donate icon DONATE

At Shriners Children’s, our team of world-renowned burn care specialists provides hope and life-changing care to children with all types of burns, from superficial injuries to large burns requiring an intensive level of care.

Since the 1960s, Shriners Children’s has pioneered in the world of burn care, contributing to major advancements in acute and reconstructive burn care for children. Shriners Children's has been an innovator in the development of research and education. These efforts have dramatically improved survival rates over the last 50 years. If your child is burned, know that our multidisciplinary team has the expertise to care for your child and guide you through every step of the healing process.

Shriners Children's Burn Care Accreditation

Three Shriners Children's locations providing burn care are accredited by the American Burn Association (ABA) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) as verified pediatric burn centers.

We have a strong connection to and history with the ABA. All of the Shriners Children's burn care chiefs of staff at the above locations have been presidents of the ABA. These distinctions display the depth of the burn care support services we provide, as well as the vast amounts of research we lead on behalf of our patients and children around the world who’ve been burned.

Fourth Degree Burns

The most severe and potentially life-threatening burn is a fourth degree burn. Fourth degree burns are the highest degree of burn. They affect all layers of the skin, muscles, tendons and even bone.

Fourth degree burns are serious and painful, and they leave parents desperate to find relief and expert care for their child. At Shriners Children’s, all the specialists your child may need will be available when you come for care. Your child’s surgeons, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and care managers understand the concerns of children and parents navigating this journey.

Specialists in Acute Burn Care

At Shriners Children’s, your child will be cared for by medical leaders in burn care. We understand just how traumatic a burn injury of this magnitude can be. Our team of surgical specialists will assess your child’s burn injury and develop a treatment plan to produce the best outcomes. This often begins with excising and grafting the burn as soon as possible after the injury. This process reduces the risk of infection, usually resulting in a shorter hospital stay.

Skin grafting is highly effective in closing acute wounds quickly to help regulate body temperature, prevent infection and allow for proper body fluids to continue functioning. To further prevent infection, wounds are expertly cleaned and an extended stay in our pediatric intensive care ensures your child a successful recovery.

Child life specialists are available to reduce the stresses associated with staying in the hospital and they help teach your child coping skills. They accomplish this by providing opportunities for your child to play, learn and interact with others in an emotionally safe environment.

Continued Care Supports a Life Without Limits

Shriners Children's believes in providing children with severe burn injuries the type of care that supports an opportunity for that child to live a "life without limits," despite their injuries. This includes ongoing scar management as the child grows into adulthood. Occupational and physical therapists also work with children to develop the tools they need to regain their mobility and achieve the best outcomes.

Family-Centered Healing

Shriners Children's knows that a burn injury is life altering both for the child and for the family. That's why we offer full support and instruction for the child's care provider before going home. Patients and their family members also have access to psychological therapy during their in-patient stay, and throughout their extended care at Shriners Children's.

To assist patients and families with returning home, Shriners Children's offers a school re-entry program. Managed by our child life staff and psychologists, the purpose of the program is to ease a child's transition back into their school and community. Our child life staff can share presentations and videos with your child's school or even accompany your child back into the classroom to talk with their fellow students and teachers.

Specific treatments and services may vary by location. Please contact a specific location for more information.

Learn About Fourth Degree Burns

Fourth degree burns are the highest level of burns and have the potential to be life-threatening. They are the most severe and deepest injury; affecting all layers of the skin, muscles, tendons and bones.

Treatments for Fourth Degree Burns

After your child is referred by an emergency provider, you will have access to Shriners Children's world-renowned, specialized pediatric acute burn care. Accredited by the American Burn Association (ABA), Shriners Children's provides excellence in pediatric acute burn care.

Read more about fourth degree burn treatments here and the most common below.

Acute Level Burn Care

Once admitted to Shriners Children's pediatric intensive care unit, wounds are debrided, or thoroughly cleaned, to prevent infection. Fourth degree burns and third degree burns that cover large areas of the body will usually be taken to surgery for skin grafts.

Skin Grafting

Skin grafting is highly effective in closing acute wounds quickly to help regulate body temperature, prevent infection and allow for proper body fluids to continue functioning. Donor grafts are used as a bio-medical bandage, and are changed about every two weeks until the child's tissue is ready to accept permanent grafts from an area of their own body that has not been burned.

Burn Surgery

Initial surgery for a child with fourth degree burns will occur quickly after their arrival. At such time, their wounds will be cleaned, or debrided, to prevent infection. Our surgeons will treat the burned area and use skin grafts to cover the burn wounds to prevent infection and begin the process of healing.

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Shriners Children's immediately uses inpatient physical therapy to improve the child's physical mobility after a burn injury. This may include helping the child regain the ability to walk again, or simply use their hands to feed themselves. This bedside intervention helps the child maintain their physical strength and begin the healing process much quicker.

Reconstructive Surgery

Surgical reconstruction can help improve both mobility and cosmetic appearance. Once the child becomes an outpatient and is recovering, a personalized care plan will be put into action. This may include additional skin grafting, and the use of tissue expanders, for instance, to accommodate for a child's growth through adulthood.

The multidisciplinary team approached my recovery from every angle - my physical and emotional health, physical and occupational therapy, and more. I even stayed on track with some school tutoring.
Carrie, Boston
skin graft mesh

Skin Grafting Prevents Infection and Promotes Healing

Skin grafting is highly effective in closing acute wounds quickly to help regulate body temperature, prevent infection and allow for proper body fluids to continue functioning.

Innovative Treatments

View All Related Treatments

Laser Surgery

Shriners Children's uses innovative laser surgery to treat scars, resulting in the best outcomes and overall experience for your child.

Plastic Surgery

Shriners Children’s experienced pediatric plastic surgeons use reconstructive plastic surgery techniques to bring hope and healing to families dealing with differences involving the face, jaw, eyelids, ears, breasts or skin.

Burn Surgery

At Shriners Children’s, our world-class surgical team provides specialized care and life-changing treatment to children with burn injuries.

Revision Surgeries

Severe burns may require surgeries to improve mobility, functionality and reduce the appearance of scars. At Shriners Children’s this is part of a comprehensive care plan developed for your child.

Reconstructive Surgery

Shriners Children’s provides innovative, personalized care for children with reconstructive needs.

Scar Management

As burn wounds heal, Shriners Children’s will develop a scar management plan tailored to your child’s needs. Laser technology is very effective at reducing scars and improving their overall appearance.

Skin Grafting

Shriners Children’s is advancing care and healing for children with burns. When a part of the body loses its protective covering, we can perform skin grafting, which is a transplantation of skin from one area of the body to another.

Next Steps

Request an Appointment

Families and caregivers seeking treatment should start by contacting us for an appointment.

Log in to the Patient Portal

Parents and guardians of existing patients can email, request records, schedule appointments and more.

Refer a Patient

Physicians and healthcare providers can request appointments, start transfers or contact us with questions.