Suffocation prevention

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Swimming Steve.pngSwimming Alex.png

Suffocation prevention is a feature[1] that prevents the player from suffocating when inside small gaps.

Suffocation prevention covers both sneaking, triggered when the player is in an area less than 1.8 blocks high and at least 1.5 blocks high, and a second pose, commonly referred to as crawling, which occurs when the player is in an area less than 1.5 blocks high.

Entering suffocation prevention[edit]

Suffocation prevention can be initiated in any way that causes the player's head to intersect a collidable block in such a way that the area underneath the block is less than 1.8 blocks. For example:

  • Closing a trapdoor on the player
  • Using a piston to push a block into the player's head
  • Using an ender pearl to teleport into a sufficiently small gap
  • Exiting swimming mode in a one-block-high space
  • Exiting elytra mode in a one-block-high space
  • Having a tree grow over a player
  • Having a shulker box push you down
  • Getting off a pig with a saddle if it's under a one-block-high space
  • Having a boat land on your head. Honey blocks make this easier to replicate
  • In Bedrock Edition it is only possible to enter suffocation prevention by exiting swimming mode in a one-block-high space

In these circumstances, the player automatically switches to a suffocation prevention state. When enough space opens up above the player's head, the player automatically exits this state and begins standing again. When in suffocation prevention, the player travels slower than normal.[more information needed] The sneaking state gives the player identical dimensions to standing. In the crawling form, the player is reduced to 0.625 blocks tall, or 5/8 of a block, meaning that they can crawl over blocks 0.375 blocks tall, or 3/8 blocks tall, the height of a daylight sensor or 3 layers of snow.


Java Edition
1.915w41aWith the advent of elytra, a position similar to suffocation prevention becomes possible. The animation is glitched.
1.1318w07aActual swimming is added, which allows the player to access this position easier. The animation is still glitched.
?Fixed the animation under opaque solid blocks. The player still visually stands up underneath transparent blocks, though.
18w22aFixed the animation under transparent blocks.[2]
pre5The animation is broken again.
pre6Fixed the animation again.[2]
1.13.118w30aThe animation is broken.
1.1419w14aSuffocation prevention is now fixed.
The player now automatically enters suffocation prevention mode when they intersect a block.
19w14bOnly the top half of the player is checked for collision to enter suffocation prevention, rather than the whole body.
Pre-Release 4Suffocation prevention speed has been reduced.
It is no longer possible to sprint while in suffocation prevention.


  • In Bedrock Edition, if a player enters a 2-block-high area of water and swims into a 1-block gap then leaves the water, the player does not suffocate but still continues to swim on land, which is similar to suffocation prevention in Java Edition.[3]


  1. ""I'm sorry Steve. It's for science!""@henrikkniberg, April 2, 2019
  2. a b MC-129863
  3. MCPE-46794 marked "Works as Intended"