Australian kids crushed by new health guidelines
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 01:02
One of the fondest memories anyone can recall as a child is that perfect moment — after everyone has finished saying “happy birthday,” right before you blow out the candles. There are few moments in life when you feel more connected to your family and friends.
It is horrible that kids across Australia can no longer experience this moment in schools.
According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, children are no longer allowed to blow out candles on a communal cake at school.
Their reasoning? It spreads too many germs.
Kate Elliss, Australia’s Minister for Early Childhood and Childcare, explained the measures are being undertaken because the agency “believes that parents deserve peace of mind when they drop their child off they are receiving quality care to a high standard.”
This guideline, among the many new ones in the new National Quality Standard, will be strictly enforced to ensure that “services are meeting basic requirements including children’s health,”said Elliss.
However, it is being met with fierce opposition. A parent complained that this “takes all of the fun out of being a kid.”
Even Australian professionals in the medical field are opposing some of these guidelines. According to the Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Steve Hambleton said living “in a plastic bubble” could lead to kids not being able to build up immunity to certain infections because it is “normal and healthy to be exposed to a certain amount of environmental antigens.”
“This could lead to “infections (later in life) that you can’t handle,” he said.
Most studies done on this topic support the hygiene hypothesis — the belief that, contrary to popular belief, living a germ-free life is not the best situation for building up a strong immune system.
Do these measures seem harsh?
Yes, but for now, if a kid wants to blow out candles on a birthday cake in school, then that person better have brought another cake, or at least enough cupcakes to share with the class.
Many people feel the government should be focusing on more pressing issues. And I couldn’t agree more.
Akshita Sathe is a freshman majoring in psychology and behavioral sciences.