I'm currently chatting to Britax's PR about getting this specialised car seat reviewed. Until we have one of our professional reviewers test it out for us, and it gets an MFM star rating, we aren't happy to include it in our "10 of the best".
We want to ensure everything included in our guides has performed well in our real-life testing!
We undertake hundreds and hundreds of reviews every year, of big cost items like car seats and buggies, and it would be financially impossible for us to purchase every single item we need to test. If we started purchasing all items, we would either need to make our reviews a pay-to-view set-up or completely suround the reviews with advertising to allow you to see the tests for free but cover costs. We think neither of these two option would be fair or ideal for users.
Heading direct to a company to get a sample for testing is how all publications I have ever known of embark on their roadtests. It's standard practice.
When I know a new item is in production or on shelves, I liaise with the company to have the item sent direct to one of our professional reviewers for it to be trialled in the real world, in real conditions. I work hard to ensure I know about all important new and pre-existing items, and do a lot of legwork to ensure they are trialled for MFM's users. We don't just review whatever a PR thinks they might like to offer for review.
As for getting items for free, MFM's seasonsed reviewers can attest to the fact that a vast number of brands request their items are returned after testing, despite the wear and tear they sufffer in our testers' hands.
I hope this has helped clear up any misconceptions you have about our reviewing process.
Thanks for trying to shed some light on your reviews, but now I'm really confused - your earlier post says: "Sadly, at this point in time, Britax doesn't wish to pop the Multi-tech car seat up for review... Britax's PR has let us know the somewhat tricky specialist fitting means it's not a model the company likes to put up for roadtests."
But your latest post says: "We don't just review whatever a PR thinks they might like to offer for review."
So which is it? It sounds as though MFM will only review seats offered up by the manufacturer...
Sorry you're feeling confused there Dad of Iad!
My comment wasn't to say that we never take into consideration what companies and PRs can tell us about their products. We work closely with them to ensure we understand product features, what a products claim to do etc, so our reviewers know exactly which claims to pay special attention to as they put the item to the test. This is especially crucial with safety products, where the right car and correct installation is vital. As we don't purchase items, the company must send the product to our tester. I was attempting to explain that it's not a case of us just sitting back, awaiting a PR to offer us an item to trial as and when they like - we work hard finding out what's being designed, chasing up items we know are in production and of interest to MFM users. I hound many, many people in the industry!
The rest of Britax's main car seat range I believe we have covered and this is a car seat that I hope to periodically return to and push for a review. However, I cannot force a company to provide an item for review, and given that this isn't such a core product in the range, but a specialised item that can only be fitted at 19 locations in the UK, I have to prioritise my reviewing efforts and ensure car seats UK-based parents are most likely to encounter are covered off first.
As Britax states on its website, "The MULTI-TECH 2 is a car seat developed for the Swedish market to comply with the local standard. BRITAX does provide this seat in other EU countries but this type of car seat requires skilled and trained installation. Please make sure you test and purchase this seat by only taking your car to a specialist retailer with trained staff to make sure the seat will be installed correctly."
I feel the answer to your ending question is mostly a matter of how you choose to interpret the phrase "offered up" - I chase items for review, and as manufacturers understand how valuable independent reviews are, they meet my request for a sample to trial. Some happily offer the car seat, others I must pester and pester. As I have been around a while, many companies know as soon as they have a new item, I'll want to test it, so they come to me immediately without pestering required! As for the rare one we can't get reviewed (as is the case here), if you count this as "MFM will only review seats offered up by the manufacturer", then the simple answer, which doesn't best reflect our process, can be taken to be yes.
If you want to know more about how we go about our reviews, feel free to talk to me directly via email email@example.com
Totally agree with the mums who are talking about rear facing seats. And Britax are shooting themselves in the foot saying it is difficult to install. I too bought a Britax rear facing seat from incarsafetycentre and it fits onto an ISOFIX base, so is very easy to install and remove, as anyone who has used ISOFIX will know, they just click in. The base itself is slighty more tricky but so worth it for the peace of mind, and for the ease of moving the seat itself from one car to another.
I predict that eventually Britain will catch up with Scandanavia in making it compulsory to keep children rear facing longer. One day people will look back incredulous at the memory of 9 month olds in forward facing seats the same way that we remember in amazement that when we were children we didn't have car seats, and only seat belts if we were lucky. When it has been proven that rearfacing is safer, why on earth this has not been publicised and adopted by UK seat manufacturers I cannot imagine.
I have seen on another site that there are some other companies other than Britax now marketing rear facing seats in the UK, so maybe this is something you could consider for the review panel. An example is the Volvo seat that someone put a link to, but there were others, I can't remember the brand names.
You're right that there's now a number of rear-facing car seats for older babies and toddlers on the market. We have reviewed some MFM, the BeSafe iZi Combi X3 and the Brio Zento. We've also reviewed a large number of Group 0+/1 car seats (car seats that span from birth until 18kg/roughly 4 years of age) that start life as a rear facing car seat, then can be forward facing once your child's weighing over 13kg (the end of the Group 0+ weight range). However, I think what you're talking about is more along the lines of keeping your child rear-facing for as many years as possible, like the Brio and the BeSafe. These are certainly car seat types we're eager to review! We'll be keeping our eyes out for brands to hit the UK so we can get tests underway.
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