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Deciphering Slow Children at Play Signs

September 19, 2019

Schools must take responsibility for the safety of children, which can be strengthened with various types of warning signs. Slow Children At Play signs are commonly used where young kids gather. Here are facts everyone, especially drivers, should know about these child safety signs.

Sign Designs

Usually the word “Slow” is in bold black letters at the top of the sign with an image under it of a kid running, kicking a ball, riding a see-saw or doing some other playful activity. Then a lighter font says “Children At Play” under the image. The sign color is usually yellow like a caution sign, although some backgrounds might have a greener tint.

Slow Children At Play signs are not approved in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), so they mainly serve as an advisory for drivers to slow down. Since these signs are not recommended by MUTCD, which sets national standards for road signs, decision-makers on signage should be aware that such a misplaced sign can create liability.

Place Them Where Children Are Present

The best places to put these signs are wherever children frequently walk or play. The signs can be placed in parking lots adjacent to playing fields.

Aside from schools, other places that post these signs include parks, playgrounds and residential neighborhoods. These signs should not, however, appear on busy public streets or places where children are not expected or permitted to play. In that sense, installing the sign in the wrong location can mislead parents and children that the area is open for children to play.

It’s common in many places for children to throw and catch balls on normally quiet residential streets. It’s also popular for kids to ride scooters and skateboards on these streets. In order to keep neighborhoods safe for children, it’s wise to remind drivers to be alert and watch out for them.

Even though children typically have been taught about the dangers of playing in the street, their focus is often more on having fun. That’s why it’s up to parents, community leaders and drivers alike to take the initiative and be more cognizant of young kids who may not be as careful as they should. The word “Slow” is usually the only term that relates to speed on these signs, as speed limits are usually not included. Even so, speed limit signs should be frequently posted in residential and school areas.


Slow Children At Play signs are not recommended by MUTCD, but they still serve to make motorists aware that children may be present. Contact Zumar at our Arizona, California or Washington location to learn more about how to make streets safer for children with appropriate signage.

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