Tips to Be Sure Your Child Is Ready for Burn Camp

Canoes sit on the beach at burn camp.

Burn camp can be the highlight of the year for many kids and teens after burn injury. It can be a life-changing opportunity for forming friendships, finding support, and having fun!  Many kids and teens look forward to burn camp all year long. Camp friends, counselors, and the supportive community where burn scars are normal can be a welcomed part of the warm weather season.

So, how do you know if your burn-injured child is ready for camp?

Here are some tips offered by Brad Wiggins, RN, BSN and Christopher A. Thurber, PhD, ABPP from the Burn Support Magazine article "Burn Camps Offer Unique Growth Opportunities" to help you determine your child's readiness and best fit for camp.


Burn survivors differ in their abilities to manage the stress of a burn injury. Moreover, the size of a survivor’s injury does not necessarily correlate to the amount of stress they may feel as they re-integrate into their community after being discharged from the hospital. Burn camp is a great option for children who

  • Are reluctant to wear shorts or a swimsuit in public areas
  • Have trouble talking about their burn injury with others
  • Have been teased about their burn scars
  • Have never met other young burn survivors
  • Are reluctant to discuss their challenges with their parents

While not all burn survivors may need camp, many who could benefit are afraid to ask about the opportunity. Some youngsters with small burns may even feel unworthy of the experience. Whatever the circumstances, all burn camp programs strive to help the burn patient become a survivor and not a victim.


Two of the best indicators parents can use to gauge their child’s readiness for burn camp are medical stability and emotional enthusiasm. Participants must, at a minimum, be medically stable enough to participate in a rigorous, adventuresome, outdoor experience. Parents should consult their child’s physician and the camp director to determine that the services and programs available at that camp can support a child’s current physical needs and abilities.

Parents can assess enthusiasm by answering a few different questions:

  • Is my child suggesting a camp experience?
  • Has my child responded positively to suggestions about camp?
  • Is my child expressing interest in social activities?
  • Does my child talk about exploring the world beyond his or her school and neighborhood?

In addition, parents should have their son or daughter spend some practice time away from home, without them, in order to gauge their child’s self-reliance. A long weekend at a friend’s or relative’s house or an overnight school trip may give parents clues about their child’s maturity and independence. 

Read the full article to find additional useful information for selecting a burn camp that best fits your child.

Find more information about:

  • Types of burn camps
  • Factors to consider if a child is appropriate for camp
  • Benefits of camp
  • Matching camp parameters to fit your child
  • Quality parameters to consider
  • Preparing your camper


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