Infant’s death “an unfortunate accident”

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Anderson County Deputy Coroner Don McCown said the death of a 3-month-old infant Friday at a day care on Youth Center Road in the Cheddar community was “an unfortunate accident,” and the day care operator was in no way responsible. He said it is a warning to parents that waterproof, plastic covers should not be used on the mattresses of infants.

McCown said an autopsy found that Tate William Kirby died from asphyxiation. He said that when the day care operator found the baby, he was face down on a plastic mattress cover. McCown said the baby, who was swaddled in a blanket, had rolled over, leaving his face against the plastic.

McCown said Tate’s death was investigated by the Anderson County Child Fatality Team, which has members from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, the coroner’s office, the Department of Social Services and the State Law Enforcement Division.

He said the team concluded that Tate’s death was “an unfortunate accident,” and the day care operator was in no way responsible.

Kirby was at the in-home day care along with the baby’s 5-year-old brother and three other children.

Nick Kirby, the baby’s father, is a youth pastor at the First Baptist Church of Belton. His mother, Whitney Kirby, is a fourth grade teacher in District 2 in Anderson County.

Tate’s memorial is planned at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at the First Baptist Church of Belton. The family will receive visitors following the service.

“In lieu of flowers the family asked for continued prayers of peace, strength and hope that through this darkness Christ will be revealed” the obituary reads. “The family extends its heartfelt appreciation to the members of the community for their tremendous outpouring of prayers, love, care and support.”