Two people in Boyolali, Central Java, died and two others were in critical condition after applying head lice medication on Friday.
Nine-year-old Qaulan Shakila and 4-year-old Khamila were rushed to the Pandan Arang General Hospital in Boyolali after using a solution to treat lice infestation on their heads. The two died shortly after undergoing intensive treatment at the hospital.
The mother of the two toddlers who helped with the lice treatment, Akhir Rutiyani, and the oldest child in the family, 12-year-old Klarisa, are in critical condition.
The incident happened when on Friday night, Akhir used anti-lice solution that she had purchased from a neighbour to treat her two daughters, helped by Klarisa.
An hour after applying the liquid solution, the four individuals in the family complained of nausea before passing out.
Boyolali Police chief Adj. Sr. Commissioner Setyo Budiono said the police were investigating the case by examining the type of anti-lice solution used and collecting information from eyewitnesses.
"It is difficult to determine the cause of death, but the fact is that they use anti-lice solution shortly before death," Setyo said.
He said investigators had sent sample of the medication to the police laboratory in Central Java capital Semarang.
The father of the two children, Hardi, said he was baffled by the incident.
"They have used the medication before and nothing happened. Why now?" he said.