Recovery Position for CPR – Basic Resuscitation Techniques Series -

This is the 3rd installment of our Basic resuscitation techniques series for first aiders. Read the first part here and second part here. In today’s installment, we will discuss in detail the recovery position for cpr.

An unconscious casualty who is breathing should he placed in the recovery mode / position. This position helps prevent the tongue from blocking the throat. Also since the head is lower than the rest of the body, the risk of casualty inhaling stomach contents is reduced.

The head, neck, and back are kept aligned, while the bent limbs keep the body propped in a comfortable and secure position. If you are forced to leave an unconscious casualty unattended, he or she can safely he left in the recovery position while you get help.


  1. Kneel beside the casualty. Before turning him, remove any fragile or bulky objects from his pockets. Open his airway by’ tilting the head and lifting the chin. Straighten his legs. Place the arm nearest to you at right angles to the casualty’s body.
  2. Bring the arm furthest from you across the chest, and place the back of the casualty’s hand against his opposite cheek. With your other hand, pull up the far leg just above the knee, keeping the foot flat on the ground.
  3. Keeping the casualty’s hand pressed against his cheek, pull on the upper leg to roll the casualty towards you and on to his side.
  4. If necessary, wise your knees to support the casualty so that he is prevented from rolling too far forwards.
  5. Tilt the head hack to ensure the airway remains open. 11 necessary adjust the hand under the cheek and adjust the tipper leg so that both the hip and the knee are bent at right angles.


Monitor and record breathing and pulse every ten minutes until help arrives.

Changing recovery position for injuries

You may have to modify the recovery position for certain injuries. For example, a casualty with a spinal injury needs extra support at the head and neck, and the head and trunk need to be aligned at all limes. If limbs are injured and cannot he bent, placing rolled blankets around the casualty, or getting extra helpers to support him, can stop him from toppling forward.

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