A new safety guideline has banned pre-school kids from blowing the candles on their birthday cakes in school so that ‘dangerous’ germs won’t spread.
Next time your child goes to school, he might not be able to blow out the candles on his birthday cake! Why, you might ask? The reason is to minimise the spread of germs when the candles are blown.
This is part of a new guideline set by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to boost hygiene in pre-schools across Australia according to a report in The Herald Sun.
Guidelines in brief
- No more communal birthday cakes – Kids celebrating their birthday will have to bring their own separate cupcake if they want to blow out the candle. They can choose to bring another communal cake to be shared with the rest of the children or individual cupcakes for each of his peers.
- All doorknobs, toys, floors, bathrooms and cushion covers must be washed daily
- All children are to wash or sanitise their hands before and after using the sandpit
- Children and staff who are unwell are encouraged to stay home even if they do not have a doctor’s certificate for exclusion from communal activities such as school
- Centres will refuse a doctor’s certificate for sick kids to return to school before the stay-at-home period set out by NHMRC
The seemingly strict guideline has come under fire by both parents and doctors alike with doctors warning that these measures are too over-protective and places “kids in a bubble”.
The Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton has been critical of the new guidelines saying, “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?”
Germs can be good for you
Cleanliness might be next to Godliness but it doesn’t mean that getting dirty once in a while isn’t good for you. After all germs are necessary for us to build up our immune and defense systems.
Hambleton agrees saying, “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 [when you’re older] that you can’t handle.”
Although the new guidelines aim to increase hygiene in schools and hopefully decrease the incidence of cleanliness relate health issues, the germaphobe attitude seem a little extreme and rigid.
Yet, do the preschools and NHMRC have due cause since germs and illness spread quickly in schools and they would not want to have a disease outbreak in the schools like the HFMD outbreak we had in Singapore a few years back. What do you think? Take our poll below and tell us what you think.