First they take your guns, next is the birthday candles.
Strict new hygiene rules for childcare will wrap kids in a bubble, says AMA
This sort of scene could soon be a thing of the past. Picture: Thinkstock/ Comstock
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KIDS will be banned from blowing out candles on communal birthday cakes, under strict new hygiene rules for childcare.
But doctors warn the latest National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines go too far in "bubble-wrapping" children.
NHMRC is urging childcare centres to stand up to parents who insist on
sending a sick child to daycare - even if they have a medical
certificate. And daycare staff will now have to wash toys, doorknobs, floors and cushion covers every day.
new guidelines state that kids who want to blow out a candle on their
birthday should bring their very own cupcake - to avoid blowing germs
all over a shared cake. "Children love to blow out their candles while their friends are singing 'Happy birthday'," the document says.
"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 says children who play in the sandpit must wash their hands with alcohol sanitiser before and afterwards.
But the Australian Medical Association warned the clean-freak regulations place "kids in a bubble".
somebody sneezes on a cake, I probably don't want to eat it either -
but if you're blowing out candles, how many organisms are transferred to
a communal cake, for goodness' sake?" AMA president Steve Hambleton
told News Ltd. He also criticised the rule requiring children to wash their hands before and after playing in a sandpit.
"Just wash your hands before you eat," he said.
"It's normal and healthy to be exposed to a certain amount of environmental antigens that build up our immune systems.
"If you live in a plastic bubble you're going to get infections (later in life) that you can't handle."
Toughen up, kids - germs can be good for you
The NHMRC document sets out the "exclusion periods" for sick children to stay home, depending on the illness.
It states that centres "will not be influenced by letters from doctors stating that the child can return to care".
may find an exclusion ruling difficult, and some parents may put
pressure on educators to vary the exclusion rules," it says. "These parents are often under pressure themselves to fulfil work, study or other family commitments."
NHMRC says the best way to "avoid stress and conflict between parents
and educators" is to have a written policy setting out when children
must stay home. But Dr Hambelton said a child's GP was in the best position to clear a child for daycare.
don't want to put kids into childcare with infectious diseases but at
times you find a child has a post-viral cough that is not infectious,
and I'm very happy to certify they can go to school," he said. Australian
Childcare Alliance president Gwynn Bridge yesterday said she was
certain that parents did not disinfect the door handles at home every
day, as the new rules will require of centres. "We want children to be healthy but world research is now saying a little bit of dirt is healthy," she said.
Minister Tanya Plibersek, who launched the guidelines yesterday, said
the advice was "if you're sick you should stay home".
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