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No problem with birthday cakes

- February 6, 2013

Media reports that claim new hygiene rules ban birthday cakes at childcare centres are wrong.

By Lynn Farrell
Integrated services manager 

“People say believe half of what you see; and none of what you hear.”  #

And so it is with today’s media reports about banning communal birthday cakes or blowing out candles in child care centres.

In a word, wrong.

The facts

You might see TV news and current affairs reports tonight that claim the latest National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines – Staying Healthy: Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services – recommend banning the joy of a shared birthday cake.

The guide does no such thing. And at The Infants’ Home, we don’t ban birthday cakes either.

The new edition of Staying Healthy is a valuable resource for services to ensure they have the most up-to-date and well-researched information on minimising the risk of cross infection.

It is a best practice guide, NOT a must do.

The guide says services can make their own decisions about having birthday cakes and blowing out candles.

What we do at The Infants’ Home

For the record, we make our decisions based on the different context and information available to us at any one time. For example:

If a child has a runny nose, there is NO large candle-blowing ceremony. Instead, we might have a small cupcake and candle. The celebration goes ahead.

For ethnic and religious considerations, our practice is to celebrate a child’s birthday – as we would any rite of passage – in whatever way is culturally relevant.

This may or may not include blowing out birthday candles on a cake.

Recommended reading

So while the sillier sections of our media refuse to let the facts get in the way of a good “story”, we recommend you read Staying Healthy: Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services.

The guide also talks about:

Get your copy of the guide here.


# I Heard It Through the Grapevine was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records in 1966, and made famous by Marvin Gaye in a single released in October 1968.

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