Blowing Out the Candles Banned for Australian Kids
Birthday parties have provided children a break from the monotony of the school day for as long as anyone can remember. But new health guidelines in Australia are putting an end to a birthday party tradition.
The National Health and Medical Research Council has announced that children can no longer blow out the candles on communal cakes at school birthday parties due to a concern over the spread of germs.
Australian parents are anything but happy over the new health standards. A parent told the Daily Telegraph they think children are being protected too much. “Let the kids be kids, get some germs, build up the immunity, and get on with it. How about the politicians focus on getting other things right.”
Australian medical authorities seem to agree that the rules, though well intentioned, have gone too far. Other rules included for childcare providers are:
- All toys, door handles, floors, bathrooms, and cushion covers have to be washed every day. (That's quite the additional task for a teacher or school janitor)
- Sick children must stay at home whether or not they have a doctor’s note saying that they can go back.
- Kids must wash their hands before and after playing outside.
Even the Australian Medical Association has warned that the new rules may be detrimental, instead of beneficial, to kids’ health.
“These so-called experts who seem to know more about health than doctors, won't be happy until kids are kept in a sterile environment, which will then put the child at risk every time it leaves the house,” said a scrub nurse from New South Wales.
Here in the states, it isn't commonplace to have candles lit in the classroom, but the idea that blowing out candles will spread too many germs seems a bit extreme. Apparently, if cupcakes are brought in, a candle can still be lit. What about the concern over fire hazards if we're talking overall child safety concerns? Having matches, lighters and fire starting devices in schools would be more problematic than the germs spread by blowing out candles, wouldn't it?
Are the new standards going to help keep kids healthy, or has the NHMRC gone too far? Do your kids get to blow out candles at their schools?
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