These days parents are so concerned about every little thing that even going to a birthday party becomes a three-ring circus.
Bring a snack, but make sure it's nut-free. Don't bother buying gifts, because we've packed everyone a gift bag so nobody feels left out. Things seem normal when the birthday boy's parents bring out a cake, but then they don't put in any birthday candles. What gives?
It turns out more and more parents are skipping this tradition out of concern that it will make their kids sick. The assumption is that blowing out the candles spread germs all over the cake, and that's not entirely wrong.
Earlier this year, the Journal of Food Research published a paper reporting that blowing out candles on a birthday cake increases the amount of bacteria on the frosting by 1,400 percent.
To avoid exposing their little darlings to germs, parents have been keeping candles off their cakes, or making individual birthday cupcakes instead. Inventor Michael Tropeano has has even created a sanitary cake and candle cover to keep germs off the baked goods.
But doctors warn you should take the study with a grain of salt, and have their own suggestions for keeping kids safe from germs at birthday parties.
While the study's results may be true, doctors say even such a big increase in bacteria shouldn't worry parents.
Not all of the bacteria in your mouth (or somebody else's) is bad for you. In fact, most of it helps keep our mouth clean and healthy. Dr. Marc Leavey of the Mercy Physical Physicians had this to say about the research:
“If you bought 14 tickets in the recent Power Ball craze that swept the country, you would have raised the likelihood of your winning the quarter-billion-dollar jackpot by 14 times,” he told Today.
“But the probability remained that you would not have won. Fourteen times a clinically insignificant amount remains a clinically insignificant amount.”
Another doctor points out that a parent's cell phone is more likely to spread germs than a birthday cake. And besides, if you wanted to obsess about every little detail, we wouldn't be serving up an unhealthy birthday cake in the first place.
As long as the birthday boy or girl isn't sick, it seems like there's nothing to fear from a classic candle blow-out.
Still, for parents worrying about the spread of nasty viruses like strep throat, this is cause for concern.
What do you think of this story? Share it and tell us if you'll be changing your family's birthday traditions!