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First Aid: What is the Recovery Position?

The recovery position is used when a person is unconscious but is still breathing. It keeps the airways clear and open and ensures that vomit or other fluids do not cause choking.

To put someone in the recovery position, follow these 10 steps:

  1. Remove glasses if they are wearing them
  2. Kneel on one side of their body and make sure their legs are straight
  3. Place their arm nearest to you at a right angle to their body, palm up
  4. Bring their other arm across their chest and place the back of their hand against their cheek
  5. Raise the knee of their far leg so their foot remains on the floor
  6. Roll them over on their side making sure to support their head
  7. Tilt their head back gently to keep the airways open
  8. Adjust the hand under their cheek so the head points downward to let material drain from the mouth
  9. Bend their upper leg so that their hip and knee are at right angles
  10. Check for breathing and either dial 999 or get someone to do it

After 30 minutes, turn them over on the opposite side to relieve pressure on their lower arm. If breathing stops before help arrives, phone 999 again and begin CPR.

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