Lead (Pb) is a heavy metal which is abundant in the environment and known to cause neurotoxicity in children even at minute concentration. However, the trace elements calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), zinc (Zn) and iron (Fe) are essential to children due to its protective effect on neurodevelopment. The primary objective of this study was to assess the role of Pb and trace elements in the development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among preschool children. A total of 81 ASD children and 74 typically developed (TD) children aged between 3 and 6 years participated in the study. Self-administered online questionnaires were completed by the parents. A first-morning urine sample was collected in a sterile polyethene urine container and assayed for Pb, Ca, Mg, Zn and Fe using an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Comparisons between groups revealed that the urinary Pb, Mg, Zn and Fe levels in ASD children were significantly lower than TD children. The odds of ASD reduced significantly by 5.0% and 23.0% with an increment of every 1.0 μg/dL urinary Zn and Fe, respectively. Post interaction analysis showed that the odds of ASD reduced significantly by 11.0% and 0.1% with an increment of every 1.0 μg/dL urinary Zn and Pb, respectively. A significantly lower urinary Pb level in ASD children than TD children may be due to their poor detoxifying mechanism. Also, the significantly lower urinary Zn and Fe levels in ASD children may augment the neurotoxic effect of Pb. © 2021. The Author(s).