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Published On: Thu, Feb 7th, 2013

Australia to ban kids from blowing out candles on cakes to reduce the spread of germs

Australian children are to be banned from blowing out candles on birthday cakes under new hygiene regulations that have been slammed by the Australian Medical Association as “bubble-wrapping.”

photo Francesca Cesa Bianchi, Milano

photo Francesca Cesa Bianchi, Milano

According to Australia’s Daily Telegraph, the guidelines, set by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), instruct daycare centers to provide birthday boys and girls with their own individual cupcakes to blow the candles out, to avoid the spread of germs.

The new guidelines state children who want to blow out a candle on their birthday should bring their very own cupcake – to avoid blowing germs all over a shared cake.

“Children love to blow out their candles while their friends are singing ‘Happy birthday’,” the document said. “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.”

Daycare staff should also be required to clean toys, doorknobs, floors and cushion covers with germ-killing disinfectant on a daily basis, while youngsters must wash their hands with alcohol-based sanitizer before and after playing in sandpits, says the NHMRC.

But Australian doctors say the guidelines go too far, noting how exposure to bacteria is essential for the development of a healthy immune system.

“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?” AMA president Steve Hambleton told News Ltd.

“It’s normal and healthy to be exposed to a certain amount of environmental antigens that build up our immune systems. If you live in a plastic bubble you’re going to get infections [later on] that you can’t handle.”

The NHMRC also urged parents to allow their children to stay at home if feeling unwell in order to avoid unnecessarily spreading infections to their school classmates.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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