Photo by Jeannie Frey Rhodes

Women with a Cause: Lexlee Overton

Cause: Lexlee’s Kids

More than 15 years ago, attorney Lexlee Overton took on the case of a little girl who was paralyzed from the waist down when her family’s car was hit head on. Although restrained by a seatbelt, the girl had been severely injured because she was too small to be riding in the backseat without a booster seat.

The case affected Overton whose own petite, 8-year-old daughter rode in the backseat of the family car without a booster seat. “I was putting my own daughter in danger,” Overton says.

Despite her daughter’s protests, Overton put her back into a booster seat until she was tall enough to sit in the backseat with the seatbelt correctly resting across her hips and shoulder. Overton then became certified to be a child passenger safety technician and began teaching parents the correct way to install car seats free of charge from her law office.

As time passed, Overton began handling cases of teenagers injured in auto accidents involving distracted driving, which led her to expand her accident prevention efforts. “I decided I really wanted it to grow bigger and have more of an impact,” she says.

In 2010, Overton founded Lexlee’s Kids, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by reducing childhood accidents through safety education, injury awareness and prevention. The organization is the only one in Louisiana dedicated specifically to injury prevention for children, Overton says.

Lexlee’s Kids teaches teenagers about distracted driving and underage drinking and offers impaired-driving simulations as well as educates the community on the proper use of car seats, booster seats and seatbelt fit.

In the 15 years Overton has been checking car seats, only one parent has had their child’s car seat installed correctly, she says. “It just blows my mind how easy it is not to have a child properly restrained,” she says.

State law requires children to sit in a booster seat until they are 6 years old and 60 pounds. The CDC recommends that kids stay in a booster seat until a seatbelt fits properly, around when they reach 57 inches tall.

Lexlee’s Kids also provides bike safety courses and proper bike helmet fittings and offers gun safety awareness programs.

Overton, 49, now a trial lawyer consultant, serves as president of the organization’s eight-member board of directors. To fund its programs, Lexlee’s Kids received nearly $300,000 in grant monies and donations in 2016 and is on par to receive nearly $400,000 in 2017. This funding allowed Lexlee’s Kids to conduct nearly 700 safety education programs and presentations in 2016.

In October, Lexlee’s Kids hosted its first fundraiser, the Safety Supporter Soirée, a murder-mystery dinner and silent auction. Overton is already planning the 2018 fundraiser, with a 1950s theme.

How is your cause making a difference?

We are helping to keep kids safe with our programs ranging from teaching parents and caregivers how to safely install car seats and teaching young children about pedestrian and bike safety to teaching teens the dangers of distracted driving.

What is something we don’t know about Lexlee’s Kids?

Currently, we are taking submissions from local high schools for our Traffic Safety Jamz Video Contest. We will have our Kendra Scott Give Back Night on December 15. In 2018, we will have community wellness fairs, a back-to-school giveaway, and community baby showers in addition to all of our regular safety programs.