Special Need Signs
“Children at Play”
Columbia does not install “Children at Play” signs for the following reason:
“Children at Play” signs are occasionally requested by citizens. The pros and cons of posting these signs has received much discussion. Columbia uses the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices to evaluate installation of signs. The following points explain why “Children at Play” signs are not recommended:
- A “Children at Play” sign gives no instruction to the motorist.
- Warning signs are intended to advise motorists of an unusual or unexpected condition ahead. Children playing in a residential area is a normal, expected condition and thus the sign will provide no information or safety benefit.
- Warning signs are most effective when used sparingly. Since children live on nearly every residential block, there would have to be signs on each street. Blocks with no signs could have the effect of suggesting no children live in that neighborhood.
- The presence of children in a residential area is ample warning for prudent drivers to exercise caution. In the case of a less prudent driver, it is unlikely a sign will be as useful as parental supervision in safeguarding children.
- If signs encourage parents and children to believe they have an added degree of protection (which the signs do not and cannot provide), a great disservice results.
- Children should be taught to play safely, away from streets.
- Children should be taught to safely cross streets.
- Specific warnings for schools, parks, and cross walks are available for use where indicated by policy.
- If there are safety concerns with other roadway features such as a curve, hill or lack of sidewalks, a traffic safety investigation can be conducted, to verify and possibly mitigate these concerns. Please contact the Public Works Traffic Division.
“Deaf Child” or “Blind Child”
The “Deaf Child” or “Blind Child” special needs sign can provide additional information to the motorist. The sign does not identify which child or where the child is, and the sign is there even when the child may not be. Although we recognize the potential drawbacks to using a Deaf Child or Blind Child sign, the sign does provide useful information about the possibility of an unexpected condition.
Requests for Deaf Child or Blind Child signs are processed with three requirements:
- Provide a note from a doctor stating the “child is unable to hear or see normal traffic noise” or the “child is legally blind.”
- Parents agree to notify Public Works Traffic Division when they move.
- Parents agree to teach the child traffic safety and to supervise child.