Australian kids face ban on blowing out birthday candles

12 Feb 2013, 11:00
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Australian kids

In Australia, kids have been banned from blowing out birthday cake candles.

The old tradition when kids blow out the candles together at a birthday must go or be modified according to the new guidelines on childcare from National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. (NHMRC).


"Children love to blow out their candles while their friends are singing 'Happy birthday'," says the document.


"To prevent the spread of germs when the child blows out the candles, parents should either provide a separate cupcake, with a candle if they wish, for the birthday child and (either) enough cupcakes for all the other children ... (or) a large cake that can be cut and shared".


Other rules for clean childcare include:

  • All toys, door handles, floors, bathrooms and cushion covers must be washed daily.

  • Kids with head lice do not have to go home immediately, but must be treated before they return.

  • Wash hands or use and alcohol-based hand rub before and after playing in the sand pit.

  • Children and staff who are unwell should stay home, even if they do not have an illness that requires exclusion.

  • Centres will refuse doctors' certificates for a sick child to return before they stay-at-home periods set out by the NHMRC.


There are many critics already that think new guidelines go too far. For instance, Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton addressed the new rule:

“If somebody sneezes on a cake, I probably don’t want to eat it either — but if you’re blowing out candles, how many organisms are transferred to a communal cake, for goodness sake?”


At the same time, Australian Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, attempted to clear all the misconceptions and rumble raised by the media in her interview to ABC radio:

“They are not rules and we’re not policing them. These are suggestions for childcare workers if they want to reduce the spread of infections…”

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