Less than a third of parents save regularly for their children - with some ending up using the cash they had put aside for their offspring themselves - research has found.
With many parents feeling the squeeze on their finances, one in 50 (2%) parents who had been putting money aside for their children said they ended up using it themselves for other purposes, Nationwide Savings found.
Only 29% of parents surveyed save regularly each week or month for their children.
Overall, more than one in three (36%) parents worry most about not saving enough, when asked: "With regard to saving for your children, what are you most worried about?"
One in eight (12%) parents surveyed worry most about whether their child will ever be able to afford a home of their own or even manage themselves financially.
Meanwhile, one in 25 (4%) said their greatest concern is that their child would expect them to contribute to a deposit for a home, the research among 2,000 parents with children aged up to 18 years old found.
More than one in five (21%) parents surveyed are not saving for their children - and of these, three-quarters (74%) said money is too tight to do so.
The average amount parents expect to save by the time their child reaches 18 is £10,571.
But nearly two-fifths (37%) of those saving only anticipate a total pot of £5,000 or less. One in five (22%) parents' ambitions stretch to saving between £10,000 and £20,000, and just 3% expect to stash enough cash to gift their child £50,000.
Recent research from financial website Moneyfacts found more than 100 rate cuts have been made to child savings accounts during 2016, making it even harder for parents to build up their children's nest eggs.
Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, Nationwide Building Society's head of savings policy, said: "It's clear that today's parents are feeling under pressure to help their children achieve their aspirations in adulthood - and are well aware that all too often those dreams can only be achieved at a price.
"Regular saving for your child's future can mount up over the years, particularly if you ensure those savings are tax-free.
"Even when you can't afford much, establishing a savings habit with your child and a responsible attitude to money can help to safeguard their financial future."