Call phone are like computers: if it is a few years old, it's already out of date. But as millions of parents update their device, many have been giving their old cell phone to the kids to play with. This, however, has created an unintended problem for 911 call centers.
Many parents don't realize that as a safety feature, any deactivated cell phone can still dial 911. It doesn't matter weather the service is shut off, if it still has juice in the battery or some other power source, it can still call 911. Some will even dial the emergency number simply by pressing 9. So as parents let their preschoolers play with a deactivated cell phone that still has power, it has presented an unintended problem for emergency responders.
So if you want to give your child an old phone as a play prop, please make sure that the power in the battery is completely drained. It may be more fun for kids if the buttons work, but not so much for the police and firefighters who have to chase down rogue calls.