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How to put someone in the recovery position

The Recovery Position - Adult or Child

Leave a breathing, responsive victim in the position found or a position of comfort, unless you must move the victim to be safe.

Put an unresponsive victim who is breathing in the recovery position. The HAINES (High Arm IN Endangered Spine) recovery position helps keep the airway open, allow fluids to drain from the mouth and prevents the inhalation of stomach contents if the victim vomits. If possible, put the victim on his or her left side to reduce the risk of vomiting.

Recovery Position - Adult

1. Extend the victim's arm that is farther from you above the victim's head.


2. Position the victim's other arm across the chest.


3. Bend the victim's nearer leg at the knee.


4. Put your forearm under the victim's shoulder with your hand around the back of the neck to support the head and neck.


5. Carefully roll the victim away from you by pushing on the victim's flexed knee and lifting with your forearm while your hand stabilizes the head and neck. The victim's head is now supported on the raised arm.  


6. While continuing to support the head and neck, position the victim's hand palm down with fingers under the armpit of the raised arm, with forearm flat on the surface at 90 degrees to the body.


7. Bend both legs so the victim's position is stabilized. 


8. With the victim now in position, open the mouth to allow drainage and monitor breathing.



Recovery Position - Child

1. Hold the infant face down on your arm with the head slightly lower than the body.

2. Support the head and neck with your hand, keeping the mouth and nose clear.


Learn life saving skills with NSC First Aid and CPR. Register for a course online or find a classroom near you.

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