Can You Use a Rollator as a Wheelchair? (Beware Risk of Falling!)

Rollators are a popular mobility aid for seniors and disabled persons that have exploded in popularity. The devices resemble walkers and the manufacturers have attached wheels to make pushing the device less taxing for the user. 

They are also significantly cheaper than purchasing a wheelchair, which is an expense that can sometimes cost thousands of dollars.

Rollators also come with a cushion that the manufacturers designed for users to rest while out on a walk. 

However, rollators should not be used as a wheelchair because their design does not accommodate bearing significant weight while in motion.

In this article, we will look at how safe it is to push someone in a rollator and if it is an acceptable replacement.

Is it Safe to Push Someone in a Rollator?

While it may seem like a smart idea to allow someone to rest on the rollator seat while you push them, it is dangerous. 

Companies that produce rollators do not design the products to stand up to the rigors of travel while a person is seated on it. If you attempt to use a rollator as a wheelchair, you could break the product and cause serious injury to the rider. 

A rollator is not a replacement for a wheelchair, and trying to push someone seated on one is incredibly dangerous. Proper use of the device is critical. 

What Risks Are There To Pushing Someone in a Rollator?

Can you use a rollator as a wheelchair? Let’s see the risks associated with doing so. 

The most obvious and important one is the risk of injury to the rider. 

However, a rider would also find that it is not comfortable to ride on a rollator, as the manufacturers have not designed them for riding. 

They are also difficult to steer while bearing weight, so the driver would risk crashing and causing additional injuries and damage.

These are the risks you take when you push someone on a rollator:

  • Injury
  • Danger of crashing
  • No comfort

Risk of Injury

If you push someone on a rollator, you open up the rider to injuries. Even if you avoid breaking the product or crashing, you would still be susceptible to injuries. Rollators have no footrests for the rider to place their feet while in transit.

If you attempt to use the rollator as a wheelchair, the rider must hold their feet above the ground for an extended period. 

If they cannot, their feet may drag and cause injuries. The rider’s feet may get caught in the wheels, leading to additional injuries.

The most high-risk injury is if the device were to break from the stress placed on it. While rollators can handle a person’s weight while stationary, they aren’t able to support it while on the move. 

If the device broke while a person was riding on it, they would crash to the ground and risk severe injury. 

Danger of Crashing

While it is easy for a user to push along a rollator and use it to get where they want to go, this process becomes much more difficult with a rider. 

The device cannot be properly steered with the added weight, and there is no proper place for the pusher to steer from.

With the lack of control, the driver would likely crash the device, potentially injuring the rider, driver, and any other pedestrians along the way. 

No Comfort Compared to Wheelchair

Even if it were safe to ride on a rollator, you likely would not want to do so anyway.

Though the seat makes for a nice place to rest while out for a walk in the park, no manufacturer makes the seats comfortable for riding. 

If you were riding on one, you would not have a good place to rest your feet or arms. 

There is no support for a rider’s back either, meaning you would have to struggle to keep balanced. It would also be a bumpy and rather uncomfortable ride while on a rollator. 

What Can You Use a Rollator For?

While they will not replace your wheelchair, rollators have their uses for seniors. 

If someone is taking an extended walk, they can use a rollator to help support them and make the trek easier to bear. 

Rollators are excellent at supporting walkers both indoors and outdoors, and are ideal for these users:

  • The elderly
  • Those recovering from injury
  • Those with locomotion difficulties
  • Those undergoing physical therapy

If you have ever been out for a walk and really needed to sit down but saw no benches nearby, you know how much of a problem it can be. 

While the seat in a rollator is not suitable for riding, it does make for a convenient bench to rest on when you need a break. 

A rollator is also a superb way to help keep you standing for an extended time.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Can You Push a Person Sitting in a Rollator?

A rollator is only a walking aid. It should not be used as a means of transportation.

The seat can be used for rest when it is in place. When someone is seated on it, it must not be pushed. It is not designed for that.

Can You Sit on a Rollator and Move Yourself?

Rollators make walking safer. The seat should only be used when the rollator is in place.

You don’t push yourself while sitting on it. You need to be able to walk with the rollator. 

Can You Use a Walker Like a Wheelchair?

No. Rollators are walking aids. When the user gets tired, it has a seat where they can rest.

However, it’s not the same as a wheelchair. It is not designed to be pushed when someone is sitting on it.

What Does a Rollator Do?

The rollator helps with walking. You can walk faster and safer.

The rollator user must be able to control the rollator himself and use the hand brakes as needed. Rollators have a seat for rest.

Who Should Not Use a Rollator?

If the user is not strong enough to stand on their feet, they can slip even when using the rollator, which can lead to serious injury.

How Do Rollators and Wheelchairs Differ?

A walker is considered one of the best options for those who can walk but need a little support when trying to do so.

Walkers are ideal for those who have just undergone surgery and need to get back on their feet.

A person using a wheelchair is usually unable to walk alone. A wheelchair can help those with severe mobility problems otherwise restricted to bed.

A wheelchair is considered a good option for those who cannot support their weight and cannot walk even with a walker.

It may be necessary to have another person push a wheelchair user up or down a ramp, for instance.

Conclusion: Do Not Use a Rollator as a Wheelchair

So, can you use a rollator as a wheelchair? The answer is no because they are not a device to ride on. 

Any rider of a rollator risks critical injury and breaking the device. When you need to push someone around, consider a wheelchair and save the rollator for use as a walker.


Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust: Safety information – four-wheeled rollators

National Library of Medicine: Objective measures of rollator user stability and device loading

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