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Less is more. Possible ways to improve tuition of the recovery position


Aim To identify what 10–11-year-old children do and do not learn during a 10 min session teaching the recovery position, with a view to suggesting possible improvements in training.

Methods Participants were 148 boys and 144 girls. Before intervention, safety knowledge was assessed in a pencil and paper test. 198 children were taught the recovery position at a safety education centre. Three months later, their attempts to leave a casualty in a safe position were observed, and compared with the attempts of 94 children who had not received training.

Results 19% of the control group and 31% of trained children successfully placed a casualty in the recovery position. Only two of the seven standard routine moves were used by more than 50% of trained children, namely raise the casualty's leg to a flexed position, roll the casualty on to his/her side. Even when performed, these and other individual moves were often not integrated into an effective routine.

Conclusions The implication is that in a short session it is over-ambitious to attempt to teach a complex routine. It is more realistic to focus on a few moves which are easily learnt. The present results suggest that these should be flexing the leg and rolling the casualty on to his/her side. In this study, simply improving the participants' performance of these two moves could increase the number of learners who are successful from less than a third to nearly 50%.

  • Recovery position
  • first aid
  • basic life support
  • training
  • children
  • lay persons
  • resuscitation
  • accident prevention
  • prehospital care
  • first responders
  • psychology

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