Dravet syndrome (DS) or severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy is an intractable epileptic syndrome that is caused by mutations in the neuronal voltage-gated sodium channel alpha1 subunit gene SCN1A. We investigated SCN1A mutations in 63 Chinese patients with DS and analyzed its inheritance. Genomic DNA was extracted from peripheral blood lymphocytes of DS patients and their available parents. The SCN1A open reading frame sequence was analyzed by PCR-DNA sequencing and multiple ligation-dependent probe amplication (MLPA). If the mutation was de novo, we used allele-specific PCR (AS-PCR) to determine the parental origin. Of the 63 patients examined, 49 unrelated patients had SCN1A mutations. The mutation rate was 77.8% (49 of 63), in which 61.2% (30 of 49) were truncation mutations. The mutations included 19 missense mutations, 14 frame-shift mutations, 6 nonsense mutations, 8 splice-site mutations. Through MLPA analysis, deletions or duplications of large fragments accounted for 12.5% (2 of 16) in PCR-sequencing-negative patients. By testing parents for the mutation, 40 mutations were found to be de novo and one mutation was inherited from a mother who was mosaic for a mutation. By AS-PCR analysis in 12 patients with de novo mutations, 10 were confirmed paternal in origin and 2 were maternal in origin. Thirty of the SCN1A mutations reported here have not been previously reported. Approximately 80% of Chinese DS patients have SCN1A mutations. MLPA analysis was essential for PCR-sequencing-negative patients. The majority of SCN1A mutations were de novo, most of which were paternal origin.