Straddle injuries

  • Statewide logo

    This guideline has been adapted for statewide use with the support of the Victorian Paediatric Clinical Network

  • See also

    Acute Scrotal Pain or Swelling

    Key Points

    1. Most injuries are minor
    2. Consider analgesia +/- procedural sedation early for examination
    3. Although infrequently associated with non-accidental injury, if suspected consult a senior doctor and consider advice from the forensic paediatric medical service


    Although most straddle injuries are minor, genital injuries in children often cause great anxiety because of the location and concern for future gynaecological and sexual development. The unoestrogenised pre-pubertal female genital tissues are friable (with excellent blood flow) and lack distensibility and therefore, even minor trauma can cause injury and bleeding which may appear extensive. 

    Urogenital trauma frequently raises the question of non-accidental injury, however it is uncommonly associated with it. It is important to be able to correlate the history of the injury with physical findings on examination. Thorough documentation and appropriate referral of cases suspicious for abuse is a priority of care.


    Red flag features in Red


    • Mechanism of injury
    • Timing and setting of injury
    • First aid provided
    • Ability to pass urine and faeces
    • Other injuries
    • Witnesses
    • Consider if injury is consistent with history, is there a suspicion of non-accidental injury?


    General assessment of the child looking for evidence of other injuries. 

    Examination should be performed only ONCE therefore, consider early involvement of a senior clinician.  If suspicious of non-accidental injury contact the local forensic paediatric medical service. 

    Examination is usually performed in the supine frog-legged position. Explanation and gentle handling of the child is important. Consider analgesia +/- procedural sedation.  

    Document a detailed description of the injury. A clock face can often be used to describe the location of the injury (see diagram below). 

     Straddle Inj

    Features to consider on examination:

    • Can the posterior or upper limit of the wound be seen? If not, examination under anaesthaesia should be considered.
    • Is there an expanding haematoma?
    • Is there any anal or rectal involvement? 

    Assessment and Management:  

    General principles of care 

    If suspicious of non-accidental injury contact the local forensic paediatric medical service. 

    • Compression of bleeding with a clean dressing pad
    • If there is significant vaginal bleeding in older adolescents, the vagina can be packed with a tampon or gauze
    • Use ice packs to reduce bleeding and swelling (avoid directly overlying the clitoris)
    • Irrigate the area with warm water
    • Review tetanus status

    Severity of Injury


    Follow up / Consultation


    (bleeding is minor or has stopped and the child can void spontaneously)


    Salt water baths for comfort

    Topical anaesthetic cream or barrier cream to reduce local pain on micturation

    Reduction in strenuous activity for 24 hours to prevent re-injury

    Simple analgesia



    (Ongoing bleeding, laceration borders not visualised, labia minora tear, unable to void, clinician concern)

    Management as above 

    Consider urethral catheter if unable to void e.g. in the presence of a large vulval hematoma

    Local paediatric team 

    Local Gynaecology service

    Consider consultation with local paediatric team when: 

    Children with non-minor injuries 

    Child unable to pass urine

    Consider transfer when: 

    Child requiring care beyond the comfort level of the hospital 

    For emergency advice and paediatric or neonatal ICU transfers, call the Paediatric Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval (PIPER) Service: 1300 137 650.

    Discharge requirements:

    • Minor injury and able to pass urine 

    Parent Information

    Parent information sheet: link to handout 


    Information specific to Victoria

    Victorian Forensic Paediatric Medical Service (VFPMS) 1300 66 11 42

    Information specific to RCH

    Discuss non-minor injuries with Gynaecology fellow/registrar on-call

    Last Updated January 2019