Walker County hot car death first of 2016 in the nation - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Walker County hot car death first of 2016 in the nation

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Thirteen-month-old Shadoe Braxton Pate died of heatstroke on a cold January day, after his grandmother told police she left him alone in the car for more than five hours.

Pate's death is the first hot car death in January in the United States in more than 15 years, according to the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science.
Channel 3 is learning even if a car is parked outside in colder weather, the temperature inside the car can reach more than 100 degrees in less than 30 minutes.

READ MORE: Walker woman charged in death of grand child

"This is not something we hear about in January in this part of the country, it's something we normally hear about you know May through September," said Sheriff Steve Wilson.

A grandmother is charged with 2nd degree murder, and cruelty to children, in the death of her 13-month-old grandson.

Sheriff Wilson says 47-year-old Barbara Pemberton knowingly left the child alone in the car for more than five hours while she visited with friends.

"Maybe looked out the window toward the child on several occasions, but there's not evidence that she ever went back out to the car to check on the child," Sheriff Wilson said.

The car was left running, with the heat on.
13-month-old Shadoe Braxton Pate died of heatstroke.

"The inside temperature of that car swelled way past 100 degrees Fahrenheit," Sheriff Wilson said.
Pate's death is the first car-related heatstroke death this year.
But national statistics show more than 20 children have died from hot car deaths in the winter months since 2000.

"We hear about it more in the summer because it is hot, it gets so hot especially in the South, but it could happen at anytime," said Donna McBride, Erlanger Children's Hospital

Donna McBride works as an educator at Erlanger Children's Hospital and her message to parents and caregivers is simple.

"Never leave a child in a car unattended, period," McBride said, "No matter what the weather, no matter what the day, no matter what your schedule, it's just a no-no. If you do that, you're good."

Even in the winter months, the inside of a car can rise above 100 degrees within 30 minutes, and a child's body temperature warms 3 to 5 times faster than an adult's.

"80 percent of the temperature rises in the first ten minutes, so people think, oh it's going to be five minutes I'll be fine, I'll be back, they could go back and find their child dead," McBride said.
According to the child's obituary, a memorial service will be held Tuesday in Fort Oglethorpe for friends and family.
The child's grandmother is now out of jail on a $100,000 bond.

While Pate's death marks the first hot car death of 2016, an average of 35 children die each year from being left inside a car. More than half of those deaths are reported as accidental.

To read more information and statistics, click here.

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