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              In this Feb. 19, 2010 photo released by the British Ministry of Defense, MOD, shows Florence Green, left, on her 109th birthday being presented with a birthday cake by LAC Hannah Shaw on behalf of the RAF at her home in King  In this Feb. 19, 2010 photo released by the British Ministry of Defense, MOD, shows Florence Green, left, on her 109th birthday being presented with a birthday cake by LAC Hannah Shaw on behalf of the RAF at her home in King's Lynn, east England. Florence Green, the world's last known veteran of World War I, has died at the age of 110, the care home where she lived said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Sac Chris Hill/MoD, HO) NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.   

New health guidelines: no birthday cake candles allowed for Australian children

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

New child-care guidelines from Australian health officials will make blowing out candles on birthday cakes a thing of the past down under.

According to new hygiene rules for child-care centers from Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council, blowing out birthday cake candle spreads germs and should be avoided.

“Many children like to bring a cake to share with their friends on their birthday,” the guidelines explain. “Children love to blow out their candles while their friends are singing ‘Happy birthday’. Cakes and candles may also be brought into the education and care service for other special occasions.”

The NHMRC advises that to “prevent the spread of germs,” children should blow out a candle on a single piece or a separate cupcake.

Other regulations contained in the nearly 200-page guidance on childcare include regulations on sandbox play (adults and children must wash their hands with soap or sanitizer before and after play), play dough (wash hands before and after, and provide a different untouched batch each day), as well as require child-care centers to wash door handles, cushions, and toys at the end of each day.

While the guidelines are aimed at curbing the spread of illness, the Australian Medical Association has warned against overly sensitive guidance that puts “kids in a bubble,” according to the Sydney Daily Telegraph.

“If you live in a plastic bubble you’re going to get infections [later in life] that you can’t handle,” AMA president Steve Hambleton said, according to the Telegraph. “It’s normal and healthy to be exposed to a certain amount of environmental antigens that build up our immune systems.”

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, who helped to launch the guidance, said that the proposal is just advice at this point, The West Australian reported.

“They are not rules, and we’re not policing them,” she told ABC Radio in Melbourne.

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