Birthdays in Australia will be a bit more somber for kids after a newly released set of hygiene rules.
Children will now be banned from the tradition of blowing out birthday candles at school in an effort to decrease the spread of germs. The guidelines were issued Tuesday by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council.
An article by Yahoo! News writes that the candle banning is just one aspect of the enormous set of national hygiene guidelines aimed at childcare practices. The new rules also target doctors who allow sick children to return to school by giving daycare centers the right to disregard wellness notes in favor of “government-determined exclusion periods” for illness.
Kate Elliss, Australia’s Minister for Early Childhood and Child Care, explained the thought behind the new regulations:
“We introduced new national standards to lift the quality of child care across Australia because we believe parents deserve peace of mind when they drop their child off they are receiving quality care to a high standard. All services across the country will be assessed and rated against new National Quality Standard which will ensure that services are meeting basic requirements including children’s health, safety and well-being.”
The Daily Telegraph reports that the guidelines will also require childcare workers to clean floors, cushions, doorknobs, and toys each day. However, the ban on traditional birthday candle blowing is what seems to be irritating people the most.
The Australian Medical Association agrees that the rules may be a bit heavy-handed. Steve Hambleton, the association’s president, expressed his feelings on the matter:
“If you live in a plastic bubble you’re going to get infections (later in life) that you can’t handle. 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?”
Australian officials do not seek to ban school birthday celebrations altogether. They have offered suggestions for making the special day a little safer:
“Children love to blow out their candles while their friends are singing “Happy Birthday.” 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.”
Do you think Australia’s ban on birthday traditions goes too far in its attempt to protect kids?