The Recovery Position


The recovery position is a technique used in first aid to help victims that are unconscious. Once you arrive on the scene of an accident and assess that the situation is safe, you can start to administer first aid. When the victim is unconscious it is hard to determine whether this person has any neck or spinal injuries. The recovery position is different if there are injuries to this part of the body.

If there are no neck or spinal cord injuries, start with the victim lying on his/her back and the legs straight out. Kneel on one side of the victim and move the arm closest to you so that it is perpendicular to the body and the elbow is flexed. Now take the other arm and let it rest across the body. Take the leg farthest from you and bend it at the knee and pull the thigh towards you. At the same time, pull the shoulder of the same side toward you and roll the whole body so that the victim is facing you and lying on one side. Leave the leg in the bent position.

If there are indications of neck or spinal injuries, you should not move the victim at all, or as little as possible. If you do need to move the victim, the HAINES method is the one most often used. In this recovery position, the victim’s arms are kept above the head when rolling the victim to one side.

The recovery position is recommended for victims that are unconscious, victims of drowning or poisoning or for those who are in danger of not being able to breathe on their own. You should always check to make sure that the airways are open and that the victim is breathing before attempting the recovery position. If the victim is not breathing, you will have to perform CPR and then place this person in the recovery position