Many parents don’t actually know, but the difference of a few feet is crucial to infant safety, according to Romper.

The success of the “back to sleep” effort in the ‘90s reduced SIDS rates by half according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), but the rate of accidental suffocation and strangulation has quadrupled since that time (CDC) in part because parents now look to solve poor infant sleep by bed-sharing. Some of the parents who bed-share mistakenly believe they are following the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe sleep guidelines, which advocate “co-sleeping” for at least six months. And it’s not just a problem of terminology — bed-sharing is practiced in other cultures, and feels “natural” to many families.

The terms “co-sleeping,” “bed-sharing,” and “room-sharing” are often used interchangeably by parents when talking about the best sleep environment for their family. And while there are slight similarities between these three terms, it’s important for you to understand the considerable differences (especially as they relate to safety) before making the best decision for your family. So we spoke to experts who explained exactly what the difference is, and how to keep our babies safe.