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  • Writer's pictureFi Ramos

Recovery Position

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

If a person become unconscious and BREATHING normally, we have to turn them onto their side and into the Recovery Position to keep their airway open and maintain their breathing. If we don’t place them in recovery position when they are unresponsive, they may be in danger of choking from vomit, saliva and blood and their tongue may obstruct their airway.

A child and an adult are placed in the recovery position, by being positioned on to their sides (as the above picture).

What to do if a child or adult becomes unconscious and is breathing:

  • If you find a child or an adult collapsed on the floor, start by confirming that they are unconscious and breathing normally

  • Kneel on the floor next to the child or adult and straighten their legs

  • Put the arm nearest to you at a right angle to their body, with bent elbow and their palm facing upwards

  • Carry their other arm over and rest the back of their hand on the cheek nearest to you. Hold their hand in place

  • Bend the knee furthest from you with your free hand, until their foot is positioned on the floor. Adjust their bent leg so that it is at a right angle

  • To maintain a normal breathing, you need to open their airway by gently tilting their head back and lifting their chin. Keep monitoring their breathing and overall condition until emergency help arrives

What to do if a baby becomes unconscious and is breathing:

Cradle your baby in your arms with their head facing downwards to keep their airway open. This way you can also regularly monitor their airway, their breathing and their general condition. By holding them on their side, you are keeping their airway clear and preventing their body to put pressure on their lungs.

By holding them head downwards, you are opening their airway, allowing their tongue flopping forward and preventing it from blocking the airway. You are also allowing drainage by holding their head lower than their stomach and preventing them from breathing in any vomit.

Ask someone to call for an ambulance, if you have to call 999 or 112 for emergency services, activate the speaker function on your phone. Never leave a baby or child on their own.


Written by Fi Ramos, Public Health Nurse & First Aid Instructor at Act2care.

Information on this site is evidence based and provided to create awareness and advice only. If you are worried about a condition, seek medical advice.

Theoretical first aid tips are beneficial, however practical demonstrations and exercises are necessary for gaining high standard of first aid knowledge and skills.

If you are interested in gaining first aid skills, contact Fi to find our more about our paediatric first aid classes at

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