When an emergency arises and the person who needs help is unconscious, you may not know exactly what to do. After all, they can’t tell you what’s wrong or whether or not you’re hurting them. You don’t know if they’ll choke if you lay them flat or if they’re about to vomit. All of these unknowns may send you into a panic – unless you have proper medical training.

One important lesson taught in basic first aid training is how and when to put someone in the recovery position. Today, we’re going to talk about the recovery position and what you should do when an emergency calls for it. If you haven’t gone to basic first aid classes yet, we’ll also give you some important information about how to get signed up for one with no hassle! Stick around and gain the knowledge you may need to save someone’s life.

What is the recovery position?

The recovery position in first aid training is the way that you pose a person to keep their airway open and prevent vomit or other fluid from blocking their airway when they are unconscious.

Note that if someone has experienced a cardiac arrest, is unconscious and not breathing, or is breathing abnormally, you do not use the recovery position. In this case, lay them flat on their back and begin CPR.

Some situations don’t call for such drastic measures. If the person is still breathing with a strong heartbeat, use the recovery position instead if CPR. 

When should you use the recovery position?

You should use the recovery position if someone is unconscious but still breathing normally and there are no other life-threatening conditions.

For example, if someone passed out from being intoxicated, putting them in the recovery position is a good idea. Whether the person passes out from drinking alcohol or using drugs, using the recovery position until emergency services arrive is the best way to proceed. Why? Because if they continue to lie on their back, they could vomit and suffocate.

As long as the person is not suffering from any life-threatening injury and does not need CPR, the recovery position is the best way to maintain a clear airway until emergency services arrive.

When should you not use the recovery position?

You already know that someone who needs CPR should not be put into the recovery position. A major issue that needs to be addressed, though, is other situations where using the recovery position could cause further harm.

If there is a chance that the person you’re helping may have suffered a spinal injury or other life-threatening injuries, do not move them. Instead, call emergency services and wait for them to arrive. This is the best possible thing you could do because moving them risks further injury.

If you must open the airway of an unconscious person who has suffered these injuries, follow these steps:

  • Place your hands on either side of their head.
  • Gently lift the jaw with your fingertips to open the airway.

Please note that you should do this without moving the person’s neck, as it could worsen their condition.

How do you know if someone has a spinal injury?

Though it may be difficult to know for sure, you should consider the possibility of a spinal injury if the person: 

  • has fallen from a great height
  • was struck directly in the back
  • is complaining of severe pain in their neck or back
  • has lost control of their limbs, bowels, or bladder
  • feels weak or is paralyzed

How do you properly put someone in the recovery position?

After you have determined that using the recovery position is necessary, follow through as quickly and safely as you can. Follow these steps and you will have successfully put your basic first aid training into action!

  • First, lay the person on their back and kneel on the floor beside them.
  • Extend the arm nearest to you at a right angle to the person’s body with the palm facing up.
  • Take the person’s other arm, folding it and pressing it to the cheek closest to you. Hold it in place.
  • Use your other hand to bend the person’s knee (furthest from you) to a right angle.
  • Roll them to their side by pulling gently on the bent knee. Their bent arm supports their head and the other arm prevents you from rolling them too far.
  • Be sure that the bent leg is at a right angle.
  • Tilt the person’s head back and lift their chin to open their airway.

Be sure that nothing else is blocking their airway and then stay with them until emergency services arrive on the scene and take over. Monitor the person for any changes. If they stop breathing, you may need to perform CPR.

Where to get basic first aid training

While reading and following these instructions in an emergency is certainly helpful, there’s a lot more that you need to know. Basic first aid training covers a wide range of emergency scenarios and teaches you how to respond to them.

You may be wondering where to get started. Finding a first aid class near you can be frustrating because there is no guarantee that your schedule works with the limited availability of classes in your area. Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about things like this as much because we have the Internet!

ProCPR first aid training from ProTrainings is a revolutionary way to get the skills you need to save lives. You can get your training entirely online or sign up for blended classes if you prefer hands-on experience. The basic first aid course is affordable and you can learn at your own pace! Plus, you don’t have to pay for the course until after you pass to get your certificate.

At this point, there’s no excuse not to learn these vital skills. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Take a ProCPR first aid course today and you could be the hero that someone needs.

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