The dangers – physical and psychological – of gender reveal parties

Gender reveal party merchandise, including inflatable blue and pink question marks, party plates and confettiImage copyrightParty Delights
Image caption Party retailers have reported a huge sales increase in gender reveal merchandise

On Saturday, a woman died at a gender reveal party – a celebration announcing whether expectant parents will be having a boy or girl. A piece of shrapnel from a homemade explosive struck Pamela Kreimeyer, 56, in the head and killed her instantly.

Members of the Kreimeyer family had experimented with different kinds of explosive material, the Marion County Sheriff’s office said. They built a contraption to release pink or blue powder revealing the gender of the new baby, which they aimed to film for social media.

But instead, the device exploded like a pipe bomb, sending pieces of metal into the air that hit Ms Kreimeyer, who was standing 45 feet (14 metres) away. Some pieces of debris flew more than 100 yards.

“This family got together for what they thought was going to be a happy event with no intent for anyone to get hurt,” the sheriff’s office said. “This is a reminder that any time someone mixes these things there is a high potential for serious injury or death.”

This is not the first time a gender reveal party has gone dangerously awry.