Strict new rules for birthday cakes at childcare

Children will no longer be allowed to blow out candles on a communal birthday cake under strict new hygiene rules for childcare centres.

Doctors have warned that latest National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines go too far in bubble-wrapping children.

Kids celebrating their birthday will have to bring a separate cake with a candle on it, to avoid germs being spread when blowing it out.

They can then provide cupcakes or a communal cake that can be cut and shared for other classmates.

The new rules state daycare staff will now have to wash toys, doorknobs, floors and cushion covers every day to prevent the spread of germs.

And the NHMRC wants childcare centres to stand up to parents who insist on sending a sick child to daycare, even if they have a medical certificate.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) warned the squeaky clean regulations would put kids in a bubble.

"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?"AMA president Steve Hambleton said.

He said it was ridiculous to require children to wash their hands before and after playing in a sand pit.

"It's normal and healthy to be exposed to a certain amount of environmental antigens that build up our immune systems," Dr Hambleton told The Herald Sun.

"If you live in a plastic bubble you're going to get infections (later in life) that you can't handle."

Minister for Early Childhood and Child Care Kate Ellis said the NHMRC's Staying Healthy report would help child care centres provide quality early education and care.

"We introduced new national standards to lift the quality of child care across Australia because we believe parents deserve peace of mind when they drop their child off they are receiving quality care to a high standard," Minister Ellis said.

"The new guide will help providers meet the National Quality Framework by keeping kids healthy and improving childcare services."