A couple is facing charges after authorities said they didn't seek medical care for their young daughter after she nearly drowned at a family gathering in Miami.
Jerry Acosta, 31, and Irma Trejo, 36, both from Lake Worth, were arrested Tuesday on a charge of child neglect with no great bodily harm, according to arrest reports.
The reports said Acosta and Trejo were with their 5-year-old daughter at a June 18 gathering at a home on South Biscayne River Drive in Miami when the little girl nearly drowned.
The next day she was taken to the hospital after she was "displaying weakness and acting lethargic," the reports said.
Investigators said the girl was underwater for an unknown amount of time but her lips were turning blue.
The parents didn't immediately call 911 because the girl was breathing when she came out of the pool, police said.
It wasn't until the next day, when the girl started showing symptoms of a "dry drowning," that the parents sought care, police said.
A woman at the home told NBC 6 that the parents thought they were doing the right thing because the girl seemed to be fine.
“If the girl had been unwell, as they say, she would have been taken to the hospital right away," she said in Spanish. "She spent the whole night until another day. They told me they had taken her.”
"Dry drowning" refers to when a child takes in water through the nose or mouth, causing a spasm in the airway and breathing difficulty.
“When you’re talking about a dry drowning, it’s really more of a small amount of water that can still cause delayed damage and problems," said Dr. Matthew Lickerman, the emergency medical director at HCA Florida Northwest Hospital.
Emergency doctors said any child who may have inhaled water should see a doctor at the first sign of symptoms.
"There is a chance that they, within a day or even longer, there's a delayed period where they could develop what we call laryngospasm, which is just basically spasming within the vocal cords," said Dr. Craig Kushnir of HCA Florida Northwest. And it can lead to lethargy, shortness of breath. And again, these symptoms can be delayed."
The girl has since recovered but during a court hearing Wednesday, a Miami-Dade judge found probable cause for the child neglect charges.
The couple was given bond and released on their own recognizance, but both remained behind bars on immigration holds, records showed.
Sign up for our Breaking newsletter to get the most urgent news stories in your inbox.