WASHINGTON - The death of a toddler who became strangled in a window shade cord spurred a huge recall yesterday, even as the industry crafts a better standard to make window coverings in U.S. homes safer for children.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says Hanover Direct Inc., of Weehawken, N.J., has agreed to recall about 495,000 roman shades and some 28,500 blinds. Hanover is the parent company for Domestications, The Company Store and Company Kids.

The commission said the 22-month-old boy in Cedar Falls, Iowa, became trapped in the pull cord of a roman shade in May. He was found hanging by his neck and was rescued by his father but died later at a hospital.

The commission estimates that one child dies every month after strangling on the cords of blinds or roman shades.

At a meeting of industry officials and consumer advocates at commission headquarters in Bethesda, Md., this week, the head of the commission urged manufacturers to move swiftly to approve new safety rules.

"Chart a new course today," said chairman Inez Tenenbaum, "a course that promises to eliminate, not just mitigate, the risk of harm to children." - AP

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