Is Australia Taking Hygiene Rules Too Far? Country bans kids from blowing out candles on communal birthday cakes


Folks at the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in Australia are being called “party-poopers” after the organization banned birthday boys and girls from blowing out the candles on a cake, if the treat is being shared with peers in a childcare center.

The rules have sparked an outcry among parents and those in the country’s leading health care organizations, including the Australian Medical Association (AMA) who warned the new regulations place “kids in a bubble,” according to a report from The Daily Telegraph.

 The NHMRC said they enacted the ban in an effort to reduce the spread of illness in the country’s childcare facilities.

“Children love to blow out their candles while their friends are singing Happy Birthday,” a document from the NHMRC read. “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.”

The measure is included in a new set of guidelines released by the NHMRC, and designed for the nation’s childcare facilities. The new rules include:

 -      No more communal birthday cakes — kids must bring their own cupcake if they want to blow out a candle.

-       All toys, door handles, floors, bathrooms and cushion covers must be washed daily.

-       Kids with head lice do not have to go home immediately but must be treated before they return.

-       Children must wash hands or use an alcohol-based hand rub before and after playing in the sand pit.

-       Children and staff who are unwell should stay home, even if they do not have an illness that requires exclusion.

-       Centers will refuse doctor’s [notes] for a sick child to return before the stay-at-home periods set out by the NHMRC.  


We think the NHMRC means well, but there might be more than a few disappointed kids on their birthdays. What do you think? Is the NHMRC taking hygiene too far?