If a casualty is unconscious but breathing, it's often a good idea to put them in the recovery position.
Why use the recovery position?
- It prevents the casualty's tongue from blocking their airway
- It promotes drainage of fluids, such as blood or vomit, from their mouth
- It keeps the casualty in a safe position if they have to be left alone
Action – step one
- Kneel beside casualty
- Remove any fragile objects, such as their glasses
- Place the arm nearest you at right angles to casualty’s body, with palm facing upwards
Action – step two
- Bring casualty's far arm across their chest
- Hold back of casualty’s hand against opposite cheek
- With your other hand, pull up the far leg just above the knee, keeping the foot on the ground
Action – step three
- Pull the knee towards you, rolling the casualty towards you and on to their side
- Keep the casualty’s hand pressed against their cheek, as this helps to keep their airway open
- Tilt back their head and adjust the hand under the cheek, if necessary, to ensure head remains tilted
- Check for breathing
- Adjust upper leg so both hip and knee are bent at right angles
- Monitor the casualty’s condition until help arrives
Recovery position for babies
If an infant is unconscious but breathing, hold them on their side, head tilted, as if you were giving them a cuddle, with their head lower than their tummy.