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It’s safe to place someone in the recovery position who is not responding to you but is breathing normally. When someone is put into the recovery position their airway is kept open and any vomit would drain away without interfering with their breathing. The technique described below can be used in adults and children.

What to do

Follow the steps below:

Step 1

If you find someone collapsed, you should first perform a primary survey. If it shows that they are unresponsive but breathing, put them in the recovery position. 

Step 2 

Kneel by the casualty and straighten their legs. If they are wearing glasses, or have any bulky items in their pockets, remove them. Do not search their pockets for small items. 

Step 3 

Place the arm that is nearest to you at a right angle to their body, with the elbow bent and their palm facing upwards. 

Step 4

Bring their other arm across their chest and place the back of their hand against the cheek nearest to you. Hold it there. 

Step 5

With your other hand, pull their far knee up so that their foot is flat on the floor. 

Step 6 

Keeping the back of the casualty’s hand pressed against their cheek, pull on the far leg to roll the casualty towards you on to their side. You can then adjust the top leg so that it is bent at a right angle. 

Step 7

Gently tilt the casualty’s head back and lift their chin to make sure their airway stays open. You can adjust the hand under their cheek to do this. 

Step 8

Call 999/112 for emergency help if it hasn’t already been done. Monitor their level of response while waiting for help to arrive. If they remain in the recovery position for 30 minutes, roll them into the recovery position on the other side. 

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