One mother got the shock of her life when her four-month-old son started having symptoms like persistent vomiting and abnormal eye alignment.
He also had a bulging head, which is a sign of increased brain pressure, according to a report by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) on Thursday (June 9).
This came after she tried to treat his diaper rash with a product called Star Cream, which was recommended by her confinement nanny. The cream had been purchased on online shopping platform Shopee and was used on the infant since he was two weeks old.
Later on, the infant was later found to have developed Cushing's syndrome, a hormonal disorder caused by steroid toxicity.
The boy was taken to the hospital for treatment and while he has since been discharged, HSA added that he will require long-term follow-up so that the side effects can be monitored.
After running tests on the product, HSA shared that it detected a potent steroid called clobetasol propionate and an antifungal called ketoconazole in several samples of the cream.
"These ingredients can pose serious health risks, especially in infants and children, if used without medical supervision," said the report.
Mother riddled with guilt
The 43-year-old mother of the child, who only wants to go by the name Mrs Huang, told Today Online that the entire situation had left her "feeling depressed" and "lacking the mood to do anything".
"I feel very guilty because I was giving my son poison," she shared.
Huang also added that the confinement nanny, who purportedly has more than 10 years of experience with children, had assured her that the product contained no steroids and was an effective way of treating rashes.
To prove her point, the nanny had even shown Huang how the cream had healed a red patch on her son's skin.
"You hear comments [about how good the cream is] from the confinement lady [who has years of experience], you will trust her," said Huang.
Huang had also done her due diligence by reading up about Star Cream online before making the purchase. While doing so, she found positive reviews that said the product contained natural herbal extracts. However, she could not find any details about the ingredients.
According to HSA, the product was marketed as a homemade cream containing natural herbal extracts, with antibacterial and antifungal properties and claimed to have “no steroids”.
Additionally, it was advertised to be “suitable for all skin types”, including skin conditions such as acne, eczema, mosquito bite, psoriasis and skin ringworms.
The seller is currently assisting HSA in its investigations.
HSA has also released an advisory to other sellers and suppliers to stop selling Star Cream "immediately". Anyone who continues to sell the product is liable to be prosecuted and if convicted, may be imprisoned for up to two years and/or fined $10,000.