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Public Works

"Caution Children Playing" signs or "Watch for Children" signs

Why these signs are not used on public streets or lanes

  • Such a sign, if used, would only be advisory and not enforceable.
  • "Caution, Children Playing", or any variation of this, is not recognized by the national Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices or by the Province of Manitoba as an authorized sign. (Therefore, the City is not authorized to install such a sign in the public right-of-way.)
  • Advisory or warning signs are only used to warn of unusual conditions on or adjacent to the roadway.
  • Every neighbourhood has children, so the presence of such signs on some streets and absense of a sign on others would incorrectly imply that children do not live in the area if there is no sign and so drivers do not need to anticipate their presence. (For safety reasons, consistency in traffic signing is essential to convey a clear message to drivers.)
  • Since every street has children, we could end up with a proliferation of these signs resulting in their having little value or meaning.
  • Such signs could be seen to encourage children to play in the streets and therefore, could result in the City assuming liability for child safety with respect to children playing on roadways.
  • Research in several North American jurisdictions has proven that these signs do not reduce pedestrian collisions or lower vehicle speeds.
  • These signs can promote a false sense of security to both children and parents/guardians who assume that motorists will be watching out for them.
  • Such signs do not provide any physical protection for children. There is no substitute for proper supervision and education of children with respect to safety as it relates to traffic.

Last update: October 16, 2015