First Aid Recovery Position during an Emergency

Are you thinking about the position to place an individual so he/she can recover sustained during an emergency situation? The first aid recovery position s are highlighted here in this article.

What is Recovery Position?

According to Wikipedia, the recovery position refers to one of a series of variations on a lateral recumbent or three-quarters prone position of the body, in to which an unconscious but breathing casualty can be placed as part of first aid treatment.

The Recovery Position

Here are the step-by-step ways to put one in  a recovery position during emergency.

  1. Open Airway and Straighten Limbs
  • Place two fingers under the casualty’s chin and one hand on his forehead, and gently tilt his head well back.
  • Straighten his limbs.
  • Tuck the hand nearest to you, arm straight and palm upwards, under his thigh.
  1. Position Far Arm, Hand, and Knee
  • Bring the furthest arm from you across the casualty’s chest.
  • Place his hand, palm outwards, against his cheek.
  • Using your other hand, pull up the casualty’s far leg, just above the knee.
  1. Roll Casualty Towards You
  • Keeping the casualty’s hand pressed against his cheek, pull on the far leg and roll him towards you, until he is lying on his side.
  1. Steady Casualty’s Body
  • Use your knees for support to prevent the casualty from rolling too far forwards.
  • Bend the casualty’s upper leg at the knee so that it is at a right angle to his body.
  1. Make Any Necessary Adjustments
  • Ensure that the casualty’s head is tilted well back to keep his airway open.
  • Check that the casualty’s lower arm is free and lying alongside his back with his palm facing uppermost.
  1. Baby (Under One)
  • Cradle the baby in your arms with his head tilted downwards to prevent him from choking on his tongue or inhaling vomit.
  1. Child (Aged 1-7)
  • Place the child in the recovery position to prevent her from choking on her tongue or inhaling vomit. The procedure for placing her in this position is the same as for an adult.


If you suspect back or neck injuries, modify the recovery position as follows:

  • Ensure that the head and neck are supported at all times;
  • Place the arm furthest from you over the casualty’s chest, not under his cheek.

Breathe for the Casualty

  1. Remove Any Obvious Obstruction
  • Place the casualty flat on his back
  • Check his mouth and, using one finger, remove any obvious obstruction.
  1. Open Airway
  • Place two fingers under the casualty’s chin and one hand on his forehand, and gently tilt the head well back.
  1. Pinch Casualty’s Nose
  • Use your thumb and index finger to pinch the casualty’s nose firmly
  • Make sure that his nostrils are tightly closed to prevent air from escaping.
  1. Give Mouth-to-Mouth Ventilation
  • Take a full breath. Place your lips around the casualty’s lips and make a good seal.
  • Blow into the mouth until the chest rises. Take about two seconds for full inflation.
  1. Repeat Breath and Assess Casualty
  • Keeping your hands in the same position, remove your lips and allow the chest to fall fully.
  • Repeat mouth-to-mouth ventilation once more.
  • Check the pulse and look for signs of recovery.
  • If the pulse is absent, commence Cardio-pulmonary Resuscitation.
  • If the pulse is present, continue with mouth-to-mouth ventilation. Re-check the pulse and look for other signs of recovery after every ten breaths.
  • If breathing returns, place the casualty in the recovery position.

For a baby (Under one) OR a Child (Aged 1 – 7)

Give Mouth-To-Mouth Ventilation For One Minute

  • Carefully remove any obvious obstruction from the mouth.
  • Seal your lips tightly around the mouth and nose for a baby, or just the mouth for a child.
  • Breathe into the lungs until the chest rises.
  • Give five breaths.
  • Check the pulse and look for other signs of recovery.
  • If the pulse is absent, commence Cardio-pulmonary Resuscitation
  • If the pulse is present, continue artificial ventilation for one minute and then call an ambulance.

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