Follow these general steps to place someone’s body in the recovery position if they are lying on their back and unconscious but breathing:
- Check for Responsiveness: Gently tap or shake the person and ask loudly, “Are you OK?”
- Call for Help: If the person is unresponsive, call emergency services immediately or instruct someone else to do so. Call 112.
- Assess the Situation: Check for obvious signs of injury, breathing, and whether the person is in immediate danger (e.g., near fire, water, or a busy road).
Placing in the Recovery Position:
- Open Airway: Tilt the person’s head backward by lifting the chin gently. Make sure the airway is clear.
- Check for breathing.
- If no breathing is detected – call 112 and start CPR. Skip the rest of the steps below. If breathing is detected proceed below.
- Arm Position: Extend the arm that is nearest to you, perpendicular to the body.
- Opposite Arm: Take the arm farthest from you and fold it so that the back of the hand is against the cheek nearest to you. Hold it in place as you move on to the next step.
- Leg Position: Take the leg farthest from you and bend the knee, keeping the foot flat on the ground.
- Roll Over: Gently roll the person toward you, being careful to support the head and neck. Aim to roll the person onto their side.
- Adjust Position: The top arm should be supporting the head, and the bent leg should be at a right angle to keep the person from rolling onto their stomach.
- Head Tilt: Ensure the head is tilted back to maintain an open airway. Make any adjustments needed so that the mouth is open and draining, which can help prevent choking on the tongue or any fluids.
- Monitor: Stay with the person and continue to monitor their condition until medical help arrives. Check for any changes in color or breathing.
- Do not use the recovery position if you suspect a spinal injury, if the person is in respiratory distress, or if it contradicts any advice given by healthcare professionals on the scene or over the phone.
- Adapt for Special Circumstances: Pregnant women, for instance, should ideally be rolled onto their left side to improve blood flow to the heart and fetus.
- CPR: If at any point the person stops breathing, and you are trained in CPR, begin administering it immediately.
Consult medical professionals for proper training and procedures regarding the recovery position and other first-aid techniques.