Over 100,000 patients are admitted every year to burn centers across the country. While many burns are minor and do not require hospitalization, some burns can be very extensive or deep and may require hospitalization and surgery. Approximately one-third of patients treated for burns are pediatric patients.
Arkansas Children's Hospital is home to Arkansas' ONLY Burn Program. Founded in 1928, the Burn Program has been providing comprehensive, personal care to adult and pediatric patients. On average, the Burn Program admits over 400 patients a year and sees over 2250 outpatient visits.
The Burn Program is at the forefront of medicine, utilizing skin substitutes, advanced skin grafting techniques, reality and other innovative technologies to help patients recover faster, decrease pain and improve cosmetic and functional outcomes.
The Burn Program at Arkansas Children's provides comprehensive, personal care to adult and pediatric patients. We treat and manage thermal, chemical and electrical burn wounds, as well as necrotizing soft tissue injuries, skin sloughing disorders such as toxic epidermal necrolysis (TENS) and Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), and many other injuries.
The Burn Team is unique and comprises of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, a clinical nutritionist, pharmacists, social workers, chaplains, child life specialists, psychologists, rehabilitation specialists, respiratory therapists and a discharge planner. The entire team is dedicated to providing the best burn care in the nation and works with families and patients alike to assist in the recovery process.
What is a 1st Degree burn?
First degree burns involve the top layer (epidermis) of the skin
These are bright pink or red
They usually don't have blisters, although the skin may flake a few days later
These are usually painful
They usually heal within 3-5 days
There is no scarring
What is a 2nd Degree burn?
These involve the bottom layer (dermis) of the skin
These are usually red, pink and moist
Some deeper 2nd-degree burns may be pink or white and dry
These are usually painful
They usually take 2-3 weeks to heal, although deeper 2nd-degree burns may take much longer
Deeper 2nd-degree burns may lead to scarring and contraction
Deeper 2nd degree burns often require skin grafting
Larger and deeper 2nd burns should ALWAYS be seen by a burn specialist
What is a 3rd Degree burn?
All layers of skin are destroyed
These often involve the underlying fat
These are usually white, brown, dry and leather-like
Third Degree burns do not require skin grafting
Third Degree burns cause scarring and contraction
These should ALWAYS be seen by a burn specialist
Who should be evaluated by a Burn Center?
Adult 2nd degree burns > 10% TBSA (total body surface area)
Pediatric 2nd degree burns > 5% TBSA
ANY 3rd-degree burn
Patients with burn and trauma injuries
Burns involving face, hands, feet, genitalia, perineum or crossing major joints
Burn injury with preexisting medical condition that may complicate management
ANY burned child in hospital without facilities to provide care for children
Burn injury in patients who require special social, emotional or rehabilitative intervention
ANY burn that your physician is not comfortable managing
I would like to donate to the burn center. What can I do?
We are extremely grateful for anyone willing to donate as we have numerous projects designed for improving the care of burn survivors around the world.
Everything that we have done wouldn’t have been possible if not for the generous contributions from the public.
Please contact us at 501-364-1635 for more information.
If my child is admitted to the Burn Center, will he/she miss an entire year of school?
With recent advances, it is extremely rare for children, even with large burns, to miss an entire school year.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital also offers in-hospital schooling for patients who are here for longer periods of time.
I want my staff/hospital/school to learn more about burns. What can I do?
What can I do to prevent someone in my house from being burned?
Keep small children out of the kitchen
Turn pot handles away from the edge of the stove
Watch out for electrical cords attached to hot items
Set your water heater to 120 degrees
Keep lighters and matches LOCKED away (not just hidden)
If you have children at home that play with matches or lighters, you can contact the Arkansas Firesetter Intervention, Referral and Education (FIRE) program at 1-800-KID-FIRE
Don’t use gasoline for any reason other than filling your gas tank
Do not smoke while using oxygen
I have scars from an old burn that are painful and don’t allow me to move freely. What can I do?
Our burn surgeons perform burn reconstruction and scar revisions. Call the Burn office at 501-364-1635 for more information.
I was burned and now have light and dark areas (hypo- and hyperpigmented) areas on my skin. Is there something that I can do?
1st and most 2nd degree burns should regain most of the normal skin color after 9-18 month
We do offer some surgical procedures that can help with color changes
Call the Burn office at 501-364-1635 for more information
My child is burned, can I donate skin?
Unfortunately, not as the body will reject someone else’s skin. We do use cadaver skin, and there is always a need for organ and skin donation; you can contact the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency (ARORA) at 501-224-2623 for more information about the Gift of Life.
Do I have to do dressing changes at home?
Yes, we can often have home-health nurses assist and will train caregivers in proper techniques.
Am I awake for dressing changes?
