. The placement of an old “big wheel” near the road edge during children play times, removing it when no children are playing, may yield better results. Because it is an optional sign with limited success in real world applications, it is not included in the Traffic Sign Handbook for Local Roads. New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal (NYMIR) recommends more specific condition warning signs be considered to get the attention of the road user in a more efficient manner, such as a playground sign. The use of Children at Play signs should only be used when there is an engineering need to do so. They should NOT be used for political reasons, or to appease vocal residents.
New York State Supplement to the MUTCD, 2011 Edition (PDF), New York State Department of Transportation, effective March 16, 2011.
New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal Handbook, General Liability, Children at Play Signs, June 2011. (members only)