CPR First Aid

The Importance of Recovery Position

The Importance of Recovery Position

A recovery position could potentially save your life, did you know that? If you ever find yourself having trouble breathing or feeling as though you might pass out, you should take this position. The recovery position keeps the airway clear and prevents throat occlusion from the tongue. We’ll talk about the significance of the recovery position and how to do it right in this blog post.

What is the Recovery Position?

The recovery position should be used for a casualty who is unresponsive but breathing and does not have any other life-threatening illnesses.

The recovery position will keep someone’s airway open and clear. It also makes sure that they won’t choke on any liquids or vomit.

When Do You Use Recovery Position?

Once you have followed DRS ABCD and established the casualty is breathing, you need to place them into the recovery position. This is extremely important as it is the best position for an

unconscious, breathing casualty.

​​An unconscious casualty lying on their back can very easily suffocate on their own tongue or stomach contents.

Recovery Position for a Child (1-18 years) or Adult (18+ years)

  • Follow DRS ABCD, and ensure the casualty is breathing effectively.
  • Place both of the casualty’s arms pointing away from you (the closest arm will be across the casualty’s chest).
  • Raise the casualty’s knee closest to you and bend it.
  • Place one hand under the raised knee, and the other arm behind the casualty’s shoulders, and remember to support the neck as best as possible.
  • Make sure you are holding the casualty’s hip so that you can control the roll and not let the casualty fall onto their front.
  • Gently turn the casualty onto their side facing away from you and bend up the raised knee further to the front of the casualty to ensure they don’t roll onto their front.
  • Make sure the casualty’s mouth is at the lowest point so that the stomach contents are able to drain from their mouth.
  • Lift chin forward in open airway position and adjust hand under the cheek as necessary.
  • Continue monitoring DRS ABCD until an ambulance arrives – never leave an unconscious casualty unattended.
  • If injuries allow, turn the casualty to the other side after 30 minutes.


Recovery Position for an Infant (Under 1-Year-Old)

For a baby less than a year old, a modified Recovery Position must be adopted:

  • Cradle the infant in your arms, with their head, tilted downwards on their side to prevent them from suffocating on their tongue or inhaling stomach contents.
  • Monitor and record vital signs – level of response and breathing until medical help arrives.
  • a 1-handed recovery position can be used by placing your fingers supporting the baby’s neck and jaw.
  • The baby should be facing toward the ground so that any vomit or regurgitation will not obstruct their airways.
  • This position also leaves your other hand free to make phone calls (i.e. 000 / 112), open doors, do back blows for choking etc.
  • If you need to walk around with the infant, be very careful not to trip as you can easily cause injury by dropping or falling onto the child.

When Should the Recovery Position Not Be Used?

You should not utilize the recovery position on a person who has had a cardiac arrest, is not breathing, or is breathing irregularly. Lay them flat on their back and start CPR in this situation.

What are the Steps in Doing a Recovery Position?

According to PositiveChoices, here are the following steps in doing a recovery position.

  1. Kneel beside the person.
  2. Straighten their arms and legs.
  3. Fold the arm closest to you over their chest.
  4. Place the other arm at a right angle to their body.                         
  5. Get the leg closest to you and bend the knee.             
  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.

  1. Tilt the head back and make sure the airways are clear and open.

What are the First Aid Courses You Can Study in CPR First Aid Australia?

– If you need a general First Aid qualification, we recommend the NRT LogoHLTAID011 Provide first aid. This also includes CPR qualification. The Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) recommends that this qualification is updated every 3 years.

– If you are looking to just update your CPR qualification then we recommend NRT LogoHLTAID009 Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation.  The Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) recommends that this qualification is updated annually.

– If you are looking for a first aid qualification to work in the childcare industry, and also require Anaphylaxis and Asthma training ONLY, then you should consider NRT LogoHLTAID012 Provide first aid in an education and care setting.

– If you are working with children, you may also be required to obtain first aid training qualifications in Asthma and Anaphylaxis.  You need to check with the employer before enrolling so that the client gets the proper training for their circumstance.

Please note that you still need to confirm with your employer first what qualification you need to take before you book in.

In Australia, workplaces must follow occupational health and safety regulations – amongst others, these specify that businesses and care organizations must have personnel on staff with current, recognised workplace-approved CPR and first aid training.

Click here to view a full list of CPR First Aid courses currently available on RTO’s scope of registration.

Click here to find CPR and first aid courses near you.


RTO No. 21903: CPR First Aid was founded in 2007. We specialize in providing first aid training in CPR, asthma and anaphylaxis for a range of workplaces including childcare, schools and other industries in NSW, VIC, SA, WA and QLD. We are a Registered Training Organization with the Australian Skills Quality Authority (No 21903). Our courses and Units are VET-accredited for workplaces in Australia



The recovery position is important to learn because it could potentially save a life. The recovery position keeps the airway clear and prevents throat occlusion from the tongue. Knowing its purpose, the steps on how to perform it, and when to and when not to use it is also important. To further understand the application for the recovery position, you might want to consider applying for CPR First Aid Classes in Australia.

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