In unresponsive adults and children, it is reasonable to open the airway using the head tilt – chin lift manoeuvre. While the value of maintaining an open / patent airway is recognised, there is insufficient evidence to recommend one specific airway opening technique (ARC Guideline 4).

With reference to ARC guideline 4, airway management in children should be managed the same as adults however we know that the upper airway in infants is easily obstructed because of its small diameter, and as the windpipe is soft, it can become compressed and narrowed if excessive backward head tilt is applied.

Therefore, in infants, the head should be kept in a neutral position and maximum head tilt should not be used. If simple airway manoeuvres (chin lift) do not open the airway, then a slight backwards head tilt may be needed to open the airway.

[Class A; LOE Expert Consensus Opinion].

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Category: Guidelines

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