The following method shows you how to put someone into the recovery position if you are on your own – even if you think they could have a spinal injury.

For more information as to why the recovery position is so important and why it saves lives; click here

How to put an adult or child into the recovery position 

If you are not worried about a spinal injury, or if they are very heavy, you can just use their knee as a lever to propel them over into a draining position. If you are worried about the possibility of a spinal injury and you have other people to help, it is best to log roll them to keep the spine in line.






Move the arm closest to you out of the way. Use the hand closest to their head to hold their other hand. Put this onto the side of their cheek to support the head and neck as you turn them.

Use your other hand to lift up the outside of their knee. Use this as a lever to pull them over. Pull the knee to the floor, whilst supporting their head and neck with your other hand.





Pull their bent knee upwards into a running position to stabilise their body.





Ensure that they are over enough so that their tongue is flopping forward and any contents of their stomach are able to drain out of their mouth.

If you are not worried about a possible spinal injury, tilt their head back slightly to ensure the airway is properly open. If you are worried about a possible neck injury, just ensure they are rolled over enough to drain.

Keep checking that they are breathing. Feel their breath on the back of your hand. Get the emergency services on the way if they haven’t already been called.





How to put a baby into the recovery position

Option 1: Hold the baby in your arms, on their side, head lower than stomach. Put the back of your hand under their mouth and nose to keep checking that they are breathing. If you are unsure, wet the back of your hand as it makes it more sensitive. Call an ambulance.






Option 2: Roll them into the recovery position on a blanket or coat. Doing so, you will insulate them from the ground. Use a rolled-up jumper or something to keep them on their side. Keep checking that they’re breathing. Call an ambulance.

baby recovery position





Do you want to know more about A New Way of Rolling Someone into the Recovery Position? have a look at this article.


It is strongly advised that you attend a Practical or online First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Please visit or tel 0208 675 4036 for more information about our courses.

First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.

Emma Hammett, First Aid for Life

Tel: 0208 675 4036

First Aid for Life is an award winning First Aid training business that is HSE and Ofqual Approved through Qualsafe Awards. Our trainers are medical and emergency services professionals and our training is tailored to your needs


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