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First Aid Tip: Recovery Position

These first aid tips are no substitute for thorough knowledge of first aid.
Attend a
St John Ambulance First Aid Course.


A baby is considered to be less than one year old for the purposes of these instructions.

For a baby less than a year old, a modified recovery position must be adopted.

Cradle the infant in your arms, with his head tilted downwards to prevent him from choking on his tongue or inhaling vomit.

Monitor and record vital signs – level of response, pulse and breathing until medical help arrives.

Child or Adult

Anyone over the age of one year old for the purpose of these instructions.

An unconscious casualty who is breathing but has no other life- threatening conditions should be placed in the recovery position.

  • Turn casualty onto their side.
  • Lift chin forward in open airway position and adjust hand under the cheek as necessary.
  • Check casualty cannot roll forwards or backwards.
  • Monitor breathing and pulse continuously.
  • If injuries allow, turn the casualty to the other side after 30 minutes.


  • If you suspect spinal injury, use the jaw thrust technique. Place your hands on either side of their face. With your fingertips gently lift the jaw to open the airway. Take care not to tilt the casualty’s neck.