The Jaw Thrust Technique – a step by step guide

The aim of the jaw thrust is to open the airway with minimal movement of the cervical spine. It should be performed by trained first aiders when there is a suspicion of a spinal cord injury. In these situations, performing a head tilt chin lift to open the airway would move the cervical spine and has the potential to cause further harm.

How to perform a jaw thrust

  1. Kneel behind the casualty’s head, steady and support the head in the neutral position, head, neck and spine are aligned.
  2. Place your hands on each side of the face with your fingertips at the angle of the jaw (mandible)
  3. Gently lift the jaw to open the airway. Take care not to tilt the neck.
  4. The movement of the jaw moves the tongue forward in the mouth opening the airway
  5. Do not put fingers in the mouth to assist the jaw thrust.


Performing a jaw thrust is a skill which should be formally taught and practiced often by first aiders and first responders. It is surprisingly difficult to maintain an adequate jaw thrust for a prolonged period of time!

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

You may also like...

First aid links

Leave a Reply