Gender reveal parties, in which an expectant couple announces the sex of their baby to friends and family, are socially controversial. Did you know they also have a track record of being fraught with safety hazards and causing accidents?
In light of the recent El Dorado fire in California that was started by gender reveal party pyrotechnics gone wrong, we’ve compiled a list of accidents that took place at gender reveal parties and caused significant personal injury and/or property damage.
California El Dorado Fire, 2020
On Saturday, September 5, 2020, Southern California was experiencing a historic heat wave. That same day, a family in San Bernardino County hosted a gender reveal party in El Dorado Ranch Park. Unfortunately, the “smoke generating pyrotechnic device” they used to reveal the baby’s gender ended up causing a fire that has burned over 14,000 acres (and was still burning at the time of publication). This fire has been named the El Dorado Fire and is one of many fires terrorizing California in a record-breaking wildfire season.
While the family claimed the fire was an accident and cooperated with authorities, they could potentially face misdemeanor or felony charges for burning land they don’t own and starting a fire that destroys structures and other property.
Texas Plane Crash, 2019
On September 7, 2019, a gender reveal party in West Texas ended disastrously: with a plane crash. The pilot was a friend of the couple and was attempting to dump hundreds of gallons of pink water when the plane stalled. The plane was intended for one person, but two were on board. Neither were killed, and the passenger had only minor injuries.
Iowa Woman Killed, 2019
In October 2019, a soon-to-be grandmother was tragically killed in her Iowa home during a gender reveal party. The family had been attempting to make homemade explosives to reveal the news, using gunpowder, colored powder, and metal to create what was essentially a pipe bomb. When it was lit, the gunpowder was trapped inside by tape, which caused the stand to explode. The woman who was hit in the head by the metal was killed instantly.
Australia Car Burnout, 2018
In April 2018, a car burst into flames during a gender reveal party in Australia. The car was being used to emit blue smoke, revealing the coming of a baby boy to onlookers standing along the road. But after the car stopped, it burst into flames. This forced the driver and passengers to escape and abandon the car. While no one was injured, it was very dangerous and could have been devastating for both the people present and the land had the fire spread beyond the car.
Arizona Sawmill Fire, 2017
One of the most famous and destructive gender reveal disasters was the 2017 Sawmill Fire in Arizona, which burned nearly 47,000 acres and caused more than $8 million in damage. On April 23, 2017, in the desert south of Tucson, a gender reveal stunt involving an exploding target ignited the surrounding brush and immediately started a fire. The dad-to-be had created a homemade explosive using Tannerite. After pleading guilty to a misdemeanor for burning forest land, he was sentenced to 5 years’ probation and had to pay over $8 million in restitution.
Safe Gender Reveal Parties
There seems to be a pattern of tragic, destructive accidents being caused by gender reveal parties, more so than other events. If you must host one, don’t buy into the extravagance and put lives and property at risk. Instead, consider doing something simple and classy, like baking a colored cake. While you may want your event to make a splash on social media, you definitely don’t want to be added to this list of those now notorious for the accidents they needlessly caused.