What’s A Birthday Cake Without A Candle On It To Blow

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | February 8, 2013 2:18 PM EST

For young children, the icing on every birthday party is when the people start singing happy birthday and then the celebrant gets to make a wish before blowing the candle on the cake. But Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) found this unhygienic and therefore banned candle blowing on shared birthday cakes. Really now?

According to the NHMRC guidelines, which likewise stated that all toys, doorknobs, floors and cushion covers have to be cleaned daily under strict proposed hygiene rules at every Australian childcare centre, children who want to celebrate their birthday with their classmates at the centre ought to provide separate cupcakes and birthday candles for them to avoid blowing germs all over a shared cake.

Although experts generally want the best for every Australian children as far as their overall health welfare is concerned, most believed the recently implemented guidelines were far exaggerated.

"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?" Steve Hambleton, president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), said.

He likewise pointed out that it's normal and healthy to expose children to a certain amount of environmental antigens in order to strengthen their immune systems as it wards off potential diseases from their small and fragile bodies.

That's why it's ridiculous to always require children to wash their hands before and after playing in a sand pit, he said.

Peta Weston, a director at the Little Bear Child Care Centre, said there is more to children celebrating their birthdays at the center than just those candle blowing routines.

"For some children they don't have the option to have a birthday party, so they celebrate their birthday with other children at the centre," she said.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek meanwhile said that while the guidelines were not strictly enforceable rules for the childcare centre, they are however at risk of future ridicule and shame for implementing improper hygiene rules.

"We're not going to have the cupcake police out but childcare centres know that whatever they can do to reduce infections in childcare centres is going to be good for the kids, it's going to be good for the families that they support and it's going to be good for childcare centres themselves," Ms Plibersek said.

"They are suggestions that childcare centres can follow if they wish to reduce the likelihood of infection going around childcare centres."

"There is no danger that the cupcake police will shut you down for birthday cakes."

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