Schools' Reason for Banning Birthday Candles Takes the Cake

Rant 13

birthday cakeI 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

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JessL... JessLogansMommy

Our school doesn't even allow for individual birthday parties, all the kids that month get 1 day.  

missusmc missusmc

I've never understood why you need to have a birthday party at school, and I also don't know of any schools around where I live that allows candles.  I would rather not make a big deal at school and have a super fun surprise waiting for the kiddos for when they get home.

handy... handy0318

In all the schools I attended and my kids have attended, never have I've seen candles on a cake at school.  That said, yeah, I cringe a bit when spray gets on the cake, but I ignore it.


I won't eat birthday cake because of that. B'day cakes have to be one of the most germ ridden surfaces ever. There are way too many viruses out there that weren't around way back when

Laura... LauraKathleen

I don't really have a problem with this.    With awful bugs like the flu and norovirus going around, I think they made a smart decision.  I don't think any kid's life will be ruined because they couldn't blow out a candle at school -- most kids whose parents are willing to send a cake to school will also be willing to have a cake with candles at home, anyway -- and they'll probably be too happy that they are celebrating with friends and eating cake in class to care.

cleig... cleigh717

I'm vegan. I usually can't evn eat the cake.

Lilylady Lilylady

Our school doesn't allow birthday parties anyway. 

Hazel... HazelBroadway

I would love it if public places with kid's toys like daycares/waiting rooms/visitation centers washed the toys everyday.  It would help keep our kids from getting sick as often.  My kids get sick so much since they started going to a visitation place and daycare (since I became a single parent).  It makes it so hard, as I have to miss work and class all the time!  Because I refuse to let my kids spread their germs to everyone else....

bubba258 bubba258

I reckon if those people with "banning power" are so concerned with kids health they should start by banning McDonald's, soft drinks, crappy packaged food aimed at kids with characters on the pack, and numbers listed in the ingredients. These so called foods are affecting kids health and parents just keep on stuffing their 3yr old miniture Jabba The Huts.

Jessica Kelley

Most schools don't allow candles anyway, regardless of germ-factor. And the school my daughter attends requires toys, floors, cushions, etc to be washed down daily. If your kid has never been to daycare then you must have no idea how quickly illness spreads. Wildfire! It's actually state mandated to clean the classroom, especially of small children. Sorry but I disagree with you in regards to the missing plastic bubble. I don't need my kid catching every flu, cold, and rotovirus out there just because you think it's overkill to clean the doorknobs and ban candles. Just my opinion

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