Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has just declared that children should no longer be allowed to blow out candles on birthday cakes at parties. The official guidelines state:
‘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.’
Australian news organizations are reporting that doctors are speaking out against the candle ban, saying that it goes too far. 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?"
Aussie Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, categorically rejects the outcry that the new guidelines go too far. The minister told 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..."
If the new directive for birthday cakes sounds like it's going a bit too far, wait until you learn about the other instructions from the NHMRC. Children playing in sandboxes are now expected to wash their hands with sanitizer, before and after digging in the sand.
The possible overuse of hand sanitizer has been the subject of much discussion in the medical community. Lisa Adams, a certified Nurse Practitioner at Paoli Hospital in Philadelphia addressed the question, "Could I be using hand sanitizer too frequently?"
By over-cleaning your hands and protecting yourself too much, you could actually be increasing your chances of getting sick by not allowing your body the opportunity to be exposed to bacteria or germs. A little sniffling and sneezing now and then can actually be good for you.
The news of Australia's "birthday cake ban" (it's not really a ban, more of a strong guideline) caught fire on Twitter and seems to have forced one of the country's health minsters to respond in the social media world. Witness the tweet from Kate Ellis, Minister for Early Childhood and Childcare.
Where do you stand on the idea of stopping kids from blowing out candles on birthday cakes? Take our Blaze Poll.