Hospitals are sending patients home into the sole care of young children, according to a Barnardoâ€™s investigation.
It says kids as young as four are looking after their sick parents.
Chief executive Javed Khan said: â€œMany health professionals simply treat the person in front of them rather than ask questions about whoâ€™s caring for them when they go home. Caring can take a huge toll on childrenâ€™s wellbeing and future chances.â€
There are nearly 700,000 young carers in the UK, according to stats from the BBC and Nottingham University.
Barnardoâ€™s believes numbers have increased as more families struggle for support because of cuts. Their average age is 12 and some work more than 30 hours a week, cooking, cleaning and shopping.
Barnardoâ€™s survey of young carers:
Nearest tube: Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
Nearest Railway Station: Elephant & Castle
Buses from Elephant and Castle: ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45