3 Ways to Open the Airway in an Unconscious Person

3 Ways to Open the Airway in an Unconscious Person
3 Ways to Open the Airway in an Unconscious Person

How should you open an airway in an unconscious person?

• Chin down/head up
• Chin tilt/lift head
• Head tilt/ chin lift
• Mouth finger sweep

Answer: Head Tilt/Chin Lift

You should open the airway of an unconscious adult by tilting their head and lifting the chin up. Here’s why…

The head-tilt chin-lift is a simple and reliable method of opening the airway in any person.


This maneuver is used to prevent the tongue from obstructing the airway. Before you attempt to help, be sure you and the victim are in a safe place and call 911.

Once that’s secured, start to perform the procedure by tilting the head backward. You can do this by applying downward pressure to the forehead while lifting the chin up.

Jaw-Thrust Maneuver
This maneuver is used on victims who may have a spinal injury or neck problem. Perform this maneuver by placing the index and middle fingers to physically push the back of the lower jaw upwards while their thumbs push down on the chin to open the mouth.

The Triple Airway Maneuver
The triple airway maneuver is the combination of head extension, mouth opening and jaw thrust, and is considered to be the most effective method for opening the airway.


This method provides a more patent airway than extension of the head without jaw thrust, and is the recommended position for insertion of the laryngeal mask airway (LMA)

The LMA is a medical device that keeps a patient’s airway open during anesthesia or unconsciousness.

Triple Airway Maneuver Example

Knowing and understanding how to perform these techniques could help save someone’s life. They’re simple to do and easy to learn.


~Here’s to Your Survival!

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