Children at Play

Department E-mail: engineering@ci.eureka.ca.gov

The City of Eureka often receives requests to install signs warning drivers of the possible presence of "Children at Play." These signs are deceiving and are ineffective.

Drivers should expect the presence of children in residential areas. Studies show that devices attempting to warn motorists of normal conditions or conditions that are not always present do not achieve the desired safety benefits.

Q: Are "Children at Play" signs effective?

A: "Children at Play" signs tend to create a false sense of security for parents and children who believe the signs provide added protection when motorists, particularly local ones, actually pay little attention to them. The use of "Children at Play" and similar signs are not a recognized traffic control device by the State of California. The signs are a direct and open suggestion to small children that playing in or beside the roadway is safe.

Q: How do I get speed limits lowered for children playing in the streets?

A: Concerned citizens often request lower speed limits on residential streets where children are playing. The unposted speed limit on a residential street is automatically 25 MPH and can be enforced. To post lower speed limits is considered by the State of California a speed trap and makes enforcement of such limit illegal.

Q: How can I make my neighborhood a safe place for children to play?

A: Signs that are not necessary confuse drivers and encourage disrespect for all signs. However, signs should be posted, whenever possible, for school zones, pedestrian crossings, playgrounds, and other recreational areas, where a need exists.

Most importantly, parents should never allow their children to play in the street. Neighborhood parks are available in many residential areas where children can play safely with proper supervision.

Q: What is the City’s policy on "Children at Play" signs?

A: The City does not install "Children at Play" and similar signs, "Slow" or "Slow - Entering Residential Area," for the following reasons:

  • These types of signs are not recognized by the State or Federal Highway Administration as official traffic control devices.
  • Placing these signs would suggest that the City allows children to play in the street. The City is unable to assume this responsibility due to the obvious liability associated with it.



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