More than a third of parents have considered giving up their job because of childcare costs, a study found.
A survey by the Daycare Trust and Mumsnet also found that around 12 per cent of parents has quit work and one in five has turned down a job offer due to the high cost of childcare.
The survey of 1038 parents also revealed that more than a third pay the same or more for childcare as they do on the rent or mortgage.
Meanwhile 14 per cent of parents said they had resorted to borrowing from friends, family or using credit cards to pay childcare fees.
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The survey is the first to be published since the launch of the Government's Childcare Commission which is looking into ways to make childcare more affordable and increase the number of places available for children.
More than six out ten parents said they would be happy to receive fewer benefits, such as having their child benefit frozen if childcare was made free or more affordable.
But only one in 20 parents supported reducing the number of childcare staff as a way of cutting costs, one of the options currently being considered by the Childcare Commission.
The Government is also looking at allowing childminders to care for more children to reduce the cost of childcare.
However, half of parents thought that childminders should be able to look after no more than three children under the age of five, in-line with current regulations, while one in five thought it should be a maximum of two children per childminder.
77 per cent of parents surveyed were keen for the government and employers to do more to support families with childcare costs.
Anand Shukla, chief executive of the Daycare Trust, said: "This survey clearly sets out just how big a barrier childcare costs are for parents looking to stay in or enter the labour market.
"Affordable, high quality childcare is good for child development, enables families to be financially self-sufficient, and ensures businesses have access to the widest possible pool of talent.
"This survey clearly shows that while parents want affordable childcare they are not prepared for quality to be compromised.
"The government’s new Childcare Commission should pay heed when considering how to ease the burden of childcare costs for parents."
Justine Roberts, chief executive and co-founder of Mumsnet, said: "Today’s figures show just how serious the impact of high childcare costs is. As a nation we spend more on childcare than most others in Western Europe, yet lots of parents are unable to work because childcare costs make it uneconomic."