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Dr. Shapiro completed his undergraduate education at UC San Diego, earning a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and a B.A. in Political Science. He furthered his education at UCLA where he earned a Masters Degree in Public…
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Australia Tells School Children: No Candle Wishes for You
Posted in Parenting Big K... by Dr. Jeremy F. Shapiro on Feb 21, 2013
Not sure if this caught anyone else’s eye in the past 2 weeks but since I feel it goes a bit too far in the name of protecting your child’s health, I’d like to share the specifics of this story with my fellow DailyStrength members and hear everyone sound off.

And please realize I really am all about prevention when it comes to our children’s health; good hand-washing techniques, sneezing into the elbow region and not directly into the hands, staying home from school if any fever in the previous 24 hours but this report that comes from Australia has taken it a step further.

Specifically, in late January, Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council formally stated that children may no longer blow out candles on cakes at school due to the concern of spreading infectious illnesses (AKA germs.) Really? Do we have to go this far in preventing an upper respiratory illness (AKA cold?) And what’s the next step? Children can’t play handball, basketball, or hang on the monkey bars because germs can possibly be spread this way as well. Do we need to put all children in a bubble before heading out the door? Or shall we just have children where disposable gloves all day long and a mask over the mouth?

Not that getting sick is an ideal situation but in the long run, it is how we develop a strong and healthy immune system. Ironic how that works but we do need exposure to germs when we are young to help us out over the long term. So how about no sneezing on birthday cakes (common sense, I know) but we still allow blowing out the candles on the cake? Sounds like a reasonable compromise.

But I guess the individual cupcake business will now be booming in Australia.

- Dr. Jeremy

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I actually think it's a smart move. I'm no doctor but the idea of someone blowing their germs all over food that others are about to consume seems like a logical way to try and prevent the spread of certain diseases. I'm sure that it's not all Carbon Dioxide that comes out of one's mouth when they do this. If we could get a microscopic projection of when someone blows out candles, I bet we would see tiny drops of saliva spraying onto the cake. Gross!
By Jfecteau  Feb 25, 2013
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The reality is that under strict new hygiene rules for CHILDCARE (gov’t funded and only available to those under school age) children who want to blow out a candle on their birthday cake should bring their own cupcake to avoid blowing germs all over a shared cake. The NHMRC is also urging childcare centres to stand up to parents who insist on sending a sick child to day care. I am Australian, have raised two sons, 24 & 21yo, and have never had any experience with a birthday cake being taken to or shared at school. Aussie kids have birthday parties outside of school usually involving a cake to share with friends and candles to blow out. Do American children really take a cake to school to share? Doesn’t that create a scenario where some children feel inferior to others? Do those with dietary restrictions feel left out as they are unable to eat the cake their classmates are enjoying? Do those with allergies simply partake and risk their lives in order to avoid possible future targeting as the ‘odd’ one?
By ovait  Feb 25, 2013
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