There are dumb rules and regulations, but this one takes the cake. Pardon the pun.

This morning News Limited papers reported that under new National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines kids will be banned from blowing out candles on birthday cakes in the classroom.

According to the article:

The new guidelines state children 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 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 stupidity of this proposal really knows no bounds. Of course the NHMRC does have a point.

Kids blowing out candles can spread germs, just like they can by not washing their hands, sharing hats, sharing food and kissing friends on the cheek in the school ground. But getting exposed to germs is actually part of the process of going to school and developing immunity.

As Cassandra Wilkinson wrote for the IPA, we need to “let kids be kids”.

The stupidity of the proposal has even got the normally active supporters of over-regulation, the Australian Medical Association. According to the AMA’s Steve Hambleton:

“If 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?”.

Of course some people will see this regulation as just a random act of stupidity. But it is not. It is actually just part of the incremental steps of over-regulation in our society that we have allowed to go on without enough questions for far too long.

Ordinarily the bureaucrats attack other people’s liberties and most of us turn the other way because it doesn’t affect us.

This time the bureaucrats have finally hit a sore spot of shared experience. We all like birthday cake and we all remember the joy of blowing out candles. We, at least, want that shared joyful experience for our kids.

Sadly, we should expect more of this to come.


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