Those who think standing in a laundry basket under a bag of hot air at 3,000 feet isn't anything to worry about can skip this chapter. Those who aren't convinced after reading the next few paragraphs that they have a reasonable chance of returning safely to their loved ones following such a flight can skip all the rest!
Statistics suggest the pilot and passengers in a balloon are at no greater risk than the retrieve crew following in a vehicle below. From the safety point of view a balloon flight is equivalent to travelling on an airliner operated by one of the world's major carriers. Perhaps not surprisingly many people who don't like the claustrophobia of an airliner feel quite at home in the basket of a balloon.
And as in an airliner we don't wear parachutes. Neither do we wear seat belts (there usually aren't seats, anyway).
Unlike an airliner there are no complicated electronics to go wrong. In fact there is remarkably little to fail in a balloon and all essential systems are duplicated.
'Can a hot-air balloon go pop, like a child's toy?'
No. It's impossible. In fact the bag containing the hot-air is constructed with a hole larger than a house door at the base so a pin stuck into it, or even a peck from an unfriendly bird, isn't going to cause problems.
Of course fuel is carried in the basket and the burner that heats the air has a powerful flame, but the next chapter - it explains how a balloon works - will answer any fears you may have concerning the integrity of the onboard equipment.