A study by University of Virginia researchers shows those toys at the pediatrician's office can be full of germs.
Two researchers went germ hunting on toys in the offices of five pediatricians in Fairfax during last year's cold and flu season. Their results were released Tuesday at the nation's premier conference on infectious diseases in Washington.
Tests showed fragments of cold viruses on 20 percent of all toys tested.
That includes 20 percent of toys in the "sick child" waiting room, 17 percent in the "well child" waiting room, and 30 percent in a sack of toys that kids are allowed to choose from after being good for a shot.
There is no proof that the remnants themselves can infect, but Dr. Paul Auwaerter of John Hopkins University says their presence suggests a risk.
Doctors have long advised frequent hand-washing to avoid spreading germs.