How to put someone in the recovery position

  • Recovery position 2
  • Recovery position 3
  • Recovery position 4
  • Recovery position 1
Year: Year 5–6, Year 7–8, Year 9–10, Year 11–12
Targeted Drugs: ,

Putting someone in the recovery position

If a person is unconscious, or non-responsive but breathing, they should be placed in the recovery position while waiting for help to arrive (see Helping someone who has taken an illegal drug). If they are left lying on their back they could suffocate on their vomit or their tongue could block their airway. Putting someone in the recovery position will help to keep the airways open.

To place someone in the recovery position:

1. Kneel beside the person.
2. Straighten their arms and legs.                                                         teenager putting peers into recovery position
 
3. Fold the arm closest to you over their chest.                                   teenager putting peer into recovery position
 
 
4. Place the other arm at a right angle to their body.                        teenager putting peer into recovery position 
 
 
5. Get the leg closest to you and bend the knee.                      teenager putting peer into recovery position
 
6. While supporting the person’s head and neck, gently take the bent knee closest to you and very gently roll the person  away from you. Adjust the upper leg, so both the hip and knee are bent at right angles. Ensure the person is steady and cannot roll.  
                                                                                            teenager putting peer into recovery position
 
7. Tilt the head back and make sure the airways are clear and open
 

                                                                                     teenager putting peer into recovery position

 

Find out more about how to help someone who has taken an illegal drug.  

 

 

Evidence Base

This factsheet was developed following expert review by researchers at the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW and the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University. See Teacher bookletParent Booklet or Student Booklet for more information.