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The American Academy of Pediatrics has released new advice on SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and the best methods to protect babies from SIDS. SIDS claims the lives of 3,500 babies every year in the United States.

The report states that a few simple changes can dramatically lower the risk of SIDS. The big one has been part of their advice for many years—always put babies to sleep on their backs and never let them sleep on their stomachs. A very firm surface is important, as well, like a crib with a tight-fitting sheet. Soft couches or chairs are not safe for a baby to sleep on. Soft objects should not be left in the crib with baby, such as loose blankets, pillows, toys, or crib bumpers.

The new addition to the Academy’s recommendation is advising parents to keep their sleeping baby in the same rooms as them at night, preferably for a full year, but at minimum the first six months. If a baby is the same room and not on the same surface/bed, the risk of death is halved in comparison to the baby sleeping in a separate room. Cutting the risk of SIDS in half is a pretty big gain.

Though the AAP’s recommendation is one step closer to the philosophy of co-sleeping, the new recommendation does not support or recommend co-sleeping.

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