I think we've all been there -- at a young child's birthday party, cringing a bit when they blow out the candles. You see them puff their cheeks ... and blow all over the cake you're about to eat. Sometimes it takes multiple tries, and with each huff and puff, you see bits of saliva spray the cake. Most of us wince a bit, then get over it (it's cake!), but some schools are so germaphobic that they've decided to ban the practice of kids blowing out birthday candles.
It's happened Down Under where the Australian National Health Council has instituted a ban on this time-honored tradition in schools. They say it spreads too many germs, and if kids want to blow candles, they have to bring their own cupcake and blow upon that only. Talk about party poopers.
It's part of a whole new clean-freak policy they've implemented in the country that includes staff at childcare centers having to "wash toys, door knobs, floors, and cushion covers every day." They have not yet mandated individual plastic bubbles for each child, but that's probably not far behind.
My children have never attended a school at which candles are blown out for birthdays (probably more because of a fire hazard than anything), but it happens at every party we attend. And guess what? We're all just fine. If any of us has gotten ill because of the spit on the cake, we'd never know anyway, because there are so many other germs there from the bounce houses, shared toys, and other activities involved in kids' parties.
The fact is we can't keep our kids away from every germ out there. Experts even tell us it's good for them to be exposed to germs -- it builds up their immune systems. And let's face it, children (and adults) have been eating saliva-speckled cake for hundreds of years and managed just fine, so it's ridiculous to mess with such a fun tradition now. Just let them eat cake!
Do you think banning kids from blowing out birthday candles is a good idea?
Image via AndrewEick/Flickr