Dentist invents plastic shield that fits over birthday cakes so kids can still blow out the candles

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In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people are suddenly rethinking the long-held tradition of blowing out candles on birthday cakes — but a Florida-based dentist has designed a handy invention that’s here to help

With new awareness of just how easily germs can spread from a person’s mouth, the idea of eating something that another person just blew on seems mildly gross at best — and horrifically dangerous at worse.

But just abandoning the tradition seems like a loss, too, so Billy Kay, a dentist from Boca Raton, is launching the Top It Cake Shield: a clear plastic shield that perfectly fits cakes and holds candles so kids can still make their birthday wishes.

Surprise! The Top It Cake Shield fits over cakes and has a place to hold candles, so kids can still blow them out on their birthdays

Surprise! The Top It Cake Shield fits over cakes and has a place to hold candles, so kids can still blow them out on their birthdays

New normal: The Top It Cake Shield is made in Florida from food-grade, FDA-approved recycled polystyrene. It retails for $4.99 to $14.99 and comes in three sizes

New normal: The Top It Cake Shield is made in Florida from food-grade, FDA-approved recycled polystyrene. It retails for $4.99 to $14.99 and comes in three sizes

Doc: Dr. Billy Kay, a dentist from Boca Raton, had considered the bacteria blown on cakes for 30 years but did something about when the pandemic hit the US

Doc: Dr. Billy Kay, a dentist from Boca Raton, had considered the bacteria blown on cakes for 30 years but did something about when the pandemic hit the US

The Top It Cake Shield is made in Florida from food-grade, FDA-approved recycled polystyrene. It includes a border that goes around the cake, as well as a lid with a proprietary track system that can hold most types of candles.

The shield comes in three sizes: There is a $4.99 version that fits a single slice of cake, and two $14.99 versions that fit quarter-sheet cakes and round cakes up to 10 inches.

The shields are now available for pre-order and are expected to ship October 1. 

Kay told the Today show that he’d actually spent 30 years considering how blowing on birthday candles can spread germs.

The idea isn’t new. In fact, research by Clemson University’s Department of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences found that 1,400 per cent more bacteria can be found on the outer icing of a cake that has been blown on compared to a cake that hasn’t been blown on. 

Much needed! A study found that 1,400 per cent more bacteria can be found on the outer icing of a cake that has been blown on compared to a cake that hasn't been blown on

Much needed! A study found that 1,400 per cent more bacteria can be found on the outer icing of a cake that has been blown on compared to a cake that hasn’t been blown on

'Never has something affected us all with such a vengeance and with such devastating consequences like COVID-19,' said Dr. Kay

'Now more than ever, it is unlikely anyone will consider eating cake that someone blows on. This tradition is engrained in cultures throughout the world and needs to be upheld,' he said

‘Never has something affected us all with such a vengeance and with such devastating consequences like COVID-19,’ said Dr. Kay

But when the pandemic hit, Kay realized it was time to do something about it  

‘Never has something affected us all with such a vengeance and with such devastating consequences like COVID-19. In the past, spread of disease came, but was more selective and shorter in duration,’ he said. 

‘We have all now witnessed a global event that has changed our perception of safety.’

So in March, he created a prototype, and by April he’d begun manufacturing it.

‘Now more than ever, it is unlikely anyone will consider eating cake that someone blows on. This tradition is engrained in cultures throughout the world and needs to be upheld,’ he said.  

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