Thursday, May 28, 2009
Deaf Child Area, Blind Child Area, Caution: Handicapped Child in Area.
I feel pretty opposed to having a sign like this in front of my house, and I'm not sure why...
Why? Why do these signs make me cringe? I've thought about it a lot over the past year, especially every time I am driving and see a sign like this.
Before doing any research on the issue, I already had a very hard time believing that a sign like this actually works. Does your average person truly slow down and drive with more caution when they see these signs? Do they just ignore it? Does it distract them from driving because they are looking for a disabled child? I gotta be honest and say that I've never driven any differently after seeing one of these signs. Of course, I generally tend to drive the speed limit and be very cautious any time there are CHILDREN playing near the street...with or without disabilities.
I also wonder about the impact that it could have on the child to have a sign like this posted in front of their house. Do they really want to point out to the world every day that they are a "handicapped child?" Is there an implication that they don't have the sense or ability to keep themselves safe, at least as well as anyone else? I think the argument could be made that a child who is deaf, blind, or physically disabled might be more capable of learning to be safe. It seems they may quite possibly learn to use their other senses (as well as a great big dose of common sense) to be aware of dangerous situations out of necessity.
Maybe I would feel differently if I had a child with severe autism, a cognitive disability, or a behavioral disorder who may truly not understand the danger of running into the street. I suppose in these cases there is a chance I might really feel my child is at risk. But would the sign make a difference?
I started thinking that maybe just a "children at play" sign would be better...until I did some research and found an article basically stating that "there is no evidence that special warning signs of this sort reduce driver speeds or crash rates."
The bottom line is that we won't be requesting a sign. If I thought it would work I would be more likely to consider it, but even then it would cause me discomfort. Instead I will teach my kids to be aware of their environment and use common sense. Be cautious, stay away from the road, and pay attention to cars. I plan to get one of those "Slow: Children at Play" driveway safety signs to discourage cars from pulling into my driveway to turn around when we are outside.
I understand that accidents happen, but as their parent I will do my best to keep them safe (as in, I will be ultra paranoid and never let them out of my sight anyway).
I'm curious to hear everybody's thoughts on this. Do you have a sign? Why or why not? Do you pay attention to the signs? Do they change the way you drive? Do you like the signs? How do these signs make you feel? What do you guys think?
Posted by Billie at 12:41 PM