How can I make a difference? I found myself asking this question over the last 10 years. I ponder this as a mom of two children, David and Callie, and as a lawyer who sees children and their families injured in many different ways. As a mother, I worry about my children. I want them to grow up safe and happy. Today there seems to be so much more to consider to ensure our children’s safety .
But, I must admit that the inspiration for Lexlee’s Kids comes primarily from my role as a lawyer, not as a mother. Each year I see children injured in so many ways that could easily be prevented if only there were more awareness or more accountability. With each injured child I see, I have a stronger commitment to advocating for preventing injuries and keeping kids safe.
About 9 years ago, I met a six year old little girl who had been paralyzed in an automobile crash. Besides the issue of a defective seatbelt, the issue of whether the use of a booster seat may have prevented her injuries from being so severe became prevalent. This little girl’s world was forever changed, and her parents thought she was safe because Louisiana law allows for a 6 year old to be in a seatbelt without any type of child safety seat.
After studying, I discovered that Louisiana’s law is actually in direct opposition to all the leading child safety experts. You see, it’s simple; seatbelts are designed for adults. When a child is not tall enough, a seatbelt will sit inappropriately on the abdomen and neck causing severe injuries. The injuries could damage the internal organs and cause paralysis by making contact with the spinal cord instead of the strong bones of the hips and shoulders. This little girl survived severe internal injuries, but she will never walk again because she was just not tall enough to fit the seatbelt correctly. I couldn’t believe that a simple boost in a booster seat might have made a huge difference in her life.
At the time I was asked to help her and her family, my daughter Callie was 6 years old and riding in a seatbelt. I have to admit that I had no idea what the purpose of a booster seat was and had no idea that having her in a seatbelt could easily have endangered her life. My kids are my world and I would do anything to keep them safe, but at the time I just didn’t have the knowledge.
So I found myself asking, how can I prevent this from happening to another child? How can I make a difference? If one child can be saved because a parent is more aware of the best practices to keep their child safe in a vehicle, that would be making a difference. I soon discovered that Louisiana has a wonderful Task Force that is responsible for educating the community about the benefits of restraint systems in motor vehicles. I was encouraged to become a certified child passenger safety technician, which required a 4 ½ day training. Once I became certified, I began volunteering at community events to teach parents and caregivers how to make their children as safe as possible in vehicles. This led to making my law office a fitting station open to the public for free child seat inspections. I now serve as a Regional Coordinator for the Task Force.
Every time I help a parent understand how to keep their child safe, I feel blessed. I have been so fortunate to work with so many talented people who volunteer passionately to prevent injuries to children.
So, Lexlee’s Kids is about expanding our influence. We are searching and promoting the latest tips for preventing all injuries to children ages 0-18. We will have a special focus on child passenger safety, safe driving in teens and bullying. I want Lexlee’s Kids to be a voice that speaks and lobbies for better regulations and laws to keep our children safe. I have learned that saving the lives of kids is contagious and I hope you will join in my passion. Share your stories, thoughts and tips. Let’s make a difference together; join hands with Lexlee’s Kids in caring for kids safety!