Skip to main content

Recovery Position

Recovery Position Pronunciation: Re-cov-er-y Po-si-tion (riˈkʌvəri pəˈziSH(ə)n)

Definition: The Recovery Position refers to one of a series of variations on a lateral recumbent or three-quarters prone position of the body, in to which an unconscious but breathing casualty can be placed as part of first aid treatment.

What is the Recovery Position?


The recovery position is designed to keep a person’s airway open and clear while preventing aspiration, which can occur if the person were to remain on their back. It is commonly used in cases of unconsciousness or semi-consciousness where the person is breathing and has a pulse.

Key Facts about the Recovery Position:

  • The recovery position can help ensure the airway remains open and clear in an unconscious person, reducing the risk of choking or aspiration.
  • It involves turning the person onto their side, with the body supported by one leg and one arm.
  • It is crucial to monitor the person’s breathing and responsiveness while they are in the recovery position.
  • Emergency services should be called if the person does not regain consciousness or if their condition worsens.

Recovery Position Usage & Understanding

How to place a person in the Recovery Position?

Here are the basic steps to place someone in the recovery position:

  • Kneel beside the person who is lying on their back.
  • Place the person’s arm nearest to you at a right angle to their body.
  • Take their other arm and fold it so the back of their hand rests against the cheek closest to you, supporting the head.
  • Use your other hand to bend the person’s knee farthest from you to a right angle.
  • Carefully roll the person onto their side by pulling on the bent knee.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Recovery Position

When should the Recovery Position be used?

The Recovery Position should be used for an unconscious person who is breathing and has a pulse, but there is no other immediate life-threatening condition. It helps to keep the airway open and reduces the risk of aspiration.

What should you do after placing a person in the Recovery Position?

After placing a person in the Recovery Position, it’s important to stay with them and monitor their condition while you wait for medical help to arrive. Check their breathing and pulse regularly, and be prepared to commence CPR if necessary.


  1. Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). First aid – Recovery Position. Retrieved July 25, 2023, from
  2. MedlinePlus. (n.d.). Recovery Position. Retrieved July 25, 2023, from