First aid: How to place a casualty in the recovery position (adults and children)

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St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity, has teamed up with The News to bring you some simple but life-saving first aid tips. This week: How to place a casualty in the recovery position (adults and children).

If a casualty is unconscious, try to get a response by asking questions and gently shaking his shoulders.

If there is no response, tilt the head back and lift the chin to open his airway.

If he is breathing normally, place him in the recovery position. While waiting for emergency help, keeping the airway of an unconscious casualty open is vital.

Follows these steps to place an adult, or a child over the age of one, in the recovery position:

n Kneel beside the casualty. Remove spectacles and any bulky items from his pockets

n Make sure that both of the casualty’s legs are straight. Place the arm that is nearest to you at right angles to his body with the elbow bent and the palm facing upward

n Bring the arm that is farthest from you across the casualty’s chest and hold the back of his hand against the cheek nearest to you. With your other hand, grasp the far leg just above the knee and pull it up, keeping the foot flat on the ground.

n Keep the casualty’s hand press against his cheek and pull on the far leg to roll the casualty towards you and on to his side

n Adjust the upper leg so that both the hip and the knee are bent at right angles.

n Tilt the casualty’s head back and tilt the chin so that the airway remains open.

n If necessary, adjust the hand under his cheek to keep the airway open.

n If it has not already been done, call 999/112 for emergency help and monitor vital signs while waiting for help to arrive

For those looking for quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones.

For more information about first aid courses, please call 0303 003 0101.