- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 7, 2013

New guidelines set by Australian health officials will make party time a little less fun for schoolchildren by banning them from blowing out candles on their birthday cake in efforts to curb the spread of germs.

But doctors warn the latest National Health and Medical Research Council rules go too far in “bubble-wrapping” children, the Sydney Daily Telegraph reports.

The new party-pooping guidelines suggest that children who want to blow out a candle on their birthday should bring their own cupcake and avoid blowing germs all over a communal cake. Day care staff also will have to wash toys, doorknobs, floors and cushion covers on a daily basis, The Telegraph reports.

“Children love to blow out their candles while their friends are singing ‘Happy birthday,’” the document said. “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 NHMRC also requires children who play in sandboxes to wash their hands with alcohol sanitizer before and after playtime.

“If you live in a plastic bubble you’re going to get infections [later in life] that you can’t handle,” Australian Medical Association President Steve Hambleton told The Telegraph. “Just wash your hands before you eat.”

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