City Policy on Children at Play Signs
The City of Grand Forks often receives requests to install signs warning drivers of the possible presence of children at play. Concerned citizens fail to realize that these signs are deceiving and ineffective. Drivers already expect the presence of children in residential areas, especially at certain times, and studies show that devices attempting to warn motorists of normal conditions or conditions that are not always present fail to achieve the desired safety benefits.
"Children at Play" signs also tend to create a false sense of security for parents and children who believe
the signs provide an added degree of protection when motorists, particularly local ones, actually pay little attention to them. The use of Children at Play and similar signs such as Slow or Slow - Entering Residential Area has long been discouraged since these signs are a direct and open suggestion to small children that sitting or lying down in the roadway is acceptable. Parents also seem to believe such signs may help reduce speeds. There is no evidence that these signs prevent accidents or reduce the speed of vehicles. If problems with speeding exist, stricter enforcement should be sought from law enforcement authorities.
The City of Grand Forks is very concerned about child safety and if Children at Play signs were effective, these traffic control devices would be installed on every City street where children lived or visited.
Unfortunately, these signs do not help and if posted would lead to a proliferation of signs that drivers would ignore without achieving the desired safety.
Most importantly, parents should teach children the dangers of playing in or near roadways and strongly discourage them from doing so. The City provides neighborhood parks where children can play safely with proper supervision. Safe playgrounds are also provided at many elementary school sites.