Emergency advice

Recovery position for children:

  1. Place nearest arm at right angle.
  2. Put other hand next to cheek.
  3. Bend far knee and  roll them onto their side.
  4. Tilt their head back to open airway.
  5. Call 999.

When a child is in the recovery position their airway is kept open and any vomit would drain away without interfering with their breathing.  

What to do

  1. First aid - call 999 or 112 for emergency help

    If you find a child collapsed, you should first perform a primary survey. If this establishes that they are unresponsive but breathing, put them in the recovery position.  Whilst doing this you should ask someone to get help.

  2. Child recovery position - straighten their legs

    Kneel by the child and straighten their legs.

    • If they are wearing glasses, or have any bulky items in their pockets, remove them.
    • Do not search their pockets for small items.
  3. Child recovery position - place nearest arm at a right angle

    Place the arm that is nearest to you at a right angle to their body, with the elbow bent and their palm facing upwards.

  4. Child recovery position - put other hand next to cheek

    Bring their other arm across their chest and place the back of their hand against the cheek nearest to you, and hold it there.

  5. Child recovery position - bend far knee

    With your other hand, pull their far knee up so that their foot is flat on the floor.

  6. Child recovery position - roll the child towards you

    Keeping the back of the child’s hand pressed against their cheek, pull on the far leg to roll the child towards you on to their side. You can then adjust the top leg so that it is bent at a right angle.

  7. Child recovery position - tilt their head back

    You then need to gently tilt the child’s head back and lift their chin to make sure their airway stays open. You can adjust the hand under their cheek to help keep the airway open.

  8. First aid - call 999 or 112 for emergency help

    Call 999/112 for emergency help if it hasn’t already been done. Monitor their level of response while waiting for help to arrive.

    • If they remain in the recovery position for 30 minutes, roll them into the recovery position on the other side. 

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Related first aid advice

How to do CPR on a child

If a child is unresponsive and not breathing normally you will need to call 999 or 112 for emergency help and perform child CPR straight away. Learn what to do.

How to put a baby in the recovery position

If a baby is not responding to you but breathing normally, it’s safe to put them in the recovery position to keep the airway open and to prevent them from choking. Learn how.

How to put an adult in the recovery position

It’s safe to place someone in the recovery position who is not responding to you but is breathing normally. Learn what to do.

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