Police in Laval say of the 265,000 calls placed to the city's emergency line this year, about 20 per cent were mistakes, and a large number of those came from children playing with old, deactivated cell phones.

Laval police lieutenant Daniel Guérin said about 7,000 calls originated from a child accidentally pressing the emergency call button, or dialing 9-1-1 after a parent programmed the number in the mobile phone.

Guérin said these calls consume valuable time for 9-1-1 operators and divert services from real emergency calls.

Guérin said there's also always a risk when a police car is sent on a call.

“That police car runs a little bit faster because when someone dials 9-1-1, we think that that person is in danger, so that police car can [cause an] accident,” said Guérin.

Guérin said cell phones should not be used as toys for children, and recommends people recycle their old devices properly.