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ER doctor says life jackets a must in murky lake water

Dr. Steve Martin said lifejackets are especially necessary in murky water. (KRCG)

June is Summer Safety Month, and with the warm weather comes swimming season.

In this week's Family First segment, KRCG 13 spoke with SSM Health physician Dr. Steve Martin about how to stay safe in any swimming situation.

Dr. Martin said he's all too familiar with the dangers of swimming, especially in a lake environment. "Number one, you just can't see in lake water. So if somebody is going under, they could be two or three feet from you, and you might not be able to help them," he said.

According to Dr. Martin, murky water can seriously increase the chance for accidental drowning. He said that means life jackets are a must at the lake: "In an environment where you can't see underneath the water, things can happen so quickly that if they don't have a life preserver, if they go under, they may not come up, and you may not be able to find them."

He said anyone swimming in murky lake water or riding or driving any watercraft needs to wear a life jacket , regardless of swimming skill or age."The number one thing with us living at the lake is nobody gets into the water without a life jacket on, and that includes me," Dr. Martin said.

As both a father and a physician, Dr. Martin said he's learned children pick up on their parents habits, especially when it comes to safety. "A lot of what kids learn is through example," he said. "If you're preaching one thing and doing another then they're not going to take you seriously."

This summer, Dr. Martin suggests setting the example and wearing a life jacket at the lake - no matter how good a swimmer you think you are.

Watch KRCG 13 at 5 p.m. next Friday for our next Family First topic - we'll talk with a health expert about how to prevent and treat bug bites this summer.

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