When the dressing changes become minor and you are close to being discharged from the hospital, you will be awake for the dressings to make sure you and/or family can do the dressing changes at home.
Am I awake during surgery?
NO; most of our patients are placed under general anesthesia unless they have significant heart or lung issues.
What is a skin graft?
Skin grafting is the process of “shaving” a thin layer of skin from an unburned area and applying to the burned area after the burned skin is removed.
The area where is the skin is taken from (donor site) usually heals without scarring in 2-3 weeks.
I heard that daily dressing changes and whirlpool therapy are very painful and that patients are always screaming. Is that true?
NO; we do not use whirlpool therapy and some of the newer dressings do not require daily changes.
Our surgeons, anesthesiologist, and nurses are very attentive to the patient’s pain and we strive to minimize patients discomfort.
I have seen pictures of patients with large scars and twisted extremities. Am I going to look like that?
With recent advances in burn care and the use of skin substitutes, we can usually prevent large, thick scars.
Most of our patients regain close to 100% of their pre-injury level of function.
What kind of burn does grease cause?
Grease burns usually cause deeper 2nd-degree and 3rd-degree burns and almost 40% require surgery.
Can soup and sauces cause deeper burns?
Yes, especially in children and the elderly, soups and sauces can cause deep 2nd degree burns.
What can I do to heal faster?
For 1st Degree burns – make sure you apply moisturizer and keep the skin moist
For 2nd and 3rd Degree burns – seek medical attention
For larger burns, we advise a balanced, nutritious diet with extra protein
Nicotine and smoking SIGNIFICANTLY impair the healing process
If advised, therapy is very important and helps patients regain function and may prevent the need for reconstructive surgery.
What is the first thing I should do I when I am burned?
STOP the burning process (STOP, DROP and ROLL)
If small, run the affected area under cool (not cold) water
Cover with a clean dry towel or sheet
Seek medical attention
Do not attempt to treat at home
Get burn prevention information to make your home safer for kids.
Everyone is in danger of a hot tap water burn, but young children and older adults are even more susceptible. Young children just know they can turn the water on and off, if it's too hot they can get burned. Older adults may have problems with lack of sensation, loss of dexterity, and slower reactions.
Heating-related equipment such as space heaters is a leading cause of house fires and fire-related injuries and death. Be smart while using them!
Smoking is a leading cause of house fires and associated burn injuries and deaths. If you want help to quit smoking call 800-QUIT-NOW or go to www.stampoutsmoking.com
Electrical hazards are everywhere! It's very easy for children to come into contact with electrical hazards unless we help protect them. Also, adults can easily get into trouble when they forget to respect electricity. Here are some tips to help keep you safe…and alive!
Camp Sunshine was founded in 1991 as an attempt to promote physical and emotional healing, growth and development of burned children. Children who sustain burn injury have needs which are best met by other burn survivors. Camp Sunshine gives survivors, both adult and pediatric across the state of Arkansas an opportunity to establish lasting friendships, experience personal growth and develop lifelong memories. Camp Sunshine assists in the transformation of Burn Victim to "Burn Survivor."
To attend camp, certain criteria must be met. Future campers must have survived a 10% or greater full thickness burn and may have significant scarring, disability or scarring to the hands or face. The age range is from 4 to 16 years. At 16 a camper becomes a Junior Staff member, at 18 they choose to be a Counselor in Training or a Volunteer in Training. Camp is ongoing for as long as the survivor wishes to attend.
Camp Sunshine is provided free of charge to the camper – all counselors and volunteers attend on a volunteer basis. Funding is totally provided by the Arkansas Professional Fire Fighters who conduct fundraisers throughout each year to raise the thousands of dollars needed. In 2006, Little Rock Fire Fighters introduced a payroll deduction plan to raise their share of the funds.
Camp Sunshine takes place every year on the 3rd weekend in August, commencing the Thursday and runs for 4 days.
For more information, please contact Gretta Wilkinson, RN (Camp Director) at email@example.com.
Physician and Nurses
Emergency Medical Services/Paramedics/First Responders
Designed by the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, this hospital-based program utilizes volunteers to provide peer support to patients and their families. Peer support assists in adapting to a burn injury through sharing similar experiences.
Many people who successfully recover from a burn injury find purpose and meaning by helping others make the transition from burn victim to burn survivor. Those who recover successfully have learned a lot through trial and error and hope to make the road easier for others. The SOAR training program empowers volunteers with information and skills needed to provide appropriate forms of support.
After volunteers have applied to the program and been screened and trained, the program matches them with patients who have been identified as wanting to speak to another burn survivor.
To learn more, please contact our SOAR Coordinator at 501-364-2195 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on any program, please contact us at BurnOutreach@archildrens.org or call 501-364-5359.
Browse the links below for additional information and education.