Objective Unintentional drowning is the most common cause of childhood death in rural China. Global intervention efforts offer mixed results regarding the efficacy of educational programs. Methods Using a randomized controlled design, we evaluated a testimonial-based intervention to reduce drowning risk among 280 3rd- and 4th-grade rural Chinese children. Children were randomly assigned to view either testimonials on drowning risk (intervention) or dog-bite risk (control). Safety knowledge and perceived vulnerability were measured by self-report questionnaires, and simulated behaviors in and near water were assessed with a culturally appropriate dollhouse task. Results Children in the intervention group had improved children's safety knowledge and simulated behaviors but not perceived vulnerability compared with controls. Conclusions The testimonial-based intervention's efficacy appears promising, as it improved safety knowledge and simulated risk behaviors with water among rural Chinese children.